Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Award Shows 2016: What's Yet to Come?

The Globes, Oscars et al. are closing in on us. And while the previous months have already given us a bunch of good movies highly eligible to take home one prestigious statue or the other (I'm basically talking about you, Sicario and Mad Max: Fury Road), there are still some award-bait-y films at the ready which have yet to be released in either or both the UK and the USA. 

So, if you're resident in one of those regions, and you're anxious to know which movies you shouldn't miss in the upcoming weeks in order to take part in a hearty award race discussion, fret no more. Here are the flicks to watch out for:

Director: Ryan Coogler  |  Starring: Michael B. Jordan, Sylvester Stallone
Release: 25 Nov 2015 (USA)  |  15 Jan 2016 (UK)

Remember when Rocky won best picture at the Oscars in 1977? It outdid Alan J. Pakula's All the President's Men and Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver. Maybe Creed, a spin-off/sequel to the popular boxing franchise, can become the victorious odd one out this year. With a charismatic Jordan in the lead and Stallone in his far-famed role as Rocky Balboa, who knows what can happen? 

Director: Lenny Abrahamson  |  Starring: Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Sean Bridgers
Release: 25 Nov 2015 (USA)  |  15 Jan 2016 (UK)

This film tells the story of a mother and her five-year-old son who both have been trapped in a single room for the entire span of the boy's life. When the two manage to escape from their confinement, real life awaits them with all its joys and troubles. While it has still to be seen whether the film itself can leave a mark in the race, Brie Larson's raw, powerful performance is most certainly set to turn her into one of the Best Actress top contenders of the year.

Black Mass
Director: Scott Cooper  |  Starring: Johnny Depp, Joel Edgerton, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Kevin Bacon, Peter Sarsgaard, Adam Scott, Corey Stoll, Julianne Nicholson, Juno Temple
Release: 25 Nov 2015 (UK)

Black Mass is a slow, visually appealing crime thriller about real-life gangster James 'Whitey' Bulger that ultimately lacks innovation and a truly gripping story angle. Depp's cold-blooded performance has received some praise, though, and Edgerton will probably not stand a chance in the award race but still delivers an engaging performance as naive FBI agent John Connolly, an eventual accomplice to Bulger's crimes.

Bridge of Spies
Director: Steven Spielberg  |  Starring: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan
Release: 27 Nov 2015 (UK)

Probably the most Oscar-bait-y film in the competition this year, Steven Spielberg's newest piece features war, moral conflicts and lots of heavy music playing in the background. While the historical aspects of the plot and the talented cast might turn this into an engaging Cold War spy thriller, the trailer makes the whole thing look like a bloated mess of melodramatic proportions. Still, major award juries might take to it, so a Best Picture nomination is actually not out of the question.

Director: Todd Haynes  |  Starring: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson, Kyle Chandler
Release: 27 Nov 2015 (UK)

Adapted from a Patricia Highsmith novel, Carol tells the story of a young shop assistant falling head over heels for an older married woman in the New York of the 1950s. Domestic drama is about to unfold in beautifully composed pictures, and the two leading ladies Blanchett and Mara are bound to impress.

The Danish Girl
Diretor: Tom Hooper  |  Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard, Ben Whishaw, Matthias Schoenaerts
Release: 27 Nov 2015 (USA)  |  1 Jan 2016 (UK)

After winning Best Actor for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything last year, Eddie Redmayne is determined to go for the big prize once again. As real-life transgender woman Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery, Redmayne will most certainly stun audiences yet again with another emotional, transformative performance. If the trailer is any indication, Hooper's film will impress with beautiful visuals, interpersonal drama and a wonderful supporting cast led by Alicia Vikander.

The Big Short
Director: Adam McKay  |  Starring: Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Marisa Tomei, Selena Gomez, Melissa Leo
Release: 23 Dec 2015 (USA)  |  22 Jan 2016 (UK)

This certainly looks a bit like a tamed version of The Wolf of Wall Street, but it remains to be seen whether The Big Short can really hit it big at the awards. With the Financial Crisis of 2007-2010 at its centre and a promising cast along with it, who knows? The film might win over juries with topicality and star power.

45 Years
Director: Andrew Haigh  |  Starring: Charlotte Rampling, Tom Courtenay
Release: 23 Dec 2015 (USA)

Shortly before their 45th wedding anniversary, a man and a woman's life are changed by the arrival of an unexpected letter. British actors Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay are both masters of their craft and get to unleash all their talent in this small, yet engaging-looking marital drama. Rampling, especially, has the potential to land a nomination.

