Wed. Dec 11th, 2019

2016 Oscars: BEST ACTOR Contenders (Gyllenhaal, Redmayne, Fassbender, Clooney, Cooper!)

Jake Gyllenhaal could blow up the Best Actor race in Southpaw
Jake Gyllenhaal could blow up the Best Actor race in Southpaw

Since it’s never to late to start predicting the Oscars, we begin with likely contenders for Best Actor. There’s a wealth of strong possibilities here in the form of Jake Gyllenhaal (for Demolition or Southpaw), Ben Foster (the Lance Armstrong biopic Icon) and newly crowned Best Actor winner Eddie Redmayne in what is sure to be a major player, The Danish Girl, in which he was plays one of the world’s first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery.

There’s also a trifecta of performances from Michael Fassbender that could make a dent in the race with Steve Jobs, the biopic written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Danny Boyle at the top. We could see Bradley Cooper earn his 4th nomination in as many years for Adam Jones from The Weinstein Company and two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks could rebound after his Captain Phillips snub in Steven Spielberg’s latest, St. James Place. Then there’s Bryan Cranston, who could be adding an Oscar to his Tony and Emmy collection with the feature version of Trumbo. As its early in the year, many films either haven’t been given a release date and some don’t even have a distributor yet so anything could change.

First Predictions:
Bradley Cooper, Adam Jones
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Jake Gyllenhaal, Southpaw or Demolition
Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl
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Antonio Banderas, The 33 (TBA)
Dir: Patricia Riggen. Writer: Jose Rivera, Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten, Michael Thomas. With Rodrigo Santoro, Martin Sheen, Juliette Binoche, Kate Del Castillo.
Thirty-three Chilean miners are trapped in a collapsed mine shaft for more than two months.

Javier Bardem, The Last Face (TBA)
Dir: Sean Penn. Writer: Eric Dignan. With Charlize Theron, Adele Exarchopoulos, Jean Reno.
A director (Charlize Theron) of an international aid agency in Africa meets a relief aid doctor (Javier Bardem) amidst a political/social revolution, and together face tough choices surrounding humanitarianism and life through civil unrest.

Jason Bateman, The Family Fang (Sony/Columbia)
Dir: Jason Bateman. Writer: David Lindsay-Abaire. With Nicole Kidman, Christopher Walken, Marin Ireland.
A brother and sister return to their family home in search of their world famous parents who have disappeared.

Warren Beatty, Untitled Warren Beatty Project (TBA)
Dir: Warren Beatty. Writer: Warren Beatty. With Lilly Collins, Annette Bening, Alden Ehrenreich, Alec Baldwin.
A story centered on an affair Howard Hughes had in the late years of his life with a younger woman.

Daniel Brühl, Colonia Dignidad (TBA)
Dir: Florian Gallenberger. Writer: Florian Gallenberger, Torsten Wenzel. With Emma Watson, Michael Nyqvist.
The Chilean coup of 1973. The masses are out on the street, protesting against General Pinochet. Amongst them, Daniel and Lena, a young German couple, which like many others, get arrested by Pinochet’s secret police DINA.

Vincent Cassel, The Tale of Tales (TBA)
Dir: Matteo Garrone. Writer: Matteo Garrone, Edoardo Albinati, Ugo Chiti, Massimo Gaudioso. With Salma Hayek, John C. Reilly, Tobey Jones.
An adaptation of the classic fairy tales of Giambattista Basile

Don Cheadle, Miles Ahead (TBA)
Dir: Don Cheadle. Writer: Don Cheadle, Steven Balgerman. With Ewan McGregor, Michael Stuhlbarg, Emayatzy Corinealdi.
An exploration of the life and music of Miles Davis.

Jason Clarke, Everest (Universal)
Dir: Baltazar Kolmakur. Writer: Simon Beaufoy. With Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Brolin, Keira Knightley, Sam Worthington.
A climbing expedition on Mt. Everest is devastated by a severe snow storm.

George Clooney, Hail, Caesar! (Universal)
Dir: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen. Writer: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen. With Josh Brolin, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum, Scarlett Johansson.
A Hollywood fixer in the 1950s works to keep the studio’s stars in line.

