The nights are getting longer, the temperatures are getting cooler, our little nipples are getting harder and a lot of what is on TV is utter garbage. Yes, winter is coming and to escape the tedium of watching Simon Cowell crushing the dreams of young teenagers week in, week out, you may be tempted to head over to the cinema to indulge in some fine movie-making and bafflingly expensive popcorn. We’re a few months away from Oscar season, but with some of the likely contenders hitting our screens in the next few weeks, you might just be able to beat the hype bandwagons and get on some early Academy Award value.
Best Picture 2016 Odds
(Release date: 25th December 2015)
Yes, they seem to be releasing it on a day when you’ll be more interested in stuffing turkey into your face and drinking just enough that Nan’s stories about that time Tom Jones cracked on to her are bearable, but aside from the questionable timing, The Renevant is meant to be a thrilling film with a brilliant cast. Leonardo DiCaprio is again desperately trying to end his highly amusing yet rather harsh Oscar drought while Tom Hardy and Will Poulter also feature.
The plot sounds good – exploring the wilderness, legendary trapper Hugh Glass withstands a brutal bear attack, and is left to die by members of his own hunting team. There aren’t enough movies about bear attacks. Hey lads, it’s not so bad – try working beside the Paddy Power marketing team. Wrestling Yogi doesn’t seem so bad.
(Release date – some time in 2015)
Despite the very non-specific release date, Spotlight is expected to be a real contender during wards season. Directed by Tom McCarthy, it’s is based on the true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core. We wouldn’t expect too many penis jokes or Adam Sandler making fart noises. The reporters make it their mission to provide proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church. It’s stars Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber and Mark Ruffalo so along it’s likely to be tough going, it will be very pretty to look at.
(Release date: 23rd October 2015)
Not happy with taking all our money through all the sexy electronics he designed, Steve Jobs is back to haunt in this kind of biopic. Set backstage at three iconic product launches and ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac, Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution to paint a portrait of the man at its epicentre. Let’s hope this movie does better than other 10 or 20 Steve Jobs movies did! It’s stars the brilliant Michael Fassbender who manages not to get naked for once, Best Actress Oscar winner, Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen, who likes to pose semi-nude with James Franco, almost making him a good actor.
(Release date: 25th December 2015)
Another Christmas movie that might be worth a look if you want to sneak out of an unnecessarily hostile game of charades. Joy is the story of a family across four generations and the woman who rises to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty. It boasts a brilliant cast, starring Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro and Bradley Cooper, it sounds a lot like Silver Linings Playbook, but about business rather than the American Football or ballroom dancing. It looks to have solid Oscar claims … well at least more solid than the security settings on Jennifer Lawrence’s iCloud.
(Release date: 24th July 2015)
Obviously the world of animation of peaked with Dexter’s Laboratory, but animation has increasingly been forcing its way into the chat for Best Picture in recent years, led by the brilliant Up. The main character Riley (voiced by Kaitlyn Dias), life was turned upside down after her family moved to San Francisco, her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness – conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house, and school in the form of tiny people in her head. This movie has been rated 5/5 stars and given loads of ‘LOLZ’, ‘ROFLZ’ and lots of other trendy acronyms we don’t fully understand, but can it buck the trend and become the first animated feature to land the biggest prize? We don’t know – that was a rhetorical question.
(Release date: 20th of November 2015)
Directed by Todd Haynes, Carol is set in 1950s New York so expect lots of smoking, smug American-ness and probably lots of men saying ‘sweetcheeks’ at women. That’s almost certainly what 1950s New York was like. In our heads. The plot revolves around a department-store worker played by Rooney Mara who dreams of a more glamourous life, but falls for an older, married woman played by Cate Blanchett, Just don’t tell the Westboro Baptist Church. The ridiculous age gap between the two characters is about as big as the stretch since Liverpool last won the league title, but it seems to have the hallmarks of being a potential winner.
The Danish Girl
(Release date: 27th November 2015)
Based on a true love story of the lives of Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s brave journey as a man becoming a transgender women, which at the time the movie was set considered an ‘experimental procedure’. So basically, in a nutshell, this movie is the Caitlyn Jenner story way back when Caitlyn was still just a twinkle in Bruce Jenner’s jockstrap. Winner of last year’s Best Actor Award for his turn as Professor Stephen Hawking, Eddie Redmayne and winner of the 2010 Best Director award for the King’s Speech, Tom Hopper combine for what’s likely to be one of the heavy hitters of the awards season.
