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2013 - A Hundred Films That Might Pique The Academy's Interest


  1. The Monuments Men (George Clooney)
      In a race against time, a crew of art historians and museum curators unite to recover renown works of art stolen by Nazis before Hitler destroys them. With a great story, and a cast like this (George Clooney, Matt Damon, Daniel Craig, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Cate Blanchett, Hugh Bonneville and Jean Dujardin), it will be definitely one of the most anticipated of 2013.
  2. The Wolf of Wall Street (Martin Scorsese)
      A New York stockbroker refuses to cooperate in a large securities fraud case involving corruption on Wall Street, corporate banking world and mob infiltration. The Scorsese-Dicaprio duo has an excellent track record, so no reason to NOT expect this one to be a masterpiece...or at least something like it.
  3. August : Osage County (John Wells)
      The Weston family overcomes certain differences when their alcoholic patriarch goes missing. Acting giants, movie stars, excellent source material, The Weinstein's hard to imagine anything going wrong here...although that's exactly what people said about Nine.
  4. The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann)
      Nick Carraway, a Midwesterner now living on Long Island, finds himself fascinated by the mysterious past and lavish lifestyle of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. He is drawn into Gatsby's circle, becoming a witness to obsession and tragedy. Although I still can't get my head around the Luhrmann+Gatsby+3D concept, as it is clearly a remarkably unexpected one, I have high hopes that 'unexpected' will result a masterpiece here.
  5. Captain Phillips (Paul Greengrass)
      The true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years. After a few recent misses, it seems like Tom Hanks will get his mojo back this year. Greengrass is a fantastic director and the premise definitely sounds intriguing.
  6. The Railway Man (Jonathan Teplitzky)
      A victim from World War II's "Death Railway" sets out to find those responsible for his torture. A true story. It sounds like something right up the Academy's alley and with Oscar winners, Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman at the front and Harvey Weinstein behind it, this could go a long way.
  7. Foxcatcher (Bennett Miller)
      The story of John du Pont, who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and killed Olympic wrestler David Schultz. Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) has an excellent track record and I'm fairly certain his winning streak won't end now, the material seems strong and Steve Carrell could be his third lead to make the cut in Best Actor.
  8. Inside Llewyn Davies (Joel & Ethan Coen)
      A singer-songwriter navigates New York's folk music scene during the 1960s. The Academy loves the Coen brothers, and this one definitely looks great, the first trailer was excellent, so let's just wait and see how it goes!
  9. Twelve Years a Slave (Steve McQueen)
      A man living in New York during the mid-1800s is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the deep south. Steve McQueen has been an unsung hero for a while now, delivering one masterpiece (Hunger) after another (Shame) but this could be finally the year he receives mainstream recognition...and seeing that several of THE most sought after actors (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Benedict Cumberbatch) lined up for this, I'm assuming the script was excellent.
  10. Saving Mr. Banks (John Lee Hancock)
      Author P.L. Travers travels from London to Hollywood as Walt Disney Pictures adapts her novel Mary Poppins for the big screen. A holiday release from Buena Vista directed by John Lee Hancock (The Blind Side), starring Tom Hanks as Walter Disney and Emma Thompson as Mary Poppins author, P.L. Travers ? If this makes money, it could be easily the crowdpleaser of the Oscar season.
  11. Rush (Ron Howard)
      A biography of Formula 1 champion driver Niki Lauda and the 1976 crash that almost claimed his life. Mere weeks after the accident, he got behind the wheel to challenge his rival, James Hunt. As with all biopics, it will come down to the lead performance, but the remarkably talented and (so far) remarkably underappreciated Daniel Brühl will most certainly deliver and with movie star Chris Hemsworth playing Hunt, this could be a solid BoxOffice hit, too.
  12. The Counselor (Ridley Scott)
      A lawyer finds himself in over his head when he gets involved in drug trafficking. Great cast ? Check. Great director ? Check. Great screenwriter ? Check.
  13. Labor Day (Jason Reitman)
      Depressed single mom Adele and her son Henry offer a wounded, fearsome man a ride. As police search town for the escaped convict, the mother and son gradually learn his true story as their options become increasingly limited. Jason Reitman's dramedies (Juno, Up in the Air) were big hits with the Academy, but when he went a bit darker (Young Adult), his efforts were ignored in spite of great reviews and a lauded lead performance from an Oscar winner. Labor Day sounds like a flat out drama, and with its esteemed cast led by Kate Winslet, it could be a real gem. Question is will the Academy care ?
