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This Year’s Oscar Game Changers

Every year there are a few films that surprise audiences and critics alike and in return they receive that much needed momentum that gives them an edge during awards season.

It is November already and believe it or not, but we are almost back in Oscar season!  There are only two months left for films to set a premiere date in order to be eligible for this year’s Oscars yet we still have a lot of mystery floating around.  Ben Affleck’s Argo holds the momentum at the moment, however the frontrunner in the fall almost never holds the lead until February.  As a result, that makes the films that premiere in late November and December that much more important in the Oscar race.  Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit and Tom Hooper’s Les Mis could be huge successes, yet both also the potential to be huge disasters, which is why I am here to give you a few films that have been flying under the radar.

Here’s a list of a few films that have not been given much attention but definitely have the ability to steal the show at this year’s Oscars:


This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Bond franchise.  Combine that with an international cast and an innovative director and you have a major success story!  Although the Oscars have never favored this type of movie in the past it is possible that they might give action films a chance, especially ones that star Dame Judi Dench.  If all else fails, you can expect to see Skyfall pick up a nomination for Best Original Song for Adele’s handiwork.  The film is already soaring at the international market so when the film hits the US next week we will have a better idea of how much of a shot this one has.

Skyfall premieres November 9th, and stars Daniel Craig, Javier Bardem, and Naomie Harris.


A period piece and a biopic?  This has Oscar bait written all over it!  Don’t get me wrong though, this is Oscar bait at its finest.  After his superb work on the documentary, Anvil: The Story of Anvil, director/writer Sacha Gervasi returns to the big screen to bring one of the world’s greatest directors back to life.  Based on Stephen Rebello’s novel, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho, the film will bring viewers behind the scenes for a look at Hitchcock’s antics and an insight into his wife’s life as well.  The Oscars have always loved movies about movies (i.e. The Artist winning Best Picture earlier this year) which bodes very well for this film.  From the looks of the trailer, a few acting nominations are certainly possible and a screenplay nod is almost definite!

Hitchcock hits theaters later this year and stars Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and Sacrlett Johansson.

Zero Dark Thirty

This is perhaps the most mysterious film on the list.  After the monumental success of Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker the first female director to ever win an Oscar returns to her comfort zone to recount the mysterious killing of Osama bin Laden.  It is uncertain how much information the SEAL Team 6 has given to Bigelow, but judging from her track record this will be a gritty, realistic account of this historical event.  The past two years have not seen a woman nominated for a Best Director Oscar which might mean that they will give another nomination to their golden girl, Bigelow.  Technical awards should come into play, and, if the rumors are true, Jessica Chastain should shake up the Best Actress category for her performance in this film.

Zero Dark Thirty hit theaters later this year and stars Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, and Chris Pratt.

The Impossible

A disaster movie is not the first thing that comes to mind when discussing the Oscars, however this one is a bit different than The Day After Tomorrow or 2012.  Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage) drifts away from the horror genre and gives us a more sentimental side to himself.  The Impossible gives a fictional account of a family caught in the midst of the disastrous 2004 tsunami.  Some have attacked the film for being overly sentimental, however it may pull on the just the right heartstrings in order to swing the Oscar vote in its favor.  Also, with an unusually weak acting field for actresses, Naomi Watts could grab a well-deserved nod.

The Impossible hit theaters later this year and stars Naomi Watts, Ewan McGregor, and Tom Holland.

Promised Land

Remember when Gus Van Sant and Matt Damon teamed up and made one of the greatest movies of the 90s?  I sure do!  Since Good Will Hunting, Damon has been majorly successful while Sant has been a bit of hit and miss.  Maybe this collaboration will be the creative energy that Sant needs to reignite his career.  Promised Land brings audiences to small town America where the debate over natural gas is raging.  Recently the Oscars have favored films set in the past (i.e. The King’s Speech and The Artist) so this contemporary topic may be the change the Oscars want.  An acting nod could be in the works for Damon, and maybe even a directorial nod for Sant.

Promised Land hits theaters later this year and stars Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, and John Krasinski.

The Best Picture is more illusive than ever with the number of nominees ranging from 5-10, therefore predicting which films will make the cut is pretty difficult.  Any of these films has a shot at making the cut so keep an eye out for them!  Happy moviegoing!


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