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2017 Oscar Contenders - Best Picture

Movie list created by BradWesley123 Avatar

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The Contenders

People who added this item 253 Average listal rating (170 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 7.1

Director: Robert Zemeckis
Writer: Steven Knight
Cast: Brad Pitt, Marion Coltillard, Lizzy Caplan, Jared Harris
Release Date: November 23rd
Plot Synopsis: Set in 1942 following a spy who falls in love and marries a French agent during a dangerous North African mission.

Pros: It's a romantic drama/thriller set in WWII; if it's good, they'll bend over backwards to try and get it in. Pitt's been on a hot streak lately, with several films that he's either starred in or produced being major players. As has Zemeckis, who's latest films (Flight & The Walk), while not both being box office smashes, have served as a course correction to his Motion-Capture flicks of the 2000s.

Cons: Even so, The Walk was a bomb that couldn't even make the cut in visual effects, and Flight was mainly praised for it's lead performance (though surprisingly made it in the screenplay category). Plus, with Pitt attached to so many contenders this year, will this get shut out in favor War Machine or even Moonlight?

Post-Release Report: Okay reviews, but not good enough for anything beyond the tech departments.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 1064 Average listal rating (787 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9

Director: Denis Villeneuve
Writer: Eric Heisserer
Cast: Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker, Michael Stuhlberg
Release Date: November 11th
Plot Synopsis: Taking place after alien crafts land around the world, an expert linguist is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat.

Pros: Villeneuve's been on a hell of a roll recently, with three of his last four movies scoring some sort of nod, including last year's Sicario, which scored three and was in the running for BP all season long. The film also features an excellent cast, and is based on an acclaimed short story.

Cons: Even with the acclaim, Sicario, even had it been nominated, was never on the top of anyone's tongues; it was respected, sure, be never particularly loved. Heisserer's screenwriting track record is also a bit worrying; three poorly received horror films, including two remakes, and Paul Walker's last Hours. Plus, it'll have to vie for attention against Adams other starring role in Nocturnal Animals.

Post-Release Report: The reviews have been fantastic, and there's been growing support for the film. While it's certainly no lock, it's looking like a strong contender.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 290 Average listal rating (197 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.4
The BFG (2016)

Director: Steven Spielberg
Writers: Melissa Mathison, Christopher Abbott (story)
Cast: Mark Rylance, Rebecca Hall, Bill Hader, Jemaine Clement, Ruby Barnhill
Release Date: July 1st
Plot Synopsis: A girl named Sophie encounters the Big Friendly Giant who, despite his intimidating appearance, turns out to be a kindhearted soul who is considered an outcast by the other giants because unlike his peers refuses to eat boys and girls.

Pros: Steven Spielberg and writer Melissa Mathison's last collaboration was the classic E.T., and the director has been on a hot streak as of late, with his last three movies all receiving BP nods. Plus, there's been a genuine lack of family movies here for several years; maybe this one will steal a lot of voters hearts.

Cons: But stats are stats; since 2000 only two family flicks, Hugo and Life of Pi, have made the cut, failing to make much of a dent against more adult, "artsy" movies. And, while release dates haven't been the strongest indicators of success lately, July isn't usually the strongest opening.

Post-Release Report: The movie only got so-so reviews, and has bombed at the box office. I don't see it happening.
BradWesley123's rating:

Director: Ang Lee
Writers: Simon Beaufoy, Jean-Christophe Castelli
Cast: Joe Alwyn, Kristen Stewart, Vin Diesel, Garrett Hedlund, Chris Tucker, Steve Martin
Release Date: November 11th
Plot Synopsis: An infantryman recounts the final hours before he and his fellow soldiers return to Iraq.

Pros: Three of Ang Lee's six movies since 2000 have been nominated, with two of them netting him Best Director wins. Add in an eclectic cast, oscar winning writer, and acclaimed source material with a timely subject, and you've got a potential heavy hitter.

Cons: Lee's never gone back-to-back with BP nominations, with a few of his movies (Hulk and Taking Woodstock) missing hard. Distributor TriStar isn't exactly a big awards player, with only District 9 recently having any real sway (and that was almost seven years ago). And, while quite interesting, the cast does't exactly "prestige".