George Clooney, Money Monster (Sony/Columbia)
Dir: Jodie Foster. Writer: Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, Jamie Linder. With Jack O’Connell, Julia Roberts.
Lee Gates is a TV personality whose insider tips have made him the money guru of Wall Street. When Kyle loses all of his family’s money on a bad tip, he holds Lee and his entire show hostage on air threatening to kill Lee if he does not get the stock up 24 and a half points before the bell. Ratings soar as the entire country tunes in to this media frenzy to find out just how much a man’s life is worth. Meanwhile, the hostage situation sheds light on a possible scandal involving the company in question.

Bradley Cooper, Adam Jones (The Weinstein Company)
Dir: John Wells. Writer: Stephen Knight. With Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl, Omar Sy, Alicia Vikander.
A chef assembles a crew together in an attempt to create the best restaurant ever.

Bryan Cranston, Trumbo (Bleecker Street)
Dir: Jay Roach. Writer: John McNamara. With Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Diane Lane.
The successful career of Hollywood screenwriter, Dalton Trumbo, come to an end when he’s blacklisted in the 1940s for being a Communist.

Russell Crowe, Fathers and Daughters (TBA)
Dir: Gabriele Muchino. Writer: Brad Detsch. With Amanda Seyfreid, Aaron Paul, Jane Fonda, Octavia Spencer.
A Pulitzer-winning writer grapples with being a widower and father after a mental breakdown, while, 27 years later, his grown daughter struggles to forge connections of her own.

Russell Crowe, The Nice Guys (Warner Bros.)
Dir: Shane Black. Writer: Anthony Bagarozzi, Shane Black. With Ryan Gosling, Matt Bomer, Yaya DaCosta, Kim Basinger.
A private eye investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncovers a conspiracy.

Russell Crowe, The Water Diviner (Warner Bros.)
Dir: Russell Crowe. Writer: Andrew Knight, Andrew Anastasios. With Jai Courtney, Olga Kurylenko, Yilma Erdogan.
An Australian man travels to Turkey after the Battle of Gallipoli to try and locate his three missing sons

Billy Crudup, The Stanford Prison Experiment (TBA)
Dir: Kyle Patrick Alvarez. Writer: P.W. Hopsidor, Tim Talbott. With Ezra Miller, Ki Hong Lee, Michael Angarano, Tye Sheridan.
Twenty-four male students out of seventy-five were selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.

Benedict Cumberbatch, The Lost City of Z (Paramount)
Dir: James Gray. Writer: James Gray. With Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller.
In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned.

John Cusack, Love & Mercy (Roadside Attractions)
Dir: Bill Pohlad. Writer: Michael A. Lerner, Oren Moverman. With Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti.
The life of reclusive Beach Boys songwriter and musician Brian Wilson, from his successes with highly-influential orchestral pop albums to his nervous breakdown and subsequent encounter with controversial therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.

Matt Damon, The Martian (20th Century Fox)
Dir: Ridley Scott. Writer: Drew Goddard. With Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Chiwetel Ejiofor.
During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive.

Paul Dano, Love & Mercy (Roadside Attractions)
Dir: Bill Pohlad. Writer: Michael A. Lerner, Oren Moverman. With John Cusack, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti.
The life of reclusive Beach Boys songwriter and musician Brian Wilson, from his successes with highly-influential orchestral pop albums to his nervous breakdown and subsequent encounter with controversial therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.

Robert De Niro, The Intern (Warner Bros.)
Dir: Nancy Meyers. Writer: Nancy Meyers. With Anne Hathaway, Rene Russo, Nat Wolff.
A comedy about a fashion website that brings in an elderly intern.

Dane DeHaan, Life (TBA)
Dir: Anton Corbijn. Writer: Luke Davies. With Robert Pattinson, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley.
A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.

Dane DeHaan Tulip Fever (The Weinstein Company) 
Dir: Justin Chadwick. Writer: Tom Stoppard. With Alicia Vikander, Christoph Waltz, Jack O’Connell, Judi Dench.
A 17th century romance in which an artist falls for a married young woman while he’s commissioned to paint her portrait. The two invest in the risky tulip market in hopes to build a future together.

Johnny Depp, Black Mass (Warner Bros.)
Dir: scott Cooper. Writer: Scott Cooper. With Benedict Cumberbatch, Joel Edgerton, Sienna Miller, Corey Stoll.
The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant (20th Century Fox)
Dir: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu. Writer: Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, Mark L. Smith. With Tom Hardy, Will Pouter, Donhmall Gleeson.
The frontiersman, Hugh Glass, who in the 1820s set out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.

