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  1. 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.

    Read more

  2. 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 be shocked if Michael Keaton doesn’t get a nomination for his career-reviving performance as a washed-up-actor in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s brilliant showbiz satire set in NYC. Behind the camera, González Iñárritu is a shoo-in 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?
    Now playing.

    Read review

  3. Whiplash

    This year’s...
    An Officer and a Gentleman, shifted to the jazz world.

    Tell me more
    Critics and audiences alike love this Sundance breakout starring Miles Teller as a young drumming hopeful who submits to J.K. Simmons's ferocious jazz instructor. Its chances are long, but remember Louis Gossett Jr. in An Officer and a Gentlemen—he made it all the way to the podium, as could Simmons.

    What could it win?
    Best Supporting Actor, Best Actor, Best Original Screenplay.

    When can I see it?
    Now playing.

    Read review

  4. Unbroken

    This year’s...
    Saving Private Ryan.

    Tell me more
    No-one has seen Unbroken yet, 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 26.

    Read more

  5. 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 again?

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

    When can I see it?
    November 14.

    Read review

  6. 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) a win? She plays 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.

    Read more

  7. Boyhood

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

    Tell me more
    If you’ve already seen 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, Best Screenplay.

    When can I see it?
    On VOD and DVD now.

    Read review

  8. The Imitation Game

    This year’s...
    The King’s Speech.

    Tell me more
    Hollywood sometimes 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 magnet Harvey Weinstein behind it.

    What could it win?
    Best Picture, Best Actor.

    When can I see it?
    November 21.

    Read review

  9. 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-level brilliant.

    What could it win?
    Best Actor.

    When can I see it?
    November 7.

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  10. 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?
    December 5.

    Read more

  11. 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, Best Screenplay

    When can I see it?
    October 31.

    Read review

  12. Still Alice

    This year’s...
    Away From Her 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 as her daughter.

    What could it win?
    Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress.

    When can I see it?
    December 5.

  13. A Most Violent Year

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

    Tell me more
    This hotly buzzed crime drama from rising-star writer-director J.C. Chandor (Margin Call, All is Lost) might turn out to be a dark horse. Set in 1981, one of the most violent years in modern NYC history, Oscar Isaac plays a gas-company owner expanding his business in a competitive climate. 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. 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. Everyone agrees that Rosamund Pike is a knockout.

    What could it win?
    Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actress.

    When can I see it?
    In theaters now.

    Read review

  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 finally palm a little statue with Mr. Turner, his outstanding biopic of the final years of the 19th-century painter J.M.W. Turner. This is a film that ticks a lot of Oscar boxes: classy historical drama, top-drawer British cast, absorbing biopic.

    What could it win?
    Best Screenplay.

    When can I see it?
    December 19.

    Read review

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

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