  14. Serena (Susanne Bier)
      In Depression-era North Carolina, the future of George Pemberton's timber empire becomes complicated when it is learned that his wife, Serena, cannot bear children. The source material is very strong, Bier is a talented and acclaimed director and she couldn't have hotter leads than the Oscar nominated Silver Linings Playbook – duo, Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, so on paper this has everything a strong Oscar contender can ask for.
  15. The Butler (Lee Daniels)
      A White House butler served eight American Presidents over the course of three decades. Lee Daniels's follow-up to the critically acclaimed Precious, The Paperboy was a little seen, risky and divisive piece, but here he has a chance to appeal to Academy voters once again. The acting challenges this film offers including all the presidents and first ladies, could be easily enough to turn this into a must-see.
  16. Venus in Fur (Roman Polanski)
      An actress attempts to convince a director how she's perfect for a role in his upcoming production. It was a big hit on Broadway, but then again so was (God of) Carnage, so in the end it will come down to Polanski. Can his stage-to-film adaptation be more effective this time ? The very least we can expect two damn strong lead performances from Emmanuelle Seigner and Mathieu Amalric.
  17. Nebraska (Alexander Payne)
      An aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million dollar Publisher's Clearing House sweepstakes prize. It might not feature a big star like The Descendants, but by now Alexander Payne's name alone makes any film highly anticipated and it's not like he needs star power to deliver something utterly brilliant (Sideways).
  18. Devil's Knot (Atom Egoyan)
      The savage murders of three young children sparks a controversial trial of three teenagers accused of killing the kids as part of a satanic ritual. Egoyan has been hit and miss lately, but if he brings his A-game, the fascinating source material and the talented cast (Reese Witherspoon, Colin Firth, Mireille Enos) could easily turn this into one of the most riveting of 2013.
  19. Blue Jasmine (Woody Allen)
      Plot undisclosed. One of the Academy's favorite people, Woody Allen makes this automatically a contender, whether it will be Midnight in Paris or To Rome with Love in terms quality, time will tell. As always, the cast he assembled, is fantastic.
  20. Her (Spike Jonze)
      A lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with his newly-purchased operating system that's designed to meet his every need. This could be the quirky little indie critics fall in love with, and as far as awards go, having recently nominated actors in the lead roles (Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Rooney Mara) definitely won't hurt in the long run, either.
  21. Dallas Buyers Club (Jean-Marc Vallée)
      Loosely based on the true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, a drug taking, women loving, homophobic man who, in 1986 was diagnosed with full blown HIV/AIDS and given thirty days to live. He started taking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved AZT, the only legal drug available in the U.S, which brought him to the brink of death. To survive, he smuggled non-toxic, anti-viral medications from all over the world, but yet still illegal in the U.S. Other AIDS patients sought out his medications forgoing hospitals, doctors and AZT. With the help of his Doctor, Eve Saks and a fellow patient, Rayon, Ron unintentionally created the Dallas Buyers Club, the first of dozens which would form around the country, providing its paying members with these alternative treatments. The clubs, growing in numbers and clientele, were brought to the attention of the FDA and pharmaceutical companies which waged an all out war on Ron. "DBC" follows Ron Woodroof's personal fight to survive which lasted 2191 days when he died on September 12, 1992, six years after he was diagnosed with the HIV virus. If Matthew McConaughey (Ron Woodroof), Jennifer Garner (Eve Saks) and Jared Leto (Rayon) hit their baity roles out of the park, this will work. Jean-Marc Vallée showed promise with The Young Victoria, this could be his big break.
  22. Effie (Richard Laxton)
      A look at the mysterious relationship between Victorian art critic John Ruskin and his teenage bride Effie Gray. The fact that the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Sense & Sensibility, Emma Thompson penned it is an excellent start and it could be also the great role that finally allows Dakota Fanning to live up to the great potential she showed very early on in her career.
  23. Therese Raquin (Charlie Stratton)
      Therese and her lover Laurent murder Camille, Therese's husband. After marrying, the couple are visited by Camille's ghost, slowly turning their love for one another into an all-consuming hatred. Even though this is the feature debut of Stratton, the fact that he could attract such a promising cast including Elizabeth Olsen and acting legend Jessica Lange, indicates his take on this classic story was probably very convincing on paper.
  24. Diana (Oliver Hirschbiegel)
      The last two years of Princess Diana's life: her campaign against land mines and her relationship with surgeon Dr Hasnat Khan. Oliver Hirschbiegel had already directed a biopic focusing on the last chapter of the subject's life, but in that case (Der Untergang), the subject was the most hated figure of the 20th century, so it will be interesting to see whether he can manage to make a fascinating film when his subject is actually one of the most beloved people of the 20th century.
