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Oscars 2015: 15 films that could win big

The Oscars aren’t until February 2015, but the buzz has already begun. These are the movies we currently think are the strongest contenders to win gold

1/15

Interstellar

This year’s...
Gravity with a bit of Steven Spielberg thrown in.

Tell me more
Christopher "Dark Knight" Nolan has directed box-office smashes and sends geeks’ pulses racing, but he’s never gone home with an Oscar. If anything can change that, it will be this hotly anticipated space epic, with Matthew McConaughey leading a starry cast into space on a mission to save Earth.

What could it win?
Best Director, Best Picture, Best Actor.

When can I see it?
November 7

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2/15

Birdman

This year’s...
Being John Malkovich with a putting-on-a-play spin.

Tell me more
The Oscars love a comeback (let’s call it "doing a Travolta"). So we’ll eat a dead bat if Michael Keaton doesn’t get a nomination for his career-reviving performance as a washed-up-actor in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s brilliant and bonkers showbiz satire set in New York. Behind the camera, Iñárritu is a dead cert for a Best Director nod.

What could it win?
Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone) Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), Best Original Screenplay.

When can I see it?
It screens at the Chicago International Film Festival October 18 and will open in Chicago October 23.

Read review

3/15

Fury

This year’s...
Saving Private Ryan.

Tell me more
Could we be looking at a husband and wife Brangelina slam-dunk on Oscar night? There’s Angie directing one WWII epic, Unbroken. Then you’ve got Brad producing and starring in this old-school war drama as an army sergeant on a mission behind enemy lines in Nazi Germany.

What could it win?
Best Picture, Best Actor (Brad Pitt).

When can I see it?
October 17

Read review

4/15

Unbroken

This year’s...
Other Saving Private Ryan (see Fury).

Tell me more
No-one has seen Unbroken, but on paper this looks like a winner. Hollywood royalty Angelina Jolie directs the extraordinary real-life story of Louis Zamperini (Jack O’Connell), the Olympic runner and WWII hero, who survived at sea for 47 days after escaping Japanese torture. That’s one juicy-looking piece of Oscar bait.

What could it win?
Best Director, Best Picture.

When can I see it?
December 25

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5/15

Foxcatcher

This year’s...
The Master with a nod to The Aviator.

Tell me more
Steve Carell does Capital A acting as John du Pont, the wealthy American millionaire who murdered an Olympic wrestler in 1996. Filmmaker Bennett Miller directed Philip Seymour Hoffman to an Oscar-winning performance in Capote. Will he score gold again?

What could it win?
Best Actor (Steve Carell).

When can I see it?
November 14

Read review

6/15

Big Eyes

This year’s...
Frida meets Kramer vs Kramer.

Tell me more
Could Tim Burton’s divorce drama be the film that finally gives serial Oscar nominee Amy Adams (five nods and counting) an Oscar win? She plays the real-life artist Margaret Keane whose husband took the credit for her kitschy paintings of big-eyed girls in the 1960s. When the couple divorced the judge settled the case with a paint-off, setting up two easels in the courtroom.

What could it win?
Best Actress.

When can I see it?
December 25

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7/15

Boyhood

This year’s...
Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight combined.

Tell me more
If you’ve already seen American indie filmmaker Richard Linklater’s gorgeous film about one boy growing up, filmed in spurts over 12 years, you’ll know exactly why it deserves to be in the running for Best Picture. We’d love Boyhood to be this year’s little-film-that-could.

What could it win?
Best Picture, Best Director.

When can I see it?
In theaters now

Read review

8/15

The Imitation Game

This year’s...
The King’s Speech.

Tell me more
Hollywood goes weak at the knees for a classy British historical drama. This biopic starring Benedict Cumberbatch as the WWII codebreaker Alan Turing has got the mighty weight of awards hoover Harvey Weinstein behind it.

What could it win?
Best Picture. Best Actor.

When can I see it?
Screens at the Chicago International Film Festival October 16, opens in theaters November 14.

Read review

9/15

The Theory of Everything

This year’s...
My Left Foot.

Tell me more
Could we be looking at an (exceedingly polite) Oscar smackdown between two classy Brit biopics this year? Going elbow to elbow with Benedict Cumberbatch and The Imitation Game is this film largely about the student years and early career of Stephen Hawking adapted from his ex-wife’s autobiography. The trailer is enough to reduce the quivery-lipped to tears and 32-year-old actor Eddie Redmayne’s performance is being described as Daniel-Day-Lewis-style brilliant.

What could it win?
Best Actor.

When can I see it?
November 7

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10/15

Wild

This year’s...
127 Hours with a side serving of Eat Pray Love.

Tell me more
Last year we had the McConaissance, as Hollywood fell back in love with Matthew McConaughey. This year is all about the Witherspaissance, as all eyes turn to Reese Witherspoon who delivers a stand-out performance in the film of Cheryl Strayed’s gritty memoir.

What could it win?
Best Actress.

When can I see it?
Closes out the Chicago International Film Festival October 23 and opens in theaters December 5.

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11/15

Nightcrawler

This year’s...
Taxi Driver remixed by the makers of Drive.

Tell me more
Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance as a seedy ambulance-chasing cameraman in the cesspool of Los Angeles crime reporting has had people reaching for comparisons to Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver.

What could it win?
Best Actor.

When can I see it?
October 31

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12/15

Still Alice

This year’s...
Away From Here with a little Amour.

Tell me more
Julianne Moore is now officially the woman to beat in the race to Best Actress. She gives a career-best performance (and that’s saying something for Moore) playing a happily married 50-year-old academic diagnosed with early-onset dementia. Kristen Stewart could also find herself in the running for Best Supporting Actress as her daughter.

What could it win?
Best Actress.

When can I see it?
January 16 2015

13/15

A Most Violent Year

This year’s...
Wall Street with an injection of Scarface.

Tell me more
This hotly tipped crime drama from rising-star writer-director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, All is Lost) might turn out to be a dark horse Oscar candidate. Set in 1981, one of the most violent years in modern New York history, Oscar Isaac plays an immigrant expanding his business by any means necessary. Jessica Chastain does a Lady Macbeth as his scheming wife.

What could it win?
Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain).

When can I see it?
December 31

14/15

Gone Girl

This year’s...
Revolutionary Road with a shot of There Will Be Blood.

Tell me more
There’s no doubting David Fincher’s first-class directing. But is his blackly funny film of Gillian Flynn’s dazzling novel about a marriage gone toxic too twisted to win big at the Oscars? That’s the question hanging over Gone Girl.

What could it win?
Best Adapted Screenplay.

When can I see it?
In theaters now

Read review

15/15

Mr. Turner

This year’s...
Pollock in Ye Olde England.

Tell me more
Mike Leigh has notched up six Oscar nominations in his long and distinguished career. But he may well finally snag a little golden statue with Mr. Turner, his outstanding biopic of the final years of the nineteenth-century painter J.M.W. Turner. This is a film that ticks a lot of Oscar boxes. Classy historical drama. Top drawer British cast. Biopic. Check. Check. Check.

What could it win?
Best Screenplay.

When can I see it?
December 19

Read review

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