Chiwetel Ejiofor, The Secret in their Eyes (STX Entertainment)
Dir: Billy Ray. Writer: Billy Ray. With Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Brandon Jyrome Jones.
A retired legal counselor writes a novel hoping to find closure for one of his past unresolved homicide cases and for his unreciprocated love with his superior – both of which still haunt him decades later. American remake of the 2009’s Argentinian film

Michael Fassbender, The Light Between the Oceans (DreamWorks)
Dir: Derek Cianfrance. Writer: M.L. Stedman. With Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz, Anthoy Hayes.
A lighthouse keeper and his wife (Tom & Isabel) living off the coast of Western Australia raise a baby they rescue from an adrift rowboat. When the child is two years old, Tom & Isabel return to live on the mainland. There they discover that “there are other people in the world”, and keeping the child “has devastated one of them.”

Michael Fassbender, Macbeth (The Weinstein Company)
Dir: Justin Kurzel. Writer: Jacob Koskoff, Michael Leslie. With Marion Cotillard, Elizabeth Debicki, Sean Harris.
Spurred on by an eerie prophecy of the power he could gain if he were King, Macbeth, an army general, murders Duncan, the King of Scotland, and takes the throne. However, his guilt, and that of his wife, may prove to be their undoing.

Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs (Universal)
Dir: Danny Boyle. Writer: Aaron Sorkin. With Seth Rogen, Katherine Wasterson, Michael Stuhlbarg.
His passion and ingenuity have been the driving force behind the digital age. However his drive to revolutionize technology was sacrificial. Ultimately it affected his family life and possibly his health. In this revealing film we explore the trials and triumphs of a modern day genius, Steven Paul Jobs.

Colin Firth, Genius (TBA)
Dir: Michael Grandage. Writer: John Logan. With Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney, Dominic West, Guy Pearce.
A chronicle of Max Perkins’s time as the book editor at Scribner, where he oversaw works by Thomas Wolfe, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and others

Ben Foster, Icon (TBA)
Dir: Stephen Frears. Writer: John Hodge. With Guillaume Canet, Chris O’Dowd, Lee Pace, Dustin Hoffman.
An Irish sports journalist becomes convinced that Lance Armstrong’s performances during the Tour de France victories are fueled by banned substances. With this conviction, he starts hunting for evidence that will expose Armstrong.

Andrew Garfield, Silence (Paramount)
Dir: Martin Scorsese. Writer: Jay Crocks. With Liam Neeson, Adam Driver, Issei Ogata.
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.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, The Walk (TriStar)
Dir: Robert Zemeckis. Writer: Robert Zemeckis, Christopher Brown. With Ben Kingsley, James Badge Daley, Charlotte Le Bon.
The story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit’s attempt to cross the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in 1974.

Ryan Gosling, The Nice Guys (Warner Bros.)
Dir: Shane Black. Writer: Anthony Bagarozzi, Shane Black. With Russell Crowe, Matt Bomer, Yaya DaCosta, Kim Basinger.
A private eye investigates the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles and uncovers a conspiracy.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Demolition (Fox Searchlight)
Dir: Jean-Marc Vallée. Writer: Bryan Sipe. With Naomi Watts, Chris Cooper.
An investment banker struggling to understand his emotional disconnect after the tragic death of his wife begins to tear apart his life in a effort to see where he went wrong, is ultimately rescued by a woman he meets in a chance encounter.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Southpaw (The Weinstein Company)
Dir: Antoine Fuqua. Writer: Kurt Sutter. With Forest Whitaker, Rachel McAdams, Naomie Harris, Rita Ora.
A boxer fights his way to the top, only to find his life falling apart around him.

Tom Hanks, St. James Place (Dreamworks)
Dir: Steven Spielberg. Writers: Joel Coen & Ethan Coen. With Mark Rylance, Sebastian Koch, Bill Magnussen, Amy Ryan.
An American lawyer is recruited by the CIA during the Cold War to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.