Post-Release Report: The reviews were pretty mixed. Likely not a BP prospect, though it may compete in the Sound categories.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 73 Average listal rating (40 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.4

Director: Nate Parker
Writers: Nate Parker, Jean McGianni Celestin (story)
Cast: Nate Parker, Armie Hammer, Aja Naomi King, Aunjanue Ellis, Gabrielle Union, Jackie Earle Haley
Release Date: October 7th
Plot Synopsis: Nat Turner, a former slave in America, leads a liberation movement in 1831 to free African-Americans in Virginia that results in a violent retaliation from whites.

Pros: The movie was a huge breakout at Sundance, with Fox Searchlight eventually paying $17.5 million for it, the biggest deal in the festivals history. Add in some strong early reviews and this year's diversity troubles and you've got a recipe for a genuine threat.

Cons: While positive, many of the early reviews aren't terribly enthusiastic, with many praising the movie's message more than the movie. Plus, this year is shaping up to be a surprisingly diverse one; will it have what it takes to stand out? Also, Parker's previous rape trial appears to be gaining a lot of steam, and could really derail any talks on the film's merits.

Post-Release Report: The rape controversy really killed this one. It pretty much came and went, with little fanfare. Maybe a stray costume or production design nod, but it's otherwise done.
People who added this item 304 Average listal rating (191 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.6
Café Society (2016)

Director: Woody Allen
Writer: Woody Allen
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg, Steve Carell, Blake Lively, Judy Davis
Release Date: July 15th
Plot Synopsis: A girl and a boy in the most classy years of New York. A father of a girl and a mother of a boy in the deep America. A meeting in the middle.

Pros: When a Woody Allen film is well recieved, it will always be in the running.

Cons: Allen's been really hit-or-miss over the years, and based on how genuinely under developed his last couple have been, the miss trend looks to continue.

Post Release Report: Solid reviews, but probably not gonna happen.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 210 Average listal rating (124 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 6.7

Director: David Frankel
Writer: Allan Loeb
Cast: Will Smith, Kate Winslet, Keira Knightley, Edward Norton, Helen Mirren, Michael Peña, Jonah Hill
Release Date: December 16th
Plot Synopsis: A tragic event sends a New York ad man on a downward spiral.

Pros: The cast assembled here is excellent, hinting that the story could be special enough to draw them all in. Plus, with Smith part of so much of the discussion this oscar cycle, they may be looking at him more closely.

Cons: Frankel's resume hints at more affable dramadies like The Devil Wears Prada and Hope Floats than it does awards season "player". Plus, screenwriter Loeb's resume isn't particularly stellar either, being credited for the scripts of So Undercover!, Here Comes the Boom, and Just Go with It.

Post Release Report: Had some of the worst reviews of 2016, not happening.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 217 Average listal rating (128 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 6.9

Director: Richard Linklater
Writer: Richard Linklater
Cast: Tyler Hoechlin, Zoey Deutch, Ryan Guzman, Wyatt Russell, Glen Powell
Release Date: April 1st
Plot Synopsis: A group of college baseball players navigate their way through the freedoms and responsibilities of unsupervised adulthood.

Pros: Linklater's been on a roll as of late, with back-to-back nods for Before Midnight and Boyhood, with many believing he should've won for both. Plus, this should get some added attention for being the "spiritual" sequel to one of his most beloved movies, Dazed and Confused.

Cons: Early footage suggests more of a straight comedy; i.e. more cult favorite than awards one.

Post-Release Report: Got pretty strong reviews, but the movie pretty much came and went with little to no awards talk.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 243 Average listal rating (150 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Fences (2016)

Director: Denzel Washington
Writers: August Wilson
Cast: Denzel Washington, Viola Davis
Release Date: December 25th
Plot Synopsis: Set in the 1950s, Fences centers on 53-year-old Troy Maxon, an urban trash collector haunted by his unfulfilled dream of becoming a baseball star.

Pros: Washington's first two directorial efforts, Antwone Fisher and The Great Debaterswere met with critical acclaim, as was the play that the film is based on, which has won several Tony awards (including two for Washington and Davis). And, not to beat a dead horse, the Academy will be looking very closely for more diverse offerings this year, and this one certainly has the pedigree.

Cons: Honestly, I really don't see many. If it can hit it's release date, and it's good, then it should be a player.

