2014 Oscar Frontrunners

We are still several months away from the 2014 Academy Awards, but it’s never to early for predictions.photo(4)

2013 hasn’t churned many memorable films yet, but everybody knows the best is usually saved for crunch time. Multiple projects are currently in the works, or being touched up for winter release.

For now this is pure speculation, but here are some titles that caught my attention as we get closer to the Oscars.

1. American Hustle (December 25, 2013)

David O. Russell is back with “American Hustle” and he’s bringing along his good luck charm, Jennifer Lawrence. The 22 year old actress was recently named the second highest paid actress in Hollywood, netting roughly $28 million. Russell found immense success with Lawrence in the lead of his popular film “Silver Linings Playbook,” which won Lawrence her second Oscar. “American Hustle” is a story about a con artist and his partner in crime, who were forced to work with a federal agent to turn the tables on other cons, mobsters, and politicians – namely, the volatile mayor of impoverished Camden, New Jersey.

The film has a star studded cast that includes, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Robert De Niro, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Michael Peña, and Louis C.K. On paper this has all the makings of an Oscar run.

2. The Wolf of Wall Street (November 15, 2013)

Martin Scorsese returns to the big screen with his highly anticipated film, “The Wolf of Wall Street.” This film has already been publicized heavily, and when Scorsese is at the helm, the expectations are usually met or exceeded. Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

The cast once again take precedent here. Scorsese has paired up with Leonardo DiCaprio yet again, as he did with De Niro for years. The combination has worked well, and the results are Oscar worthy. Along with DiCaprio you can expect to see names like Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Jon Bernthal, and Jon Favreau. Could DiCaprio finally win an Oscar for his role as Jordan Belfort?

3. The Monuments Men (December 18, 2013)

This is George Clooney’s baby. He directs, co-produces, writes, and acts in “The Monuments Men.” In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renowned works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them.

If Clooney’s fingerprints weren’t good enough, the movie also has stars like Matt Damon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and John Goodman. Clooney has been incredibly successful in transforming his career from TV to movies. He is now producing more, and finding his way into projects that matter.

4. Saving Mr. Banks (December 20, 2013)

It’s not the Oscars without Tom Hanks. John Lee Hancock directs this one, and Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney. If that doesn’t scream Oscar potential, I don’t know what will. Author P. L. Travers reflects on her difficult childhood while meeting with filmmaker Walt Disney during production for the adaptation of her eponymous novel.

Joining Hanks in this interesting plot are, Paul Giamatti, Colin Farrell, and Emma Thompson playing the lead role of P.L. Travers.

 5. August: Osage County (January 2, 2014) 

Meryl Streep has been nominated for 17 Oscars, and won three times; could this be her fourth? John Wells directs this huge cast. A look at the lives of the strong-willed women of the Weston family, whose paths have diverged until a family crisis brings them back to the Oklahoma house they grew up in, and to the dysfunctional woman who raised them.

Along with Streep, big names like Julia Roberts, Chris Cooper, Ewan McGregor, and several others will take over the screen.

Outside Looking In:

Fruitvale Station: I can honestly say if the Oscars started today,” Fruitvale Station” would lead the pack. Fruitvale received high accolades at the Sundance Film Festival, and Octavia Spencer (The Help) outdoes herself yet again in the film. Many of you are familiar with the Oscar Grant story; a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008.The film is directed by Ryan Coogler…. who? It’s his directorial debut, and he absolutely owns it with this film. *In theaters now*

Inside Llewyn Davis (December 6, 2013): Anytime a film is directed by the Coen brothers, you immediately associate them with the Oscars. A singer/song-writer navigates New York’s folk music scene during the 1960s. A strong cast led by Carey Mulligan, Justin Timberlake (who might even host the event) and John Goodman, should propel this movie forward.

12 Years A Slave (October 18, 2013) : Directed by Steve McQueen, and led by Brad Pitt, should see some Oscar buzz depending on how things shape up. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Other to keep your eye on include:

Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen, In Theaters)

Lee Daniels’ The Butler (Lee Daniels, August 16)

Rush (Ron Howard, September 20)

Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, In Theaters)

Mud (Jeff Nichols, In Theaters)

The Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallee, December 6)

All Is Lost (JC Chandor, October 25)

Labor Day (Jason Reitman, December 25)

Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper, October 4)

The Counselor (Ridley Scott, November 15)

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom (Justin Chadwick, November 29)

The Fifth Estate (Bill Condon, November 15)

Nebraska (Alexander Payne, November 22)

The Past (Asghar Farhadi, TBA)

The 86th Academy Awards are set to air on March 2, 2014. The late start will allow for the completion of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. ABC will be broadcasting the biggest night for Hollywood.

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