Tom Hardy, Legend (Cross Creek Pictures)
Dir: Brian Helgeland. Writer: Brian Helgeland. With Emily Browning, Christopher Eccleston, Paul Anderson.
Identical twin gangsters Ronald and Reginald Kray terrorize London during the 1950s and 1960s.

Tom Hardy, Child 44 (Summit Entertainment)
Dir: Daniel Espinosa. Writer: Richard Price. With Noomi Rapace, Gary Oldman, Jason Clarke, Dev Patel.
Set in Stalin-era Soviet Union, a disgraced MGB agent is dispatched to investigate a series of child murders — a case that begins to connect with the very top of party leadership.

Jonah Hill, True Story (20th Century Fox)
Dir: Rupert Goold. Writer: Rupert Goold, David Kajganich. With James Franco, Felicity Jones, Gretchen Mol, Ethan Suplee.
The relationship between journalist Michael Finkel and Christian Longo, an FBI Most Wanted List murderer who for years lived outside the U.S. under Finkel’s name.

Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman on Earth (20th Century Fox)
Dir: Michael Gracey. Writer: Bill Condon.
The story of American showman P.T. Barnum, founder of the circus that became the famous traveling Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

Matthew McConaughey, The Sea of Trees (TBA)
Dir: Gus Van Sant. Writer: Chris Sparling. With Ken Watanabe, Naomi Watts, Katie Aselton. A suicidal American befriends a Japanese man lost in a forest near Mt. Fuji and the two search for a way out.

Matthew McConaughey, The Free State of Jones (STX Entertainment)
Dir: Gary Ross. Writer: Gary Ross.
Newton Knight, a soldier who flees the battlefields after being disillusioned by the horrors that touched his own family. On the run, he rallies the support of fellow deserters to lead an uprising against their former comrades, in the process creating a free safe haven.

Ewan McGregor, American Pastoral (TBA)
Dir: Phillip Noyce. Writer: John Romano. With Dakota Fanning, Jennifer Connelly.
Set in postwar America, a man watches his seemingly perfect life fall apart as his daughter’s new political affiliation threatens to destroy their family.

Ewan McGregor, Last Days of the Desert (TBA) 
Dir: Rodrigo Garcia. Writer: Rodrigo Garcia. With Tye Sheridan, Ayelet Zurer, Ciaran Hinds
An imagined chapter from Jesus’ forty days of fasting and praying in the desert. On his way out of the wilderness, Jesus struggles with the Devil over the fate of a family in crisis.

Ian McKellen, Mr. Holmes (Roadside Attractions)
Dir: Bill Condon. Writer: Mitch Cullin. With Laura Linney, Hiroyuki Sanada, Patrick Kennedy, Frances De la Tour.
An aged, retired Sherlock Holmes looks back on his life, and grapples with an unsolved case involving a beautiful woman.

Ben Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind (TBA)
Dir: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck. Writer: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck.With Ryan Reynolds, Sienna Miller, Alfre Woodard.
Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis, in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what’s been lost.

Jack O’Connell, Money Monster (Sony/Columbia)
Dir: Jodie Foster. Writer: Alan DiFiore, Jim Kouf, Jamie Linder. With George Clooney, Julia Roberts.
Lee Gates is a TV personality whose insider tips have made him the money guru of Wall Street. When Kyle loses all of his family’s money on a bad tip, he holds Lee and his entire show hostage on air threatening to kill Lee if he does not get the stock up 24 and a half points before the bell. Ratings soar as the entire country tunes in to this media frenzy to find out just how much a man’s life is worth. Meanwhile, the hostage situation sheds light on a possible scandal involving the company in question.

Jack O’Connell, ’71 (Roadside Attractions)
Dir: Yann Demange. Writer: Gregory Burke. With Sean Harris, Sam Reid, Paul Anderson.
A young and disoriented British soldier is accidentally abandoned by his unit following a riot on the deadly streets of Belfast in 1971.

Al Pacino, Danny Collins (Bleecker Street)
Dir: Dan Folgeman. Writer: Dan Folgeman. With Annette Bening, Christopher Plummer, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale.
An old letter written to him by John Lennon and Yoko Ono inspires an aging musician to live life differently, and he sets out to reconnect with his biological son.

Robert Pattinson, Life (TBA)
Dir: Anton Corbijn. Writer: Luke Davies. With Dane DeHaan, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley.
A photographer for Life Magazine is assigned to shoot pictures of James Dean.