Post Release Report: Great reviews and surprisingly strong box office make this a likely nominee.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 916 Average listal rating (611 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 7.3
Finding Dory (2016)

Director: Angus MacLane, Andrew Stanton
Writers: Angus MacLane, Andrew Stanton, Victoria Strouse
Cast: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Diane Keaton, Idris Elba, Michael Sheen, Kaitlin Olson, Dominic West
Release Date: June 17th
Plot Synopsis: The friendly-but-forgetful blue tang fish reunites with her loved ones, and everyone learns a few things about the real meaning of family along the way.

Pros: After coming back big with Inside Out, Pixar certainly has the Academy's attention, and the film's predecessor, Finding Nemo, is one of the most beloved of their releases. If it's anywhere near as good as that, it'll be in the hunt.

Cons: Aside from the Toy Story ones, Pixar doesn't have the best track record with sequels (Cars 2 anyone?). Plus, if Inside Out couldn't make the cut, with near unanimous praise, then it's going to be an uphill battle.

Post Release Report: It got strong reviews and huge box office returns, but for it to have made the cut, it would've had to have been better than the original, which it wasn't. Could surprise, but it doesn't look likely.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 308 Average listal rating (211 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.2

Director: John Lee Hancock
Writer: Robert D. Siegel
Cast: Michael Keaton, Laura Dern, Linda Cardellini, Patrick Wilson, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch
Release Date: December 16th
Plot Synopsis: The story of McDonald's founder, Ray Kroc.

Pros: The Academy's been pretty good to Hancock; The Blind Side was a surprise BP nominee in 2009, and Saving Mr. Banks was in the discussion until the very end (it did miss though). They've also been pretty fond of Keaton for the past couple of years, with both Birdman & Spotlight taking home the top prize. Add in a true story, a solid ensemble, and a script that reportedly doesn't pull it's punches.

Cons: The Weinstein Company moved it out of November, a prime awards season spot, to August; they possibly see it more as amiable late summer fodder than genuine contender. Plus, while Hancock's films have been fairly well received, that both had very vocal detractors.

Post Release Report: Mostly positive reviews, but it's awards prospects were pretty much DOA. Not happening.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 131 Average listal rating (78 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.9

Director: Gary Ross
Writers: Gary Ross, Leonard Hartman
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Keri Russell, Mahershala Ali
Release Date: June 24th
Plot Synopsis: As civil war divides the nation, a poor farmer from Mississippi leads a group of rebels against the Confederate army.

Pros: Ross is one of more deceptively effectively filmmakers out there. While he isn't a household name, several of his film's have been real critical hits, and he's received four Oscar nods for his efforts, including his last non-Hunger Games flick Seabiscuit receiving a Best Picture nod. With an Oscar winning star at his side, along with meaty subject matter like this, the Free State of Jones could become a real sleeper hit.

Cons: The summer release date isn't helpful, and Ross's lack of image doesn't give him a leg up on other more well known filmmakers. Add to it that it seems most have finally tired of the McConaissance (as his recent stinker The Sea of Trees can attest to).

Post Release Report: Mixed to negative reviews and weak box office make this one highly unlikely.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 406 Average listal rating (279 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.5

Director: Tate Taylor
Writer: Erin Cressida Wilson
Cast: Emily Blunt, Justin Theroux, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans, Haley Bennett, Edgar Ramirez
Release Date: October 7th
Plot Synopsis: The Girl on the Train is the story of Rachel Watson's life post-divorce. Every day, she takes the train in to work in London, and every day the train passes by her old house. The house she lived in with her husband, who still lives there, with his new wife and child. As she attempts to not focus on her pain, she starts watching a couple a few houses down -- Megan and Scott Hipwell. She creates a wonderful dream life for them in her head, about how they are a perfect happy family. And then one day, as the train passes, she sees something shocking, filling her with rage. The next day, she wakes up with a horrible hangover, various wounds and bruises, and no memory of the night before. She has only a feeling: something bad happened. Then come the TV reports: Megan Hipwell is missing. Rachel becomes invested in the case and trying to find out what happened to Megan, where she is, and what exactly she herself was up to that same night Megan went missing.

Pros: It's based off of a hit book with strong reviews and sales, with a story than sounds like a cross between Hitchcock and Gone Girl. Throw in an excellent cast, a strong release date and big studio backing, and this could be one you keep hearing about later this year.