(Release date: 6th November 2015)
Great news if you haven’t got enough of 1950s New York, this also combines 1950s Ireland as young Ellis Lacey (played by the excellent Saoirse Ronan) has to choose between two men in two completely different parts of the world. Sounds a bit less impressive now that Ryanair came along and travel doesn’t require the wealth of a small nation, but back then it was a big deal. The comparison between two different lifestyles is brilliantly carried out by director John Crowley, but let’s just say you wouldn’t miss much if you went to the bathroom in the middle of the movie. It moves about as quickly as a lethargic snail. It’s an outsider for the Best Picture award, but you never know – really dull movies may come into fashion this year.
(Release date: 23rd October 2015)
Look at all that acting talent!! Helena Bonham Carter, Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep – wow. They’ve got three Oscars between them … all of them Streep’s. Suffragette is a movie about a woman who loves rollercoasters, unicorns and it has a really happy ending. No wait, it’s moving film about the foot soldiers of the early feminist movement, women who were forced underground to pursue a dangerous game of cat and mouse with an increasingly brutal state. Hmmm … so no rollercoasters then? Although we’re not entirely sure whether or not this movie will take home the Oscar, Hillary Clinton would approve of it given that it’s all about feminism! You go girls.
Bridge Of Spies
(Release date: 16th October 2015)
Inspired by true events, Bridge of Spies is a movie about an American lawyer played by Tom Hanks. He’s recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot that has been detained by the Soviet Union. What’s that? Dark? Tedious? Why this movie is film’s equivalent to shopping in Abercrombie. With Steven Spielberg calling the shots, Joel and Ethan Coen at the typewriter and Alan Alda starring alongside Hanks, it does feature some Hollywood heavy hitters so maybe it’s not a bad outside bet for more Spielberg glory.
(Release date: 20th July 2015)
A fantastic performance by Jake Gyllenhaal as Bill ‘The Great’ Hope, in an energetic story of love, loss and human tenacity. You had us at ‘Jake Gyllenhall’ – swoon. From the blood splattered lows of his wife’s tragic death and his career ending fight to the darkness of his life thereafter, we are told a story of redemption borne out of love. Action packed and tear jerking at times, Southpaw doesn’t fail to entertain. Thanks in large part to Gyllenhaal going around with his top off.
(Release date: 9th October 2015)
From the director of Back to the Future and Forrest Gump, Robert Zameckis has another thoroughly enjoyable film based on true events taken place in 197. This time, high-wire artist Philippe Petit is pursuing his dream: to walk the vast distance between the World Trade Center towers. Possibly due to the lack of hoverboards, people comparing life to chocolate and failure to give Biff his comeuppance, The Walk still has quite the journey before winning the Oscar for Best Picture.
(Release date: 30th September 2015)
This one is directed by Ridley Scott, who claimed the Best Director gong for Alien many, many years ago. Keeping with the intergalactic theme, The Martian stars Matt Damon as a stranded astronaut struggling to find his way home, much like a member of the Paddy Power marketing team after a night hammering the company credit card. On the plus side, it’s a good movie and it paints lovely picture of Matt Damon being millions of mile away from earth. On the negative side – a sci-fi movie for an Oscar? That doesn’t happen too often. Only joking Matt, you’re great.
(Release date: 6th February 2015)
A couple (played by Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay) are excitedly planning a party to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. However, one week before the celebration, a letter arrives for the husband giving him the shocking news that he body of his first love has been found, frozen in the icy glaciers of the Swiss Alps. As the party nears, there might not be a marriage left to celebrate. Chill out … wait, that’s probably not the right turn of phrase to use when you’re talking to someone whose first love died in the Alps. Judging from the very high odds, it looks like the best thing about this movie might just be your overpriced popcorn!
The End Of The Tour
(Release date: 12th November 2015)
This flick looks interesting to say the least. It’s a story of the five-day interview between Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky and novelist David Foster Wallace, which took place right after the 1996 publication of Wallace’s novel, ‘Infinite Jest.’ Some reviewers claim it’s ‘thought-provoking and emotional’, even keeping a straight face when saying it. Were not saying it’s bad, but it looks like Kanye West will have a better chance of being elected for president in 2020 than this movie will have of getting the Best Picture Oscar in 2016.
Words by: Kate Kennedy and Rachel Giles