  25. Grace of Monaco (Olivier Dahan)
      The story of former Hollywood star Grace Kelly's involvement with Monaco's Prince Rainier III and France's Charles De Gaulle dispute over tax laws in the early 1960s. Olivier Dahan made a memorable biopic (La Mome), but the film's strongest suit wasn't his direction, it was the female lead's (Marion Cotillard) tour-de-force performance. As with all biopics, this will come down to the lead performance, as well, and since Nicole Kidman is one of the greatest working actresses today, I would say that even with controversy already ensuing, this film seems to be in good shape.
  26. Winter's Tale (Akiva Goldsman)
      A fantasy story set in 19th Century and present-day Manhattan and revolves around a thief, a dying girl, and a flying white horse. Oscar-winning screenwriters weren't that succesful with their directing debuts in recent years, having said that, the source material is intriguing and if we take just one look at the supporting cast that includes unexpectedly big names like Russel Crowe and Will Smith who rarely accept small roles, we might get the feeling that in the end, this might just be something glorious.
  27. The Fifth Estate (Bill Condon)
      A look at the relationship between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his early supporter and eventual colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and how the website's growth and influence led to an irreparable rift between the two friends. The Social Network comparisons are inevitable, and that might be a problem in the long run, because Fincher's underappreciated masterpiece sets the bar very high but on the positive side, if this gets anywhere near that level of filmmaking, it will be definitely one of the year's best.
  28. Philomena (Stephen Frears)
      A woman searches for her adult son, who was taken away from her decades ago when she was forced to live in a convent. Stephen Frears has a tendency to direct female acting giants's career-best performances (Helen Mirren in The Queen; Glenn Close in The Dangerous Liaisons) , not to mention it was his film that garnered Judi Dench one of her four Best Actress nominations (Mrs. Henderson Presents), so taking all this into account, Philomena is definitely a film to look forward to, especially because of the heartbreaking performance we can all expect from the great Judi Dench.
  29. Prisoners (Denis Villeneuve)
      A Boston man kidnaps the person he suspects is behind the disappearance of his young daughter and her best friend. Villeneuve directed a brilliant film a few years ago (Incendies) and if his English-language debut (?) is as great as that film was, then this Hugh Jackman-Jake Gyllenhaal starrer could be the next Mystic River as far as awards go.
  30. Runner Runner (Brad Furman)
      A businessman who owns an offshore gambling operation finds his relationship with his protégé reaching a boiling point. Both Brad Furman and Ben Affleck enjoyed recent career highs (The Lincoln Lawyer and Argo, respectively), so their collaboration definitely sounds promising, but as we all know, pedigree isn't always enough. Well, let's hope it will be just enough this time.


  1. Fruitvale (Ryan Coogler)
      The true story of Oscar, a 22-year-old Bay Area resident, who crosses paths with friends, enemies, family, and strangers on the last day of 2008. As the big winner of the Sundance Film Festival, this film was quickly snapped up by the Oscar-pro The Weinstein Company, so a strong campaign is definitely expected.
  2. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater)
      We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. It might be just wishful thinking from my part, but seeing the enthusiastic Sundance reviews, I'm hoping that the third part of this low-key and brilliant trilogy will be at least considered for a Best Picture nomination.
  3. The Way, Way Back (Nat Faxon & Jim Rash)
      Over the course of his summer break, a teenager comes into his own thanks in part to the friendship he strikes up with one of the park's managers. Sundance reviews were very favorable and Fox Searchlight struck gold with the Faxon-Rash duo's The Descendants in 2011, so this will be certainly one to watch out for.
  4. Ain't Them Bodies Saints (David Lowery)
      The tale of an outlaw who escapes from prison and sets out across the Texas hills to reunite with his wife and the daughter he has never met. Early word is excellent and the Oscar nominated leads (Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck) give it a fighting chance to NOT end up as an obscure, little seen masterpiece. Hopefully IFC will be able to deliver a viable Oscar campaign.
  5. The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (Ned Benson)
      A New York couple's relationship as told by the wife (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Hers) and husband (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: His). The concept of these two films sound exciting, daring and VERY risky. Of course there is a good chance it won't work, but if it does, it will be a masterpiece...or two.