Cons: Taylor hit big with The Help, but his follow-up Get On Up failed to connect. Plus, his filmmaking style is so unshowy that this one could easily get passed up by more "auteur-driven" material. These type of adaptations (thriller/mystery) also have a pretty hit-or-miss track record, so this could disappoint.

Post-Release Report: Mixed reviews, okay-ish box office. No way.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 125 Average listal rating (77 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.7
Gold (2016)

Director: Stephen Gaghan
Writers: Patrick Massett & John Zinman
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Toby Kebbell, Rachael Taylor, Corey Stoll
Release Date: December 25th
Plot Synopsis: An unlikely pair venture to the Indonesian jungle in search of gold.

Pros: Gaghan's last film, Syriana played well in 2005, netting a couple of Oscar nods and a win, and any McConaughey movie is destined to draw eyeballs. Being a fact-based historical flick also gives it a leg up. The trailers looks solid.

Cons: It's been flying under, arguably too far. Add in that McConaughey's last few movies have been disappointments, and this year is looking to be very strong in the homestretch with numerous other, timely films to come. It'll have to be very, very good.

Post Release Report: Mixed reviews, and getting dumped into theaters. Not happening.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 607 Average listal rating (451 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8.1

Director: Mel Gibson
Writers: Andrew Knight and Robert Schenkkan
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Sam Worthington, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving
Release Date: November 4th
Plot Synopsis: WWII American Army Medic Desmond T. Doss, who served during the Battle of Okinawa, refuses to kill people and becomes the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Pros: War movies hold a special place in academy voters hearts, as do comebacks, with Mel Gibson attempting to come back from years of personal troubles.

Cons: Though Gibson is a special case, having alienated numerous people with his tirades. And this is such a back-ended year as this one, does this have enough juice to compete with movies with newer and timelier messages? We'll see.

Post-Release Report: Reviews have been pretty strong, and the box office is moving along nicely. It's got a solid shot, though I'd wager that it won't be enough to overcome some late-year pressure from more "prestigious films".
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 442 Average listal rating (320 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 462 Average listal rating (312 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.8
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 320 Average listal rating (198 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.7
Jackie (2016)
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 356 Average listal rating (233 ratings) 6.1 IMDB Rating 6.6
Jason Bourne (2016)

Director: Paul Greengrass
Writers: Matt Damon, Paul Greengrass, Christopher Rouse
Cast: Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Julia Stiles, Alicia Vikander
Release Date: July 29th
Plot Synopsis: N/A

Pros: The last Bourne film with Damon and Greengrass was a massive success with massive box office and three Oscar wins; the duo coming back inspires a lot of confidence. The Academy has also become relatively kinder to blockbuster pictures, with stuff like Mad Max: Fury Road and Gravity doing incredibly well.

Cons: As good as the other Bourne movies were, none of them were ever in the discussion for BP. Plus, it will still have to fight the stigma of a studio action flick. The movies above did make the cut, but they had to get near unanimous praise.

Post Release Report: Mixed reviews for an action movie; it's not happening.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 986 Average listal rating (676 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 8
La La Land (2016)

Director: Damien Chazelle
Writer: Damien Chazelle
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Emma Stone, J.K. Simmons, Finn Wittrock, Rosemarie DeWitt, John Legend
Release Date: December 2nd
Plot Synopsis: A jazz pianist falls for an aspiring actress in Los Angeles.

Pros: Chazelle broke out big with Whiplash, which snagged three wins out of five nods in 2014. Him taking his talents to the musical genre, one of the Academy all-time favorites, aided by a pair of vary likeable leads and the breakout star of his last film looks like a vary strong contender. Distributor Lionsgate clearly agrees; the film's release date was moved from the Summer to Winter, in the thick of awards-season.

Cons: While their clearly loved, the only musical to make the cut in the last decade was Les Misérables (a nomination that many conceded it didn't merit) and it was never even in the discussion to win the prize. Filmmakers also tend to have a difficult time following up their breakout with an equally good flick.

