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The summer is coming to a close which can only mean one thing: Oscar season! The last of the summer blockbusters are eking out their last breath (or if they were unlucky they were brutally torn apart by critics and viewers alike, i.e. Lone Ranger). Now, a new beast has begun to arise as Oscar hopefuls hit theatres or tease viewers with trailers. It can be wearisome at times- we still have over five months until the Academy Awards- but gosh is it worth it for those few magnificent films. This is absolutely an arbitrary list that is subject to wild fluctuations as the actual films come to light. In the meantime though, let’s speculate as to which films we should place bets on this coming February.
12 Years a Slave
Why should you be interested? This is the third collaboration between director Steve McQueen and actor Michael Fassbender. Their previous films have been landmarks for both of their up and coming careers. Hunger and Shame proved to the world that the duo was a force with which to be reckoned. Now they’ve teamed up again in 12 Years a Slave to tell the story of a free black man who is sold into slavery. Chiwetel Eijiofor stars as the lead.The film made headlines at its Telluride Film Festival premiere. This could be the film that finally gives McQueen the recognition he deserves.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio. Those two names in and of themselves don’t guarantee Oscar success. We all know how long it took Scorsese to finally get his hands on one, and DiCaprio has a legion of memes that all mock his his desire and total lack of an Oscar (my personal favorite). That being said, the pair is still enough to generate Oscar buzz. It also stars Matthew McConaughey, whose career is going through an amazing renaissance (see: Mud, Magic Mike, Killer Joe). The film looks fun and daring. Leo’s acting is exactly as you expect it to be- huge and emotive. Businessmen are conducting illegal operations, partying, drinking heavily, and of course treating women like objects. It’s a must see.
Inside Llewyn Davis
You might have noticed a trend by now, as this film makes the list because of another famous duo, directors Joel and Ethan Coen. This film stars Oscar Isaacs as a Bob Dylanesque folk singer from 60s Greenwich Village, who is slowly falling deeper and deeper into the valleys of life. It stars John Goodman, Carey Mulligan, and Justin Timberlake. The music sounds amazing(!!) from what I’ve heard. There’s a cat! Just give this an Oscar already. All jokes aside, I expect nothing short of spectacular from this film. It looks to be equal parts musical journey and a look into the psyche of a man who just can’t get many things to go well. If anyone can pull this off, its the Coen Brothers.
Finally, we come to a film that breaks with a female lead! Alfonso Cuaron’s sci-fi, thriller stars Sandra Bullock as an astronaut who gets stranded out in space. I’m basing my prediction on nothing other than the teaser trailer because this is a film I really want to experience with a fresh an open mind. It looks to be one of the most original and compelling films to come out all year. George Clooney co-stars with Bullock, but don’t go in expecting to watch a Clooney film because he won’t be there for long. Bullock might be a surprising choice to helm a film that will feature just her for the majority of runtime, but I know Cuaron and Bullock will deliver on this one.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
I really don’t know what to expect from this film. It’s directed by Ben Stiller who also stars in the film alongside Kristen Wigg and Adam Scott. It looks surreal, inventive, and fresh. This is just a trailer, and the actual end product might come out more manufactured. But, something about the trailer gives off a lighter, brighter Charlie Kaufman vibe that has me intrigued. It’s probably not like that at all. I’m still going to keep a wary eye on this film.