  6. Can a song save your life ? (John Carney)
      A dejected music business executive forms a bond with a young singer-songwriter new to Manhattan. The writer-director of 'Once' making another music-oriented film AND cast Mark Ruffalo and Keira Knightley in the lead roles ? Count me in !
  7. To the Wonder (Terrence Malick)
      After visiting Mont Saint-Michel, Marina and Neil come to Oklahoma, where problems arise. Marina meets a priest and fellow exile, who is struggling with his vocation, while Neil renews his ties with a childhood friend, Jane. This premiered at last year's Venice Film Festival to mixed reviews, and the early release date won't do it any favors in the long run, either. Also – and I never thought I could say this – it could be overshadowd by TWO (!) other Malick films this year.
  8. Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick)
      A man, temptations, celebrity, and excess. Assuming Christian Bale is 'a man' from the very vague and brief synopsis, even if it will be divisive, the very least it could be a great acting showcase for him and the acclaimed supporting cast.
  9. Untitled Terrence Malick Project
      Two intersecting love triangles. Obsession and betrayal set against the music scene in Austin, Texas. Again, probably a great acting showcase even if it ends up dividing critics and audiences.
  10. The Young and Prodigious Spivet (Jean-Pierre Jeunet)
      A 12-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family's ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother and travels across the country on board a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute. Jeunet has the ability to achieve movie magic when the material is right, and based on the brief synopsis, I would say there is a good chance that the (moonrisekingdomesque) material IS right this time.
  11. Prince Avalanche (David Gordon Green)
      Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind. David Gordon Green had already won the prestigious Best Director Award at the Berlin Film Festival, so if it won't be quickly forgotten, it can be a solid contender in several main categories.
  12. Night Moves (Kelly Reichardt)
      A drama centered on three environmentalists who plot to blow up a dam. I can't wait to see what the great Kelly Reichardt (Meek's Cutoff) will do with such a controversial topic, and it will be also great to see Peter Sarsgaard, Dakota Fanning and Jesse Eisenberg in baity roles.
  13. Kill your darlings (John Krokidas)
      A murder in 1944 draws together the great poets of the beat generation: Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and William Burroughs. Another Sundance-hit and this one was acquired by the prestigious Sony Pictures Classics, so with a decent release date and proper critical support, it could have everything an indie contender can ask for.
  14. In a World... (Lake Bell)
      An underachieving vocal coach is motivated by her father, the king of movie-trailer voice-overs, to pursue her aspirations of becoming a voiceover star. Amidst pride, sexism and family dysfunction, she sets out to change the voice of a generation. To me, this was the most surprising Sundance-hit this year, it received unexpected rave reviews therefore could be the best indie comedy of 2013 and a strong player in Original Screenplay.
  15. The Spectacular Now (James Ponsoldt)
      Sutter Keely (Miles Teller) lives in the now. It’s a good place for him. A high school senior, charming and self-possessed, he’s the life of the party, loves his job at a men’s clothing store, and has no plans for the future. A budding alcoholic, he’s never far from his supersized, whisky-fortified thirst-master cup. But after being dumped by his girlfriend, Sutter gets drunk and wakes up on a lawn with Aimee Finicky (Shailene Woodley) hovering over him. She’s different: the “nice girl” who reads science fiction and doesn’t have a boyfriend. While Amy has dreams of a future, Sutter lives in the impressive delusion of a spectacular now, yet somehow, they're drawn together. Promising up and comers Miles Teller (Rabbit Hole) and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) have already won an acting award for this at the Sundance Film Festival, and critics seemed to love the film, as well, so if the tiny distributor (A24) can rise to the challenge of providing an effective awards campaign, the Academy might recognize this teen-oriented film, a type they usually avoid, case in point last year's wonderful The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
  16. The East (Zal Batmanglij)
      An operative for an elite private intelligence firm finds her priorities irrevocably changed after she is tasked with infiltrating an anarchist group known for executing covert attacks upon major corporations. Sundance-word is great, but the buzz seems to be fading already...and it's February.
  17. Los amantes pasajeros (Pedro Almodóvar)
      The plot is unknown but described as a light comedy that takes place almost entirely on an airplane. Not much is known about this one, but Almodóvar's name alone keeps it in consideration.
  18. You're Not You (George C. Wolfe)
      A drama centered on a terminally ill woman and the aimless young woman who becomes her caregiver. Ok, we get it, it will be a tearjerker, question is, a cliched, calculated one, or a more refined, intelligent version that doesn't only go for the cheap shots. For what it's worth, Hilary Swank tends to nail this type of roles and it would be great to see the feature-wise remarkably underused Emmy Rossum in a great role.