Post-Release Report: It's a lock, and could even go all the way.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 15 Average listal rating (10 ratings) 6.4 IMDB Rating 6.5
LBJ (2016)

Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: Joey Hartstone
Cast: Woody Harrelson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman, Jeffrey Donovan
Release Date: N/A
Plot Synopsis: LBJ centers on the political upheaval that Vice President Johnson faced when he was thrust into the presidency at the hands of an assassin's bullet in November 1963. With political battles on both sides of the aisle, Johnson struggles to heal a nation and secure his presidency by passing Kennedy's historic Civil Rights Act.

Pros: It's a biopic about a historically significant white man with a respected cast.

Cons: It has been a very long time since Rob Reiner made anything of merrit, and this looks to be another in the long line of straight-forward biopics (i.e. it'll have to be something really strong to really stick out). Also not helping is the other LBJ pick with Bryan Cranston, All the Way, coming to HBO in May that'll likely take some of the attention.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 170 Average listal rating (94 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.2

Director: Derek Cianfrance
Writer: Derek Cianfrance
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz
Release Date: September 2nd
Plot Synopsis: A lighthouse keeper and his wife living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat.

Pros: The source material was both critically acclaimed and checks a lot of Oscar boxes (period piece, dramatic romance, etc.) and the cast is quite strong. The recently release trailer looks strong, and Cianfrance's previous films, Blue Valentine and The Place Beyond the Pines, suggest more ambition than your average dramatic weepie.

Cons: The movie has been delayed several times, and the labor day weekend release date doesn't inspire a lot of confidence.

Post-Release Report: Mixed reviews, poor box office, no chance.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 392 Average listal rating (265 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8
Lion (2016)

Director: Garth Davis
Writer: Luke Davies
Cast: Dev Patel, Rooney Mara, Nicole Kidman, David Wenham
Release Date: November 25th
Plot Synopsis:A five-year-old Indian boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, thousands of kilometers from home. He survives many challenges before being adopted by a couple in Australia; 25 years later, he sets out to find his lost family.

Pros: The Weinsteins are backing it, and they seem to be quite smitten with it; they shifted the release of their other awards prospect The Founder so that they could give this the prime awards season opening spot. It helps that it's got a strong cast and crew, and a story that screams of inspirational Oscar-bait. Also, there was a screening last year that apparently went over quite well.

Cons: Davis has never been an awards player, and this could end up taking a more melodramatic route (like so many movies of this genre).
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 144 Average listal rating (83 ratings) 5.9 IMDB Rating 6.4
Live by Night (2017)

Director: Ben Affleck
Writer: Ben Affleck
Cast: Ben Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Sienna Miller, Brendan Gleeson, Chris Cooper, Elle Fanning, Chris Messina
Release Date: N/A
Plot Synopsis: Set in the 1920s and 1930s, the story follows Joe Coughlin, the prodigal son of a Boston police captain. After moving to Ybor City, Tampa, Florida, he becomes a bootlegger and a rum-runner and, later, a notorious gangster.

Pros: Affleck's last movie, Argo, won top prize, and all three of his movies have received at least one nomination. It's also based on a book by Dennis Lehane, who's adaptations have always been awards magnets. Another bonus; the movie was originally supposed to come out next October, i.e. they moved up one awards-cycle, so they seem to be pretty confident.

Cons: This was a pretty quick production, and with Affleck spread across so many projects (this, his DCEU obligations, writing a Batman flick), this may not be as tight of a film as we're used to from him.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 145 Average listal rating (80 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7

Director: Jeff Nichols
Writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Michael Shannon, Nick Kroll, Marton Csokas
Release Date: November 4th
Plot Synopsis: Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple, are sentenced to prison in Virginia in 1958 for getting married.

Pros: An up-and-coming director with a lot of indie cred (i.e. Take Shelter, Mud, Midnight Special), a solid cast, and real-life material that screams OSCAR!!! Focus Features certainly sees the potential; they shelled out $9 mil. after seeing just a few minutes of footage.

Cons: This type of material has the tendency to be quite heavy handed which, though wouldn't entirely rule it out, could push it to the bottom of a crowded year.

Post-Release Report: Not a lock, but the reviews have been strong, and it's doing well in limited release. If you pressed me for an answer, I'd say it makes it in but won't win.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 525 Average listal rating (356 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.8

Director: Kenneth Lonergan
Writer: Kenneth Lonergan
Cast: Casey Affleck, Michelle Williams, Kyle Chandler, Gretchen Mol, Lucas Hedges
Release Date: November 18th
Plot Synopsis: An uncle is forced to take care of his teenage nephew after the boy's father dies.

