It’s almost October, which means Halloween decorations in the stores, and a revival of interest in the Academy Awards, since they are . . . well, five months away. (February 22, 2015, to be exact.) Numerous stories and websites are already buzzing, like the one here or here, with predictions of which titles are likely, (mostly) sight unseen, to get Oscar nominations. It’s easier, of course, to evaluate this sort of thing after seeing the movie, so here’s a round-up of when we in Seattle might be seeing the most-buzzed titles. (Note that movie dates move around a lot, but this is accurate as of the best of my knowledge today. If I’ve left out something you’re curious about, ask in the comments.)
Oct. 3: “Gone Girl.” I’ve seen this one. Realistic Oscar talk? Sure.
Oct. 24: “Birdman.” Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s latest, about a has-been actor (Michael Keaton) trying to stage a Broadway play, has great word-of-mouth, a powerhouse cast, and just sounds pretty swell.
Oct.31: “Whiplash.” I’ve seen this one too; expect lots of well-deserved awards talk for J.K. Simmons, a longtime character actor who gets the role of a lifetime here.
Nov. 7: “Interstellar.” It’s Christopher Nolan, and something to do with outer space, and a dream cast, and . . . . well, just show it to us already.
Nov 14: “The Theory of Everything.” Eddie Redmayne plays Stephen Hawking in a performance that was the talk of the Toronto Film Festival.
Nov. 21 (or maybe a week or two later): “The Imitation Game.” This year’s requisite Posh Period Film Starring People Like Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley During the War is actually . . . well, pretty great.
Dec. 5: “Wild.” Reese Witherspoon goes hiking . . . and, based on what I hear, finds an Oscar nomination.
Dec. 12: “Inherent Vice.” Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest . . . and, apparently, the first film ever made from a Thomas Pynchon novel. Color me intrigued. Also opening on this date: “Top Five,” Chris Rock’s film about a comedian — and the subject of the biggest bidding war at TIFF.
Dec. 19: “Foxcatcher.” Saw this one (a dark, based-on-a-true-story drama from Bennett Miller) at TIFF; still haunted by it. Wonderful work from Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum, and a fake-nosed Steve Carell. (Hey, it worked for Nicole Kidman.)
Dec. 25: Big day for big movies: the musical “Into the Woods” (Meryl Streep sings!), Angelina Jolie’s war drama “Unbroken,” Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper” with Bradley Cooper, and Ava DuVernay, who made the lovely “Middle of Nowhere” a couple of years back, returns with a much bigger canvas: the historical drama “Selma,” about the civil rights movement.
Likely in Seattle in early 2015, but Oscar-eligible for this year: “Still Alice,” with Julianne Moore as a woman coping with Alzheimer’s disease; Tim Burton’s “Big Eyes,” J.C. Chandor’s thriller “A Most Violent Year,” and Timothy Spall in a star turn in Mike Leigh’s “Mr. Turner.”
Already come and gone: As always, not many award-worthy films screen early in the year, but don’t discount Richard Linklater’s beautiful “Boyhood” (still playing locally at several theaters) and Wes Anderson’s delightful “The Grand Budapest Hotel” (now on DVD/streaming).
Did I miss anything? Let me know.