Joaquin Phoenix, Irrational Man (Sony Pictures Classics)
Dir: Woody Allen. Writer: Woody Allen. With Emma Stone, Jmie Blackley, Parker Posey.
On a small town college campus, a philosophy professor in existential crisis gives his life new purpose when he enters into a relationship with his student.

Brad Pitt, By the Sea (Universal)
Dir: Angelina Jolie. Writer: Angelina Jolie. With Angelina Jolie, Melanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud.
A married couple in the south of France who become sexually obsessed with their neighbors.

Edgar Ramirez, Hands of Stone (TBA)
Dir: Jonathan Jakubowicz. Writer: Jonathan Jakubowicz. With Robert De Niro, Usher, Ana de Armas, Ellen Barkin.
The legendary Roberto Duran and his equally legendary trainer Ray Arcel change each other’s lives.

Robert Redford, A Walk in the Woods (TBA)
Dir: Ken Kwapis. Writer: Michael Arndt. With Emma Thompson, Nick Offerman, Mary Steenburgen.
After spending two decades in England, Bill Bryson returns to the U.S., where he decides the best way to connect with his homeland is to hike the Appalachian Trail with one of his oldest friends.

Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl (Focus Features)
Dir: Tom Hooper. Writer: Lucinda Coxon. With Alicia Vikander, Amber Heard.
The film is a fictionalized account of the life of Lili Elbe (previously known as Einar Wegener), one of the first people to undergo sex reassignment surgery and the relationship with Gerda, the wife.

Mark Ruffalo Spotlight (Open Roads Films)
Dir: Thomas McCarthy. Writer: Thomas McCarthy, Josh Singer. With Rachel McAdams, Michael Keaton, Stanley Tucci, Liev Schreiber.
The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Matthias Schoenaerts, A Bigger Splash (Fox Searchlight)
Dir: Luca Guadagnino. Writer: David Kajganich. With Tilda Swinton, Dakota Johnson, Ralph Fiennes.
An American couple, Paul and Marianne, spend their vacation in Italy and experiences trouble when the wife invites a former lover and his teenage daughter to visit, which leads to jealousy and dangerous sexual scenarios. A modern adaptation of Jacques Deray’s “La Piscine”

Matthias Schoenaerts, Galveston (TBA)
Dir: Janus Metz Pedersen. Writer: Nick Pizzolatto.
New Orleans hitman Roy Cady, was diagnosed with lung cancer at 40. Before the cancer can do him in, however, he has more pressing concerns in the form of his mobster boss, who has decided to remove him from the business – and the world – via a set-up. Turning the tables, he goes on the run having rescued teenage hooker Raquel “Rocky” Arceneaux. He’s persuaded to pick up her baby sister Tiffany, and with his new wards in tow, heads to his titular hometown to scheme revenge and redemption.

Michael Shannon, Midnight Special (Warner Bros)
Dir: Jeff Nichols. Writer: Jeff Nichols. With Joel Edgerton, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Driver.
A father and son go on the run after the dad learns his child possesses special powers.

Ben Stiller, While We’re Young (A24)
Dir: Noah Baumbach. Writer: Noah Baumbach. With Naomi Watts, Amanda Seyfreid, Adam Driver.
A middle-aged couple’s career and marriage are overturned when a disarming young couple enters their lives.

Gaspard Ulliel, Saint Laurent (Sony Pictures Classics)
Dir: Bertrand Bonnello. Writer: Bertrand Bonnello, Thomas Bidegain. With Jeremie Renier, Louis Garrel, Valeria Bruni Tedeschi, Lea Seydoux.
Yves Saint Laurent’s life from 1967 to 1976, during which time the famed fashion designer was at the peak of his career.

Hugo Weaving, Strangerland (TBA)
Dir: Kim Farrant. Writer: Michael Kinirons, Fiona Seres. With Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Taylor Ferguson.
Newcomers to the remote Australian desert town of Nathgari, Catherine and Matthew Parker’s lives are flung into crisis when they discover their two teenage kids, Tommy and Lily, have mysteriously disappeared just before a massive dust storm hits. It soon becomes apparent that something terrible may have happened to Tommy and Lily. Suspicions run riot, rumours spread and public opinion turns savagely against the Parkers.

 

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