Thursday, September 1, 2016

COMING SOON: The Oscar Slate

It's that time again! After an underwhelming summer at the movies (to put it mildly), Oscar season is here to bring us some relief. Indeed, aside from "Hell or High Water", "Indignation" or "Midnight Special", none of the early releases seem to have staying power for the long season ahead. Over the next few months, fall festivals like the Toronto International Film Festival (see ya there!) will launch a smorgasboard of "prestige" films on a hungry audience craving quality filmmaking. And the buzz has already begun as "La La Land" made a big splash at Venice this week. So strap in everyone, the race has begun. Here are the main upcoming Best Picture contenders to look out for:

SULLY (Sep 9)

Director: Clint Eastwood
Starring: Tom Hanks, Laura Linney, Anna Gunn
Plot: The story of Chesley Sullenberger, who became a hero after gliding his plane along the water in the Hudson River, saving all of the airplane flights 155 crew and passengers.

THE BIRTH OF A NATION (Oct 7)

Director: Nate Parker
Starring: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Jackie Earle Haley
Plot: Nat Turner, a literate slave and preacher in the antebellum South, orchestrates an uprising.

THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Oct 7)

Director: Tate Taylor
Starring: Emily Blunt, Edgar Ramírez, Rebecca Ferguson
Plot: The Girl on the Train is the story of Rachel Watson's life post-divorce.

MOONLIGHT (Oct 21)

Director: Barry Jenkins
Starring: Naomie Harris, Janelle Monáe, Mahershala Ali
Plot: A three-part narrative spanning the childhood, adolescence, and adulthood of an African-American man who survives Miami's drug-plagued inner city, finding love in unexpected places and the possibility of change within himself.

LOVING (Nov 4)

Director: Jeff Nichols
Starring: Ruth Negga, Joel Edgerton, Will Dalton
Plot: Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.

ARRIVAL (Nov 11)

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Starring: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker
Plot: A linguist is recruited by the military to assist in translating alien communications.

BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK (Nov 11)

Director: Ang Lee
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund
Plot: 19-year-old Billy Lynn is brought home for a victory tour after a harrowing Iraq battle.

MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (Nov 18)

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Starring: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler
Plot: An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.

NOCTURNAL ANIMALS (Nov 18)

Director: Tom Ford
Starring: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon
Plot: An art gallery owner is haunted by her ex-husband's novel, a violent thriller she interprets as a veiled threat and a symbolic revenge tale.

ALLIED (Nov 23)

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Starring: Lizzy Caplan, Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard
Plot: In 1942, an intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines.

LION (Nov 25)

Director: Garth Davis
Starring: Rooney Mara, Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman
Plot: A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home.

LA LA LAND (Dec 2)

Director: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Emma Stone, Ryan Gosling, J.K. Simmons
Plot: A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

FENCES (Dec 16)

Director: Denzel Washington
Starring: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Mykelti Williamson
Plot: An African American father struggles with race relations in the United States while trying to raise his family in the 1950s and coming to terms with the events of his life.

PASSENGERS (Dec 21)

Director: Morten Tyldum
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Laurence Fishburne
Plot: A spacecraft traveling to a distant colony planet and transporting thousands of people has a malfunction in its sleep chambers.

GOLD (Dec 25)

Director: Stephen Gaghan
Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramírez, Matthew McConaughey
Plot: An unlikely pair venture to the Indonesian jungle in search of gold.

HIDDEN FIGURES (Jan 13)

Director: Theodore Melfi
Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Kevin Costner
Plot: A team of African-American women provide NASA with important mathematical data needed to launch the program's first successful space missions.

SILENCE (TBA)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver
Plot: In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Christianity.

20TH CENTURY WOMEN (TBA)

Director: Mike Mills
Starring: Laura Wiggins, Elle Fanning, Annette Bening
Plot: The story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s.

PERSONAL SHOPPER (TBA)

Director: Olivier Assayas
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz
Plot: Revolves around a ghost story that takes place in the fashion underworld of Paris.

Which films look like our next Best Picture nominees? Let me know in the comments.

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