5 Upcoming Films That Will Dominate The Awards Circuit

It’s about that time of year. We’ve entered the fall season, and the festival darlings and award circuit favorites are starting to trickle into theaters. A few possible major awardsw contenders like Queen Of Katwe, The Birth Of A Nation, and even The Jungle Book have already been released this year. But here are five films we haven’t seen yet that are expected to factor into Oscars season in a major way.

Film Poster: La La Land

Film Poster: La La Land

La La Land (Damien Chazelle)

La La Land, in some people’s eyes, is starting to run away with the frontrunner position for Best Picture at the 2017 Oscars. One site that posts regular predictions for these things claims that 16 out of 23 experts from major media outlets are backing the film for the Academy’s top prize. But what is it, exactly? La La Land is being called a modern romance musical, and tells the story of a young, artistic couple falling in love in L.A. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist, and Mia (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress when the two meet and strike up a life together. Some fans may recall that these two had pretty good chemistry already in the romantic comedy Crazy, Stupid, Love, and from the look of things that chemistry is probably the most important element in this being a great film. It’s set for a release this December.

Film Poster: Manchester by the Sea

Film Poster: Manchester by the Sea

Manchester By The Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)

It was just a few years ago that Ben Affleck burst forth as a higher caliber of actor and filmmaker than many believed him to be. At the 2013 Oscars, his pet project, Argo, was considered for numerous awards, and ultimately won Best Picture (even if Affleck himself was snubbed for Best Director). Now, it appears to be Casey Affleck’s turn. He didn’t direct Manchester By The Sea, but he’s the star of a film that’s expected to be an absolute powerhouse when it’s released in November. A straightforward story about an uncle who assumes guardianship of his nephew when the boy’s father dies, it looks like a deeply human drama that will be Casey Affleck’s best opportunity to date to showcase his under appreciated talents.

Film Poster: Loving

Film Poster: Loving

Loving (Jeff Nichols)

This film won’t be released until November 4, but it’s already generating some buzz. Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga will play Richard and Mildred Loving, a real couple from history that helped to turn the tide against the banning of interracial marriage. The two were sentenced to jail time in the late-’50s merely for getting married, but ultimately prevailed in the Supreme Court case of Loving v. Virginia. The film was already among the highlights at the Cannes Film Festival, and may also have an edge at the Oscars because of the current social climate. Racial tensions have been under the spotlight for much of 2016, and the Academy could make a strong statement by awarding a film that celebrates a historical milestone for equality.

Film Poster: Moonlight

Film Poster: Moonlight

Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)

Moonlight seems like a little bit of a dark horse because it doesn’t have the heavyweight names behind it that some of these other films can boast. But as we get closer and closer to its late-October release, the film seems to be coming up more in conversations about awards season. We don’t actually know too much about the plot other than that it will revolve around a young African-American man coping with the struggles of coming out and growing up in a rough Miami neighborhood. Mahershala Ali and Naomie Harris are probably the most recognizable names in the cast of what should be a powerful and emotional film.

Film Poster: Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

Film Poster: Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (Ang Lee)

When this story first debuted as a novel by Ben Fountain, it captured the attention of a huge number of American readers. It tells the story of a group of soldiers brought home from Iraq to be celebrated for acts of valor before being re-deployed. Joe Alwyn will star as the titular lead, headlining a surprising cast that includes Vin Diesel, Kristen Stewart, Garrett Hedlund, and Steve Martin. There have actually been some concerns that the trailer shows a tone that differs drastically from that of the book—which was ultiamtely an examination of how Americans often celebrate and ignore war heroes simultaneously—but it’s still expected to be in the mix for major awards.

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