For many people scattered across the country, the fall means more mild weather and football of all varieties. But to movie lovers everywhere, the fall means the first big step in the long awards season race to the Oscars. Here's my first look at the fall releases we all should keep an eye on.
Black Mass - Starring Johnny Depp & Benedict Cumberbatch
Crazy Heart and Out of the Furnace director, Scott Cooper, unveil the first intriguing film of the season on September 18th. Black Mass stars Johnny Depp as Whitey Bulger, one of America's most notorious violent criminals who ran the streets of south Boston and turned into an informant when a rival mafia family tried invading his turf. Although Oscar prospects seems very slim, if anything, Black Mass is too high profile of a film to ignore. (September 18th)
Everest - Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Jason Clarke & Josh Brolin
Also arriving this September, Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur (2 Guns and Contraband) delivers what could be one of the most magnificent visual films of the year with the true story, Everest. An enormously star-studded and talented cast unearths the 1996 expedition up the mountain that was devastated by a catastrophic blizzard. Oscar hopes seem slim at this point, but some visual effects awards could be a possibility if this movie crushes with the thrills. (September 25th)
Steve Jobs - Starring Michael Fassbender, Seth Rogen & Kate Winslet
Despite feeling like an overused bit of source material, especially after the 2013 snooze-fest Jobs wasn't all that long ago, having Slumdog Millionaire and 127 Hours auteur, Danny Boyle, and Academy Award winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin should alleviate any concerns. Michael Fassbender stars in the title role as Apple's visionary, Steve Jobs. The film could find potential Oscar suitors in Fassbender (Actor), Seth Rogen (Supporting Actor), Kate Winslet (Supporting Actress), Boyle (Director), Sorkin (Adapted Screenplay) and an overall Best Picture. (October 9th)
Bridge of Spies - Starring Tom Hanks & Alan Alda
This October acclaimed filmmaker, Steven Spielberg, and Tom Hanks are at it again. This time, the duo are tackling the Cold War. Hanks stars as an American lawyer recruited by the CIA to help negotiate with the Soviets during the Cold War to retrieve a detained pilot. There could be plenty of Oscar implications for Bridge of Spies including Hanks (Actor), Spielberg (Director) and, of course, Best Picture. (October 22nd)
Suffragette - Starring Carey Mulligan, Meryl Streep & Helena Bonham Carter
Unfortunately, every year there are only a handful of female-centered films that generally fill out the Actress categories. And this year, you can tell by the title that Suffragette will be one of those films. Carey Mulligan stars as a mother who joins the early women's movement working aggressively to gain their right to vote. Mulligan could very well end up in the Best Actress race while early word has Helena Bonham Carter as the top Support Actress, although you can never count Streep out of any race. Also, there's an outside chance of Sarah Gavron landing as a finalist in the Director's category. (October 23rd)
Miles Ahead - Starring Don Cheadle & Ewan McGregor
Although no trailer has been debuted, Don Cheadle's passion project, Miles Ahead, finds the gifted performer atop the director's chair and a co-writer as well. Cheadle takes center stage as famous Jazz musician Miles Davis. While little is known about the film, it did garner a highly coveted premiere at the New York Film Festival on October 10th. Keep a lookout for what the early response is, because many insiders believe Miles Ahead could be a huge player this awards season.
The Program - Starring Ben Foster & Chris O'Dowd
Underrated talents Ben Foster and Chris O'Dowd headline the gripping true story from Philomena director Stephen Frears, The Program. Foster stars as renowned cyclist Lance Armstrong, who went from cancer survivor to Tour de France sensation all while battling accusations of cheating. Eventually, it was an Irish reporter (O'Dowd) whose persistence ultimately discovered the shocking truth behind Armstrong's tainted success. The Program is currently an underdog in the the awards season circus, but I have a feeling this one could become a viable contender after its France release on September 16th.
Honorable Mention: On October 2nd a pair of intriguing titles will find their way to the big screen. Ridley Scott's epic sci-fi, The Martian, starring Matt Damon has a very distant chance at receiving some recognition considering Scott's history, and the same-sex drama, Freeheld, featuring last year's Best Actress winner, Julianne Moore, and her onscreen partner, Ellen Page.
Forrest Gump director, Robert Zemeckis, returns on October 9th with the biopic, The Walk, which finds Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the role of French high-wire enthusiast, Philippe Petit, who schemed a daring attempt to walk across the World Trade Center in 1974.
And finally, October 16th marks the release of two more films worth knowing. Room starring Brie Larson as a mother held captive in a single room for years with her son as she tries to raise him as normal as she can all while plotting their escape from captivity, and Truth finds Robert Redford in the role of news anchor Dan Rather in a look at his final days on air before broadcasting a false report that cost him his boss (Cate Blanchett) their jobs.
*** Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Oscar preview coming tomorrow