  1. Gravity (Alfonso Cuarón)
      Astronauts attempt to return to earth after debris crashes into their space shuttle, leaving them drifting alone in space. Cuarón directed one of the best sci-fi films in recent memory (Children of Men) so I have great faith that he will deliver something brilliant once again.
  2. Elysium (Neill Blomkamp)
      Set in the year 2159, where the very wealthy live on a man-made space station while the rest of the population resides on a ruined Earth, a man takes on a mission that could bring equality to the polarized worlds. When Blomkamp made his debut (District 9), the Academy took notice. If he proves himself NOT to be a one hit wonder, this could be the rare sci-fi that hits all the right notes for the Academy, and the fact that this time he has a star-studded cast including Matt Damon and Jodie Foster, can only help the film's already high profile.
  3. Stoker (Chan-wook Park)
      After India's father dies, her Uncle Charlie, who she never knew existed, comes to live with her and her unstable mother. She comes to suspect this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives and becomes increasingly infatuated with him. Early word from Sundance is very promising and even though genre films, especially ones with early release dates, rarely make an impact come Oscar-time, the acclaimed female performances might pull through.
  4. Only God Forgives (Nicolas Winding Refn)
      A Bangkok police lieutenant and a gangster settle their differences in a Thai-boxing match. Drive-reunion with Kristin my case.
  5. Trance (Danny Boyle)
      An art auctioneer who has become mixed up with a group of criminals partners with a hypnotherapist in order to recover a lost painting. Considering it is a genre film with an early release date, it probably won't be a big Oscar player, but nonetheless, it could be one of the memorable masterpieces of 2013, even if eventually one of the overlooked ones.
  6. A Most Wanted Man (Anton Corbijn)
      A Chechen Muslim illegally immigrates to Hamburg, where he gets caught up in the international war on terror. The premise is intriguing and the cast is top-notch, so whatever happens to this Oscar-wise, it definitely has the makings of a damn good thriller.
  7. Out of the Furnace (Scott Cooper)
      Two brothers live in the economically-depressed Rust Belt, when a cruel twist of fate lands one in prison. His brother is then lured into one of the most violent crime rings in the Northeast. An independent film like this would usually have a hard time making an impact, but this one can rely on the star-power of famous, highly acclaimed actors like Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson and Forest Whitaker.
  8. Lowlife (James Gray)
      An innocent immigrant woman is tricked into a life of burlesque and vaudeville until a dazzling magician tries to save her and reunite her with her sister who is being held in the confines of Ellis Island. James Gray has been hit-or-miss, although his Two Lovers was wonderful, so if he can deliver that level of brilliance here, this could be one of the most special love stories of 2013.
  9. Oldboy (Spike Lee)
      After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 20 years, an advertising executive is released, only to find that he must find his captor in 5 days. Remaking a cult classic is always risky business, but in the capable hands of someone like Spike Lee (Do the right thing), it might just work out perfectly.
  10. Carrie (Kimberly Peirce)
      A sheltered high school girl unleashes her newly developed telekinetic powers after she is pushed too far by her peers. Remaking a cult classic is always risky business, but in the capable hands of someone like Kimberly Peirce (Boys don't cry), it might just work out perfectly.
  11. The Third Person (Paul Haggis)
      Three interlocking love stories involving three couples in three cities: Rome, Paris, and New York. There was a time not even that long ago when Paul Haggis was a big Academy favorite and with the right project, he can be back in the Oscar-game in no time...question is, is THIS the one ?
  12. Star Trek : Into Darkness (J.J. Abrams)
      After the crew of the Enterprise find an unstoppable force of terror from within their own organization, Captain Kirk leads a manhunt to a war-zone world to capture a one man weapon of mass destruction. The predecessor was damn close to score a Best Picture nomination and if this one can actually improve on the already impressive first film darkknighstyle, it might just get another shot at Best Picture glory.
  13. Pacific Rim (Guillermo Del Toro)
      When an alien attack threatens the Earth's existence, giant robots piloted by humans are deployed to fight off the menace. Had it not been for the brilliant Guillermo Del Toro, I wouldn't have expected much from this based on the plot...but it IS a film from Guillermo Del Toro, so my expectations are obviously sky high.
  14. The Bling Ring (Sofia Coppola)
      Inspired by actual events, a group of fame-obsessed teenagers use the Internet to track celebrities' whereabouts in order to rob their homes. As one of the most interesting modern directors out there, Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring promises a unique cinematic experience, problem is it might be too hip and young for the Academy's taste. That, of course, doesn't mean it can't be excellent, it just means it will have probably a tough time piquing the Academy's interest.
