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88th Oscars. The Oscar Contenders of 2015 - For prediction, discussion and entertainment purposes. Discuss on the blog

CHART PUBLISHED ON APRIL 4th

Tier 1 - April Foolish Best Guesses
THE DANISH GIRL
d. Tom Hooper
Focus
Nov 27th
THE REVENANT
d. Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu
Fox
Christmas

BROOKLYN
d. John Crowley
Fox Searchlight
Nov 6th 

BRIDGE OF SPIES
d. Steven Spielberg
Disney
Oct 16th 
IN THE HEART OF THE SEA
d. Ron Howard
Warner Bros. 
December 11th

Why this one?
The Les Miz team reunited + Eddie Redmayne's career heat for this story of one of the first trans women to seek a sex change operation

But...
Hooper has his detractors and the casting of Redmayne as a trans woman is sure to anger those who want trans actors to play their own stories 

Why this one?
The current Best Director returns with Oscar good luck charm (if not for himself) Leonardo DiCaprio in this manly wilds of nature revenge drama. Can Inarritu win consecutive honors?

But...
Rumors of trouble on set could mean something. Or not. 

Why this one? 
Perfect release date for this old fashioned handsome melodrama about an Irish immigrant in New York City. It impressed all types at Sundance.

But...
Oscar will have to misplace their aversion to feminine drama to give it its best shot.
 

Why this one?
Are Cold War stories hot right now (see "The Americans")? Oscar loves Spielberg and Hanks and The Coen Bros so this could be major. Plus it's got Billy Magnussen on his way up!

 But...
Disney hasn't had much look in the realm of "Best Picture"

Why this one?
The sudden release date change to December seems to suggest that they have faith in it. If it's a rousing sea adventure it'll stand out.

But...
Hemsworth isnt exactly bankable without his hammer and Howard hasnt been in Oscar play in quite awhile

Tier 2 - Also Formidable (On Paper)
THE WALK
d. Robert Zemeckis
Sony/Tri-Star
October 2nd
STEVE JOBS
d. Danny Boyle
Universal
October 9th
FREEHELD
d. Peter Sollett
Lionsgate
TBA

CAROL
d. Todd Haynes
Weinstein Co
TBA

SUFFRAGETTE
d. Sarah Gavron
Focus
October 23rd

Why this one?
Oscar went wild for this story when it was a documentary. Might they respond as enthusiastically to a narrative feature.

But...
If it's tacky with CG or Zemeckis isn't on his A game...

Why this one?
Oscar tends to be attracted to biographical true stories of Great Men as it were.

But...
Will this be dramatic enough? The other bio "Jobs" didn't go over so well

Yes Yes Yes / But...
Perhaps it's wishful thinking to earmark so many female driven films for Oscar success this early, especially two lesbian dramas. The Academy nearly always prefers male-driven narratives but if all these films are good, they could well be hard to ignore with so many attractive elements in acting (led by three of Oscar's all time favorite women), moving social messages, and presumably strong craft triumphs.

Tier 3- Don't Discount...

JOY
d. David O. Russell
Fox
Christmas
I SAW THE LIGHT
d. Marc Abraham
Sony Classics
TBA
UNTITLED HOWARD HUGHES PROJECT
d. Warren Beatty
TBA
TBA
DEMOLITION
d. Jean-Marc Vallée
Fox Searchlight
TBA
THE HATEFUL EIGHT
d. Quentin Tarantino
Weinstein Co
TBA

Why this one?
Russel had two consecutive Oscar hits with Bradley Cooper & Jennifer Lawrence.

But...
can this streak really last forever.

Why this one?
Oscar loves a musician biopic, particularly when it's tragic with drug use and the like.

But...
Abraham is largely unproven

Why this one?
Beatty is right in Oscar's wheelhouse... as are Hollywood dramas about infamous men

But... 
If you rest you rust. Does Beatty still have it as a director? 

Why this one?
Vallee is on a roll, at least in terms of directing actors to nominations. This time Jake Gyllenhaal as a widower and Naomi Watts as a single mom could do it

But...
Is it too "small" / "intimate" 

Why this one?
Oscar really loved Tarantino's last two pictures.

But...
Will a third straight violent manly period piece be another bloody charm? Or will they move on?

Tier 4 - Or Maybe...?
TRUMBO
d. Jay Roach
Bleecker Street
TBA
MACBETH
d. Justin Kurzel
Weinstein Co
TBA
RICKI & THE FLASH
d. Jonathan Demme
Sony/Tri-Star
August 7th
THE SECRET IN THEIR EYES
d. Billy Ray
TBA
October 23rd
TOMORROW LAND
d. Brad Bird
Disney
May 22nd
I originally understood this to be a pay cable film but now it has a distributor. Does that mean they expect awards for this Blacklisting Hollywood drama starring Bryan Cranston Oscar rarely goes full hog for Shakespeare but since it's been awhile maybe they will. Especially if it feels fresh and Cotillard and Fassbender, two our best actors, kill it. Don't laugh. Yes, a movie about an older woman rock star doesn't scream "Oscar" but it is Meryl Streep and Demme is sometimes pure magic. Sometimes. We'll see. Oscar loved this story when it came from Argentina in the foreign film category. Will they go for it as an English language all star remake? Brad Bird is a magical talent behind the camera. At some point a genre-loving family friendly blockbuster is going to be a hit with Oscar again.
Tier 5 - Really, Too Early To Discount Anything
BLACK MASS - d. Scott Cooper, Warner Bros (09/18)
CRIMSON PEAK - d. Guillermo del Toro, Universal (10/16)
33 - d. Patricia Riggen, TBA (TBA)
ICON - d. Stephen Frears, TBA (08/01)
A BIGGER SPLASH - d. Luca Guadagino, Fox Searchlight (TBA)
STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS - d. J.J. Abrams, Disney (12/18)
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL - d. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, Fox Searchlight (06/12)
THE MARTIAN - d. Ridley Scott, Fox (11/25)
MIDNIGHT SPECIAL - d. Jeff Nichols, Warner Bros (11/25)

and everything else -- there are still many films without distribution that could pop up in major ways and release dates apart from the tentpoles are still highly changeable.