Pros: The movie got insanely excellent reviews out of Sundance, and these types of smaller family dramas always seem to strike a cord with voters (see Room just last year).

Cons: Most of the buzz it picked up eventually got snuffed out by The Birth of a Nation's. It'll also have to overcome a lot of bias against streaming services (Amazon picked it up for a big $10 mil.). Plus, it may end up just being to small to make much of an impact.

Post-Release Report: The reviews have been staggering, it's in.
BradWesley123's rating:

Director: Tim Burton
Writer: Jane Goldman
Cast: Eva Green, Samuel L. Jackson, Asa Butterfield, Judi Dench, Allison Janney, Chris O'Dowd
Release Date: September 30th
Plot Synopsis: When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans different worlds and times, he finds Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. But the mystery and danger deepen as he gets to know the residents and learns about their special powers.

Pros: This really looks like Burton's bread and butter here, and when he's on his game there are few more intriguing filmmakers out there.

Cons: But it's been a while since he's been on his game. It's been about a decade since his last acclaimed movie Sweeney Todd, and his attempt to reign in his eccentricities Big Eyes pretty much landed with a thud. Could this, a story seemingly in his wheelhouse, be a genuine comeback.

Post-Release Report: While it represents something of a return to form for Burton, it's not awards material (outside, maybe, a few tech categories).
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 130 Average listal rating (82 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.5
Miss Sloane (2016)
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 229 Average listal rating (163 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.5
Money Monster (2016)

Director: Jodie Foster
Writers: Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, Jamie Linden
Cast: George Clooney, Julia Roberts, Jack O'Connell, Caitriona Balfe, Dominic West, Giancarlo Esposito
Release Date: May 13th
Plot Synopsis: Financial TV personality Lee Gates, who offers up stock advice on his hit show "Money Monster," is held hostage by a viewer, Kyle Budwell, who lost all of his money following a bad tip from Lee during his show.

Pros: Movies about Wall Street having been hitting big over the past few years, and this one looks to explore corruption while invoking such classics as Dog Day Afternoon and Network. Plus, that cast and crew is awfully starry; frequently a necessity when it comes to awards season.

Cons: The trailer looked incredibly preachy, and more like an action thriller than a searing look at the effects of Wall Street. After The Big Short hit so big just last year with humor and pathos, Money Monster will have to do a lot more than preachy thrills to stay relevant. The Summer release date also doesn't inspire much confidence.

Post Release Report: Very little fanfare for this one. Not gonna happen.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 340 Average listal rating (219 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.4

Director: Juan Antonio Bayona
Writer: Patrick Ness
Cast: Liam Neeson, Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver, Toby Kebbell, Geraldine Chaplin
Release Date: October 14th
Plot Synopsis: A boy seeks the help of a tree monster to cope with his single mom's terminal illness.

Pros: Blending fantasy and emotional drama has been a recipe for success in the past (E.T.,Lord of the Rings, Life of Pi), and based on the talent assemble in front of a behind the camera, it's reasonable to assume that could be again. Bayona has shown a strong storytelling and visual sense in his previous efforts (The Orphanage and The Impossible), and the source material is highly acclaimed.

Cons: Movies with fantasy elements usually get lumped together in the "genre" category (i.e. not as serious as "real" dramas) and get neglected when it comes to consideration.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 657 Average listal rating (476 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 7.4
Moonlight (2016)

Director: Barry Jenkins
Writer: Barry Jenkins
Cast: Trevante Rhodes, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali, André Holland, Janelle Monáe
Release Date: October 21st
Plot Synopsis: Moonlight tells the story of Chiron, a young man who comes of age during “War on Drugs”-era Miami. It’s structured in three different time periods as Chiron battles a deteriorating home life and deals with his dawning sexuality.

Pros: The Academy has to be on the lookout for more diversity this year, and this most definitely fits that bill. It also helps that it's being backed by Plan B, which has been on a roll for the past few years; winning for 12 Years a Slave, then following that up with nods for Selma and The Big Short (which came close to taking it)in the following years.

Cons: Still, movies made and starring African Americans are frequently passed over, and this one sounds like an especially small scale one. Will it have enough juice to push through awards season?