  15. The Hobbit : The Desolation of Smaug (Peter Jackson)
      The Dwarves, Bilbo and Gandalf have successfully escaped the Misty Mountains, and Bilbo has gained the One Ring. They all continue their journey to get their gold back from the Dragon, Smaug. Even though fans came out in droves for the first part of the trilogy, critics weren't as enthusiastic whether it was due to the great expectations fueled by the iconic LOTR trilogy, we will never know. Still, there is a chance that after covering the obligatory introduction in the first part, the second chapter will be more enjoyable for critics and Academ voters.
  16. Side Effects (Steven Soderbergh)
      A young woman's world unravels when a drug prescribed by her psychiatrist has unexpected side effects. Reviews are favorable and if voters actually believe that this is Soderbergh's last film AND critics groups remember it at the end of the year, there is a small chance it will be a player, but taking everything into account, the genre and the remarkably early release date seem like damaging factors close to impossible to overcome.
  17. Oz : The Great & Powerful (Sam Raimi)
      A small-time magician with questionable ethics arrives in a magical land and must choose between becoming a good man or a great one. Sam Raimi who had considerable success with his Spider-man trilogy, could strike gold again, but even if financial success seems all but guaranteed, it is still up in the air whether it will be a film critics get behind or another Alice in Wonderland.
  18. Malavita (Luc Besson)
      The Manzoni family, a notorious mafia clan, is relocated to Normandy, France under the witness protection program, where fitting in soon becomes challenging as their old habits die hard. Robert De Niro back to his roots accompanied by the rarely seen Michelle Pfeiffer ? This has to be something REALLY good...
  19. Jack Ryan (Kenneth Branagh)
      Jack Ryan, as a young covert CIA analyst, uncovers a Russian plot to crash the U.S. economy with a terrorist attack. Every now and then, a quality thriller piques the Academy's interest, and even though the Jack Ryan franchise had been pure popcorn entertainment in the past, with Kenneth Branagh in the director's chair, it could be something much more this time around.
  20. About Time (Richard Curtis)
      As he goes through life, a young man who can travel through time learns his unique gift can't save him from the sorrows and ups and downs that affect all families, everywhere. Although the plot sounds familiar (The Time Traveler's Wife, also starring Rachel McAdams), I have faith in this one, mainly because the king of British crowdpleasers, Richard Curtis can easily make this not only a superior film to the one I've just mentioned, but it could be also a remarkably original, witty and unique take on the time travel genre.
  21. Man of Steel (Zach Snyder)
      A young journalist raised by his adoptive parents after he was transported to Earth in infancy from the dying planet of Krypton finds himself in the position to save humankind after Earth is attacked. To say that Zach Snyder failed to deliver a great film in recent years might be an understatement (Sucker Punch, anyone?), BUT he deserves the benefit of the doubt here, the first trailers looked great and of course Christopher Nolan's contribution – whatever it was – makes me hopeful that this team will finally get the Superman-universe right. Unfortunately, even if they do, the Academy still seems to be hellbent on ignoring comic book adaptations.
  22. Lone Ranger (Gore Verbinski)
      Native American spirit warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice. Reuniting Johnny Depp with his Pirates of the Caribbean director, Gore Verbinski, was definitely a great start and if somehow this film can overcome the western curse most recent films in the genre suffered at the Box Office (Django Unchained was hopefully not the exception, but the beginning of the rebirth of western), this could be a strong player in the technical categories, and frankly, I wouldn't be surprised to see Johnny Depp emerge as the frontrunner in Best Supporting Actor, either.
  23. Last Vegas (Jon Turteltaub)
      Three sixty-something friends take a break from their day-to-day lives to throw a bachelor party in Las Vegas for their last remaining single pal. Although it sounds like s slightly older version of The Hangover/Wild Hogs, whenever three acting legends like Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Morgan Freeman decide to team up, attention must be paid.
  24. World War Z (Marc Forster)
      A U.N. employee is racing against time and fate, as he travels the world trying to stop the outbreak of a deadly Zombie pandemic. Delays and reshoots are usually bad signs, but I really hope they will pay off this time.
  25. The Hunger Games : Catching Fire (Francis Lawrence)
      Katniss and Peeta's victory is cut short as the Quarter Quell puts them back into the Hunger Games for the second time. It is basically unheard of that a sequel gets Oscar-recognition when the predecessor didn't, but thanks to the very Academy-friendly release date, this actually has a shot to pull off that rare feat...problem is, Francis Lawrence has yet to deliver a film worthy of the kind of acclaim, Best Picture contenders usually receive.
