Director: Christopher Nolan
Release Date: November 7
Matthew McConaughey continues his reinvigorated career in the latest from Oscar-nominated director Christopher Nolan. Also included in the star-studded cast are Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, and (of course) Michael Caine. From the trailer, we learn the film is set on a near-dystopian Earth where food has run out. The only way to save mankind is to find a new home elsewhere. Will it be plausible? Who knows, but I dare you to watch that trailer without getting chills. Just look how scared Anne Hathaway is.
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Release Date: December 5
Speaking of reinvigorated careers, Reese Witherspoon seems to be on the cusp of a second Best Actress statue in this adaptation of a memoir from Cheryl Strayed. Witherspoon plays Strayed, a woman struggling with the traumatic loss of her mother and an impending divorce. In an effort to recover, she embarks on a 1,100-mile hike. Witherspoon will not only get to stretch her acting abilities by appearing completely solo onscreen in the brutal outdoors, but also through the countless flashbacks we see in the trailer of Cheryl’s broken life. Could this be the movie of her career? I think yes.
Director: Bennett Miller
Release Date: November 14
Much to my surprise, an unrecognizable Steve Carell goes completely dark and dramatic in this chilling true story of John du Pont and his trainee Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum). The film, from director Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball), received rave reviews at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival that mostly praised Carell’s and Tatum’s transformative performances. And the trailer makes this very obvious, especially in the last few seconds.
Director: David Ayer
Release Date: November 14
Brad Pitt headlines this war film set in 1945 near the end of WWII. With a ragtag team of soldiers (Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, etc.), Pitt leads his men on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines. David Ayer (Training Day, End of Watch) is sure to bring the action once again, but I’m betting on the tragic performances from some pretty great actors.
Director: Angelina Jolie
Release Date: December 25
Adapted from the bestseller of the same name, Unbroken chronicles the true story of Olympic runner and WWII survivor Louis Zamperini. The biopic, directed by Angelina Jolie (In the Land of Blood and Honey) (Lol jk it’s Angelina Jolie), is sure to get awards voters talking before the film is even released. Zamperini’s incredibly epic and moving story is enough to get a swarm of nominations, including a few for relative newcomer Jack O’Connell who takes on the lead role.
Director: Richard Linklater
Release Date: July 18
This groundbreaking drama was filmed over a span of 12 years with the same cast, which includes Ethan Hawke, Ellar Coltrane (the titular “boy”) and Patricia Arquette. I mean, Coltrane is really going to age onscreen before our eyes over a long period of time in the course of one movie (that’s, like, cinematic history). Not only is that going to be quite a spectacle to behold, but it’s going to evoke so much nostalgia for our own childhoods and the tumultuous journey of growing up. (Translation: Bring tissues.)
7. Two Days, One Night
Director: Jean-Pierre Dardenne
Release Date: TBA
Director Jean-Pierre Dardenne once again works alongside Marion Cotillard (he was a producer for Rust and Bone) in this movie about a struggling working-class Belgian woman (Cotillard). It topped many of critics’ lists at Cannes this year for its earnest and relevant story of Sandra, a woman recovering from a stint of depression, who tries to convince her co-workers to give up their bonuses so she can keep her job. It could easily be nominated in the Best Foreign Film category, if only it finally had a US release date.
8. Gone Girl
Director: David Fincher
Release Date: October 3
David Fincher is the perfect fit to adapt Gillian Flynn’s 2012 best-selling novel of the same name. Just like his Girl with the Dragon Tattoo of 2011, this film will surely be dubbed the feel-bad movie of the year. With Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike as the unhappy married couple and a creepy role perfect for Neil Patrick Harris, this film will definitely be buzzed about come awards season. Not to mention that everyone and their mother is excited to see this dark and twisty story onscreen.
9. Magic in the Moonlight
Director: Woody Allen
Release Date: July 25 (limited), August 3 (everywhere)
Woody Allen’s latest is sure to bring the laughs yet again, and obviously the awards. If not for its prominent writer/director, than most definitely for Emma Stone in what’s sure to be her most charming role yet. In it she plays a self-proclaimed psychic who bewitches anyone she comes across (duh, it’s Emma Stone), including the Englishman (Colin Firth) in charge of debunking her. Blue Jasmine was quite the Oscar vehicle last year, and I’m sure Magic in the Moonlight will follow in its footsteps.
Director: Damien Chazelle
Release Date: October 10 (limited)
This little film about a nearly sadistic music teacher (J.K. Simmons) made quite an impression at Sundance this year, even earning the top audience and grand jury awards. Simmons has been praised for the performance of his lifetime, and star-in-the-making Miles Teller makes a splash as rising drummer Andrew. It may not make waves at the box office, but it likely will during awards season.