Post-Release Report: It's got a freight train full of support; it's a lock.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 594 Average listal rating (419 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.5

Director: Tom Ford
Writer: Tom Ford
Cast: Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Isla Fisher, Armie Hammer, Michael Shannon
Release Date: November 18th
Plot Synopsis: A "story inside a story," in which the first part follows a woman named Susan who receives a book manuscript from her ex-husband, a man whom she left 20 years earlier, asking for her opinion. The second element follows the actual manuscript, called "Nocturnal Animals," which revolves around a man whose family vacation turns violent and deadly. It also continues to follow the story of Susan, who finds herself recalling her first marriage and confronting some dark truths about herself.

Pros: Ford's debut feature, 2009's A Single Man, received strong notices and was on the Academy's radar. He's got a great sounding story, from acclaimed source material, here with a great cast.

Cons: A Single Man was mostly praised for it's lead performance and it's style, not really it's story. It'll also have to stand out from another female-lead mystery/thriller The Girl on the Train, and another Amy Adams lead flick Story of Your Life.

Post Release Report: Decently reviewed, but it's had a surprisingly strong awards-season. Could sneak in.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 594 Average listal rating (423 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 7
Passengers (2016)

Director: Morton Tyldum
Writer: Jon Spaihts
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt, Michael Sheen, Laurence Fishburne
Release Date: December 21st
Plot Synopsis: A spacecraft is transporting thousands of people to a distant colony planet that has a malfunction in one of its sleep chambers. As a result, a single passenger is awakened 90 years before anyone else. Faced with the prospect of growing old and dying alone, he eventually decides to wake up a second passenger.

Pros: It has a director hot off of a Best Director nod, and who's film (The Imitation Game) got a Picture nod, a script that's been getting praise for years, and two of the biggest stars on the planet. Science Fiction movies have been having something of a renaissance here over the past few years, and this one, with so much talent assembled, looks to continue the trend.

Cons: This seems like something that could be very niche, and Oscar voters aren't big fans of niche. Plus, unless do right, that synopsis sounds pretty creepy, doesn't it?

Post Release Report: Poorly reviewed, and so-so box office. No way.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 43 Average listal rating (20 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6

Director: Terry George
Writers: Terry George, Robin Swicord
Cast: Christian Bale, Oscar Isaac, Charlotte Lebon, Jean Reno, James Cromwell, Shohreh Aghdashloo
Release Date: N/A
Plot Synopsis: Set during the last days of the Ottoman Empire, The Promise follows a love triangle between Michael, a brilliant medical student, the beautiful and sophisticated Ana, and Chris - a renowned American journalist based in Paris.

Pros: Romantic drama set during a historic event (i.e. academy catnip). The cast is excellent, and George is no stranger to Oscar attention (he has one win out of three nods).

Cons: The movie hasn't found a distributor yet, and George's theatrical track record since 2004's Hotel Rwanda is fairly murky.
People who added this item 68 Average listal rating (42 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.4

Director: Mira Nair
Writer: William Wheeler
Cast: Lupita Nyong'o, David Oyelowo, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine
Release Date: N/A
Plot Synopsis: A young girl from Uganda trains to become a world chess champion.

Pros: Like I said earlier; need for diversity. Add in an inspirational story, a sports one at that (if you consider chess a sport, but still) and a major studio backing (Disney), and this could be a sleeper hit.

Cons: Disney's sports movies are usually fine, likable movies, but not real awards players. Nair's track record isn't the greatest either, with her last play at awards season being one of the all-time bait bombs, 2009's Amelia.

Post-Release Report: The reviews were good, but there's just no buzz here.
People who added this item 66 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 5.7 IMDB Rating 5.7

Director: Warren Beatty
Writer: Warren Beatty
Cast: Warren Beatty, Lily Collins, Haley Bennett, Annette Bening, Alec Baldwin, Taissa Farmiga, Alden Ehrenreich, Ed Harris, Matthew Broderick
Release Date: November 23rd
Plot Synopsis: A story centered on an affair Howard Hughes had in the late years of his life with a younger woman.

Pros: Beatty is Hollywood royalty, and anything he does will have a close eye on it. Aiding this is a big ensemble, with a bevy of rising and established talent, as well as a historic setting that is said to look closely at Hollywood in the 1950s (and boy, does the academy love awarding movies about themselves).