  26. Thor : Dark World (Alan Taylor)
      Thor battles an ancient race of Dark Elves led by the vengeful Malekith who threatens to plunge the universe back into darkness after the events of The Avengers. I am rooting for this one, but if Kenneth Branagh couldn't deliver a Thor-film appealing to the Academy, I'm sure as hell Alan Taylor won't, either. That of course doesn't mean it won't be great fun.


  1. The Place Beyond The Pines (Derek Cianfrance)
      A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective. Reuniting Ryan Gosling with his Blue Valentine director couldn't be anything but an excellent decision, add Bradley Cooper to the mix, and we might just have our biggest 'small' film of the year.
  2. Mud (Jeff Nichols)
      Two teenage boys encounter a fugitive and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love. According to early word from last year's Cannes Film Festival, Jeff Nichols (Take Shelter) once again delivered an American masterpiece, question is, will critics at large agree with the handful of reviewers from last year ?
  3. What Maisie Knew (Scott McGehee & David Siegel)
      In New York City, a young girl is caught in the middle of her parents' bitter divorce. This modern take on the Henry James classic premiered to good reviews at the Toronto Film Festival last year, and critics put the emphasis on the impressive performances, so when all is said and done, the early release date and indie status might not work out, but at least an acting nomination could still happen.
  4. Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach)
      Frances (Gerwig) is a 27-year-old dancer who lives with her best friend Sophie (Sumner), but Sophie decides to move out and live with another friend, leaving Frances to figure out how to live her life. Another festival-leftover that was embraced by critics, but this year it could be too small and early to register in the Oscar-race.
  5. The Sapphires (Wayne Blair)
      It's 1968, and four young, talented Australian Aboriginal girls learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertain the US troops in Vietnam. Very early on last year, for a second there, it seemed like it will be the big Weinstein-film of 2012, but then it didn't get a release date. Could it still get a big push a year later ?
  6. Unfinished Song (Paul Andrew Williams)
      Grumpy pensioner Arthur honors his recently deceased wife's passion for performing by joining the unconventional local choir to which she used to belong, a process that helps him build bridges with his estranged son, James. British crowdpleasers about the elderly have been very succesful lately (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Quartet) and this seems to be in the same tradition, featuring heartbreakingly beautiful performances from Vanessa Redgrave and Terrence Stamp.
  7. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mira Nair)
      A young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street. He finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family's homeland. Expertly executed performances elevate the film, but that probably still won't be enough to convince voters that this belongs to the Oscar-race.
  8. At Any Price (Ramin Bahrani)
      A farming family's business is threatened by an unexpected crisis, further testing the relationship between a father and his rebellious son. Again, decent enough acting showcase, probably not decent enough film.


  1. Frozen (Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee)
      A mountain climber and a young girl named Anna journey through snowy peaks and dangerous cliffs to find the legendary Snow Queen and end the perpetual winter prophecy that has fallen over their kingdom. From the co-director of Tarzan, based on Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale, from Buena Vista.
  2. Monsters University (Dan Scanlon)
      A look at the relationship between Mike and Sulley during their days at the University of Fear -- when they weren't necessarily the best of friends. The sequel of the critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning Monsters, Inc., from Pixar (Buena Vista).
  3. Despicable Me 2 (Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud)
      Gru, the girls, Dr. Nefario and the unpredictably hilarious minions return, along with a host of new characters. The highly anticipated sequel of the 2010 critically acclaimed hit film, from Universal.
  4. Epic (Chris Wedge)
      A teenager finds herself transported to a deep forest setting where a battle between the forces of good and the forces of evil is taking place. She bands together with a rag-tag group characters in order to save their world -- and ours. Another Fox release, this one from the director of Ice Age and the Oscar-winning short Bunny.
  5. Turbo (David Soren)
      A freak accident might just help an everyday garden snail achieve his biggest dream: winning the Indy 500. From Dreamworks.
  6. The Croods (Kirk De Micco & Chris Sanders)
      The world's very first prehistoric family goes on a road trip to an uncharted and fantastical world. A Fox release from the co-director of How to train your dragon.
  7. Planes (Klay Hall)
      Dusty is a cropdusting plane who dreams of competing in a famous aerial race. The problem? He is hopelessly afraid of heights. With the support of his mentor Skipper and a host of new friends, Dusty sets off to make his dreams come true. From Buena Vista.