Director: David O. Russell  |  Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert DeNiro, Elizabeth Röhm, Dascha Polanco, Virginia Madsen, Édgar Ramírez, Isabella Rossellini
Release: 25 Dec 2015 (USA)  |  1 Jan 2016 (UK)

FINALLY another film made by David O. Russell starring Jennifer Lawrence! And if you think I'm being ironic here, I'm not. We already know that Russell knows how to bring out the best in Lawrence, and her take on real-life  business woman/matriarch Joy Mangano, who invented the Miracle Mop, by the way, will certainly be a sight to behold. And since award juries love Russell and Lawrence just as much as I do, nominations should be a given. And rightly so. Seeing Lawrence channel her inner Michael Corleone at the end of the trailer makes my heart giddy with, well, joy.

The Hateful Eight
Director: Quentin Tarantino  |  Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kurt Russell, Walton Goggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Channing Tatum
Release: 8 Jan 2016 (UK & USA)

Tarantino is back, and with a western no less. Big awards seem to have a hard time favouring the unconventional film maker, so we have to wait and see how The Hateful Eight will fare with them. However, it's always good to have him shake up the competition with his fun, engaging mash-up odes to cinema. Maybe someone from the impressive cast can snag a nomination. Jennifer Jason Leigh has some buzz going for her.

The Revenant
Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu  |  Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter
Release: 8 Jan 2016 (USA)  |  15 Jan 2016 (UK)

BSPeeps, I'm happy to announce that Leo has never been closer to winning an Academy Award. Everything is pointing into his direction right now, but I'm not gonna jinx it by saying that he'll definitely win. I'll just sit in my quiet, little corner and cross my fingers for him. Besides, I'm happy to see how well Tom Hardy is doing in the polls. A Best Supporting Actor nomination might be heading his way and, hell, we all know it's about time. Having said all this, I can only add that I'm fully willing to make love to this trailer. The Revenant simply looks Spec.Tac.U.Lar. Epic cinematography -  as we've come to expect from Iñárritu - breathtaking scenery and special effects, and a gut-wretching story about abandonment and revenge. Did I mention that this looks epic? 

Our Brand Is Crisis
Director: David Gordon Green  |  Starring: Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida
Release: 22 Jan 2016 (UK)

Our Brand Is Crisis flopped in the USA. Maybe it can score some points with UK audiences. While Bullock certainly makes for a charming lead, Mackie for a likeable anchor and Thornton for a charismatic antagonist, I guess awards buzz is over for this flick. Bad reviews aren't helping either. But, hey, it could still be worth a try.

Director: Tom McCarthy  |  Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci
Release: 29 Jan 2016 (UK)

Unlike Our Brand Is Crisis, Spotlight has gained critical acclaim and seems to be set for a Best Picture nomination (some might even say win). The film about the real-life Boston Globe reporters who investigated multiple cases of child abuse by Roman Catholic priests is an ode to the freedom of press and the power of journalism. Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton have chances in the Best Actor categories.

Director: Peter Landesman  |  Starring: Will Smith, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Stephen Moyer, Alec Baldwin, Luke Wilson, Eddie Marsan
Release: 25 Dec 2015 (USA)  |  29 Jan 2016 (UK)

Bennet Omalu is the forensic pathologist who found out that repetetive brain trauma can lead to CTE, a degenerative brain disease. The film follows his struggle with the National Football League which tried to surpress his research on CTE in professional football. While the film has gained mostly average reviews, Will Smith has gained momentum in the lead and could land a Best Actor Nomination for his dedicated portrayal.

Director: Jay Roach  |  Starring: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, Michael Stuhlbarg, Ellen Fanning, Alan Tudyk, Louis C.K., John Goodman
Release: 5 Feb 2016 (UK)

Dalton Trumbo has written the screenplays for movies such as Roman Holiday, Spartacus and Exodus. But even though he was a celebrated writer, he was also blacklisted and imprisoned during the McCarthy era. This, however, didn't stop him from winning two Academy Awards. In this year's awards race, Bryan Cranston's performance as Trumbo has garnered some attention. Competition is tough, though, but maybe the man who knocks stands a chance. In any case, it's nice to see Michael Stuhlbarg be so present this year. He also stars in Steve Jobs, which came out a few weeks ago.

Alrighty, this is it. Now you should be all set for the upcoming weeks in which we get closer and closer to the finish line of this year's awards race. Which movies are you looking forward to? Which actors and actresses do you think stand a chance to win? Feel free to let us know below.

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