Cons: Beatty's last film was 2001's epic stinker Town & Country, which was bad enough to keep him away for fifteen years, and this one has been held up for quite a while; could there be a problem with the film?

Post Release Report: Mixed reviews and horrible box office pretty much knock this out of the race.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 449 Average listal rating (235 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.2
Silence (2017)

Director: Martin Scorsese
Writer: Jay Cocks
Cast: Andrew Garfield, Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Ciarán Hinds
Release Date: N/A
Plot Synopsis: In the seventeenth century, two Jesuit priests face violence and persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and to spread the gospel of Christianity.

Pros: It's Scorsese. That's about all you really need to say about it's awards prospects.

Cons: None. If it's even mildly good, it'll make it.

Post Release Report: Strongly reviewed, but it was released so late that it essentially destroyed any potential momentum. Maybe in, but likely not.
People who added this item 323 Average listal rating (194 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 7.3

Director: Oliver Stone
Writers: Kieran Fitzgerald and Oliver Stone
Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Shailene Woodley, Nicolas Cage, Timothy Olyphant, Zachary Quinto, Melissa Leo, Tom Wilkinson
Release Date: September 16th
Plot Synopsis: CIA employee Edward Snowden leaks thousands of classified documents to the press.

Pros: It's a timely story from a three time oscar winner and an all-star cast. It also doesn't hurt that the film's distributor, Open Road Films, backed the most recent best picture winner, Spotlight.

Cons: The movie has been reshuffled twice, and was originally supposed to open last year. Plus, so much of Snowden's story has been told, how much will be left for this film?

Post-Release Report: Mixed reviews and sluggish box office are not a great combination. Not gonna happen.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 395 Average listal rating (282 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.4
Sully (2016)

Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Todd Komarnicki
Cast: Tom Hanks, Laura Linney, Aaron Eckhart, Anna Gunn
Release Date: September 9th
Plot Synopsis: On January 15, 2009, the world witnessed the "Miracle on the Hudson" when Captain "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) glided his disabled plane onto the frigid waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 aboard. However, even as Sully was being heralded by the public and the media for his unprecedented feat of aviation skill, an investigation was unfolding that threatened to destroy his reputation and his career.

Pros: Eastwood is coming off of his biggest movie to date with American Sniper (which also operated as a major comeback after a myriad of critical and financial disappointments), and Hanks is one of the more reliable stars out there. It's also doesn't hurt that it's a biopic of a modern hero.

Cons: There were a lot of detractors with Sniper, and before that he was on an incredible cold streak. Does this story, so recent with so much info that we already know, have enough to keep the streak going?

Post-Release Report: The reviews were solid-to-strong, and the box office was surprisingly stellar. When Clint's on his game, his movie's always have a shot. So, while it is on the fringe, it's certainly in the hunt.
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 100 Average listal rating (68 ratings) 7.8 IMDB Rating 8.2
13th (2016)
BradWesley123's rating:
People who added this item 182 Average listal rating (119 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.3

Director: Mike Mills
Writer: Mike Mills
Cast: Annette Bening, Greta Gerwig, Billy Crudup, Elle Fanning, Alia Shawkat
Release Date: December 21st
Plot Synopsis: The story of three women who explore love and freedom in Southern California during the late 1970s.

Pros: Mills broke out with 2011's oscar winner Beginners, and he's got some great elements here to follow it up with another hit. A strong cast, potentially daring material, and awards perennial Annapurna Pictures producing it.

Cons: Movies centered on predominantly female casts are always at a disadvantage, and even though Mills broke out with Beginners, it still didn't crack any major category outside of Supporting Actor.

Post Release Report: Very positively reviewed, but the film's got very little momentum. Maybe for an acting or script nod.
BradWesley123's rating:
Add items to section

And the Nominees Might Be...

People who added this item 749 Average listal rating (531 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
Spotlight (2015)
As of March 18th.

*Billy Lynn's Halftime Walk
*The Birth of a Nation
*La La Land
*Thank You for Your Service
*War Machine
*The Zookeeper's Wife
BradWesley123's rating:

Best Picture Nominees of the 89th Academy Awards
Hacksaw Ridge
Hell or High Water
Hidden Figures
La La Land
Manchester by the Sea

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