  8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (Cody Cameron & Kris Pearn)
      Flint Lockwood now works at The Live Corp Company for his idol Chester V. But he's forced to leave his post when he learns that his most infamous machine is still operational and is churning out menacing food-animal hybrids. From Sony.


  1. The First (Jennifer Delia)
      The life story of silent film star Mary Pickford, who co-founded the movie studio United Artists in 1919. Based on Eileen Whitfield's biography, "Pickford: The Woman Who Made Hollywood." Mary Pickford is one of the most fascinating actresses in the history of cinema, so it's great that someone finally decided to make a film about her, and the criminally underrated Lily Rabe will no doubt do wonders to the role. Question is, will it be ready for a 2013 release ? They have been making casting annoucnements for months now (Michael Pitt, Julia Stiles), so there IS a chance, even if not necessarily a big one.
  2. The Chaperone (Simon Curtis)
      Amid the backdrop of the tumultuous times of the early 1920s, the life of a Kansas woman is forever changed when she chaperones a beautiful and talented 15 year-old dancer named Louise Brooks to New York for the summer. One of them is eager to fulfill her destiny of silent film stardom; the other hopes to unearth the mysteries of her past. Oscar nominee Elizabeth McGovern is definitely in good hands here : the screenplay is written by her Oscar-winning Downton Abbey creator, Julian Fellowes, and the film is directed by her husband, Simon Curtis, who directed My Week with Marilyn, the film that scored Michelle Williams a Best Actress nomination.
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson)
      The troubles and tribulations of Mr. Gustave, who serves as the hotel's perfectly composed concierge. Wes Anderson had a great year with Moonrise Kingdom and 'Hotel' seems like another gem, but it's unlikely he would rush the production, although it is still perfectly conceivable it will be completed in time for a year-end release.
  4. Untitled David O. Russell / Abscam Project
      An FBI sting operation in the 1970s called Abscam leads to the conviction of United States Congressmen. As far as I know, they start filming soon, so if the post-production won't be lenghty, it MIGHT come out this year. For what it's worth, Russell is bringing back his Oscar winner (Christian Bale) and Oscar nominees (Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams) for this, and the fact that ALL signed on, indicates the material is very strong.
  5. Noah (Darren Aronofsky)
      The Biblical Noah suffers visions of an apocalyptic deluge, and takes measures to protect his family from the coming flood. I know, I know, there is a confirmed 2014 release date, I simply think that since they have already wrapped filming, it will be ready for test screenings the very least this year, and if those are succesful, it's hard to imagine the studio would give it a remarkably NOT Academy-friendly March release date for next year, when they can just arrange an Oscar-qualifying run as late as December and then still release it nationwide only in early 2014.
  6. A Quiet Passion (Terrence Davies)
      The story of American poet Emily Dickinson from her early days as a young schoolgirl to her later years as a reclusive, unrecognized artist. Terence Davies directed one of the most acclaimed female performances last year (Rachel Weisz in The Deep Blue Sea), and whenever this film will be released, one he once again directs and adapts, I'm sure he will be behind another great female turn for the ages. Cynthia Nixon's Oscar ticket ? Time will tell.
  7. Get Happy : The Life of Judy Garland (?)
      Well, the title says it all : the life of Judy Garland. It was announced almost four years ago (!) and that would usually mean it is stuck in development hell for eternity BUT with Anne Hathaway's probably first Oscar win on Sunday AND the Weinstein company behind it, I think it's safe to assume that interest in this project will be at an all-time high now sooner rather than later.
  8. Untitled Barbara Jordan Biopic (?)
      Whenever Viola Davis will make this one happen, will be the time she will be a damn strong Best Actress contender once again.
  9. Janis Joplin : Get it while you can (?)
      It's one of the great mysteries how popular leading lady Amy Adams (Enchanted, Sunshine Cleaning, Miss Pettigrew lives for a day, Julie & Julia, The Muppets, Trouble with the Curve, the upcoming Man of Streel) only scored Oscar nominations – four to be exact – for supporting performances. Well, this Janis Joplin biopic could be her ticket to Best Actress.
  10. Bridget Jones's Baby (Peter Cattaneo)
      Plot undisclosed (though the title kind of gives it away). After the almost universally panned sequel, clearly it isn't an obvious choice for awards consideration BUT people still remember fondly of the first film, a film that is now in cult-status, and with the Oscar nominated director of Full Monty at the helm, it might just turn out to be a great British comedy, just like the first one.

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