There are plenty exciting things about Fall—not least of which is the makeover our daily wardrobe gets—but there are few things that top the list like the seemingly endless arrival of new, exciting movies to the theaters. With the promise of rainy days to come, we’re planning out movie-watching schedule to a T, and there are a bunch of Oscar contenders coming ’round the bend soon.
Some are already out, too: Alfonso Cuarón’s latest effort, “Gravity,” is likely to receive nods for its two sole actors, Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, as well as in the cinematography department–the entire film takes place in the silence of space. If Cate Blanchett doesn’t take home the statue for her startling portrayal of a woman mid-nervous breakdown in “Blue Jasmine,” it will be downright wrong.
Click through the gallery above to see 15 movies getting major Oscar buzz this season!
After opening just last week, this Alfonso Cuarón-directed film is already getting tons of buzz on the streets of NYC, for what it's worth. Starring Sandra Bullock as a woman who gets locked out of the space station—and George Clooney as her terrified cabinmate—the movie takes place entirely, you guessed it, in the silence of space. The effect: jarring.
A bit of an underdog in the most official of Oscar race predictions, Spike Jonze's latest effort stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man who falls in love with the voice of his home's technologically advanced operating system (played by Scarlett Johansson). After being overlooked for his stellar performances in both "Walk the Line" and last season's "The Master," we're hoping Jonze can coax a win out of Phoenix.
There exists no doubt in our minds that Cate Blanchett will take home the Oscar for her portrayal of a woman experiencing a nervous breakdown in very real time. Alec Baldwin's performance in director Woody Allen's latest film is also strong, and the writing—Allen's adaptation of the classic play "A Streetcar Named Desire"—should earn the film a Best Picture nod as well.
This based-on-a-true-story tale of an American captain (played by Tom Hanks) whose ship is overrun by Somalian pirates promises to be an edge-of-your-seat thriller from beginning to end. And Hanks isn't the only one getting Oscar buzz: some of the pirates are played not by actors but by real-life Somalians who might make Oscar history by being nominated despite their lack of professional training.
The Spectacular Now
A surprise crowd favorite at this year's Sundance Film Festival, this James Ponsoldt-directed film comes from the writing duo that brought us 2009's weepy romantic drama "500 Days of Summer." This Shailene Woodley-fronted film has been in theaters since mid-September, so be sure to catch it before it's gone.
Dallas Buyers Club
Remember when photos emerged of Matthew McConaughey looking sickly thin last year? This is the role he slimmed down for: a badass Texas cowboy who doesn't take his HIV/AIDS diagnosis lightly. Another true story, the man starts his own very illegal underground trade for the medicines sufferers of his illness so desperately need.
On its face, this Ron Howard-directed flick is just another heart-pounding story about racear drivers—but there's more to the story than meets the eye. Starring Chris Hemsworth as real-life British driver James Hunt, the movie explores the psychological effects of the industry, which we think will earn it a solid spot in the Oscar nominations.
The last project completed by James Ganolfini before he passed away, this star-crossed romantic comedy co-stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a woman caught between her new boyfriend and his ex-wife. Hardcore fans of Gandolfini's gangster turn in "The Sorpanos" will love his ability to play a more tender and lighthearted character.
Oprah Winfrey is already being suggested as potential Oscar material for her portrayal in director Lee Daniels' newest endeavor. Forest Whitaker plays a slave-era man who travels from the South to Washington D.C., where he earns a gig as a butler in the White House, where he learns that nowhere is immune to racial discriminaton.
12 Years a Slave
This Steve McQueen-directed film tells the story of a free black from upstate New York who finds himself sold into slavery in the Antebellum South. The lead actor, British powerhouse Chiwetel Ejiofor, is already largely favored to take home Oscar gold.
Another film based on a true story, this Sundance Film Festival winner of the Audience Award depicts a young man (played by Michael B. Jordan) who has a violent encounter on the New York City subway on New Year's Eve 2008.
August: Osage County
Based on the much-lauded Tony-winning Broadway play of the same name, the cinematic version includes a powerhouse cast comprising Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, and Oscar frontrunner Meryl Streep. We assume Streep will be nominated for her 18th Oscar this year for her potrayal of the matriach in this story about a family reunion that tugs at the heart strings.
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen brothers' latest effort, this Carey Mulligan-fronted film tells the story of a folk singer trying to make his way in New York's Greenwich Village during the era of Bob Dylan and his co-horts. We don't exactly think Justin Timberlake is going to take home an Oscar for this one, but the Coen brothers are a constant Oscar favorite, so anything can happen.
All the other actors can just sit down, because veteran star Bruce Dern is a shoo-in to win big this year. His portrayal of an alcoholic father who reunites for a road trip for his estranged son is already getting major Oscar rumbles, and we'd be surprised if he doesn't have home the statue.
The latest in the trendy Cormac McCarthy book-to-film projects, this Ridley Scott-directed dark thriller tells the tale of a shady lawyer (played by Michael Fassbender) who gets involved in high-level drug trafficking. It also stars huge names like Brad Pitt, Cameron Diaz, and Penelopé Cruz, which makes us think it will receive plenty of nominations but probably won't take home major gold.