"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri": October Oscar predictions                "Get Out" leads the Gotham Award nominations                'Blade Runner 2049,' 'The Disaster Artist' to be Honored at Hollywood Film Awards                Hollywood Contenders – Looking at Best Original Screenplay hopefuls                Todd Haynes explores the world of children with "Wonderstruck"                MUDBOUND and COCO to be Honored at Hollywood Film Awards                "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" pairs Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman once again                "Wonder Wheel" closes NYFF with a commanding Kate Winslet turn                Sam Rockwell and Allison Janney to Receive Hollywood Supporting Actor and Hollywood Supporting Actress Awards at "Hollywood Film Awards"                Hollywood Contenders – Looking at Best Adapted Screenplay hopefuls                "Breathe" aims to return Andrew Garfield to Oscar contention                Mary J. Blige, Timothée Chalamet and the Cast of "I, Tonya" - Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Paul Walter Hauser to be honored at the 21st Annual "Hollywood Film Awards."                New Trailer drops for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi"                "Goodbye Christopher Robin" reveals the origins of Winnie the Pooh                Hollywood Contenders – Looking at Best Supporting Actress hopefuls        

2015 releases to look forward to

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Happy New Year! With 2014 now just a memory, we turn our attention to 2015 and what cinematic treasures the next 12 months will hold. Between now and the end of January we’ll have all manner of films hitting screens, from franchise reboots to sequels, with the occasional original property thrown in for good measure. Of course, there’s plenty of Oscar hopefuls in the mix as well, as you might imagine. There are untold amounts of independent awards contenders that we don’t even know exist yet, so it’s impossible to guess what will hit as this moment, but speculation is always welcome. As such, I’ll be going over a bunch of the 2015 releases worth being excited about, with just about all of them potential Academy Award players. Enjoy!

Here now are a sampling of the films to be excited about this year, separated by category:

Indies – The problem with trying to speculate about indies is you never know what’s going to happen with distribution. For example, we have a Terrence Malick film in Knight of Cups that presumably will come out this year, but we’ve been fooled by his potential release dates before. There’s also at least one Kevin Smith film to look forward to (the teen centric action comedy Yoga Hosers), though he shoots so quickly these days there might be more than one. Notable as well is Richard Linklater’s follow up to Boyhood, the spiritual sequel to Dazed and Confused that is That’s What I’m Talking About. Matthew McConaughey also looks for another Oscar nomination in Gus Van Sant’s Sea of Trees, and that’s just a small sample.

Prestige players – These are the ones that even a year out, you can clearly see want to be embraced by the Academy. First and foremost, we have film masters in Martin Scorsese (Silence), Steven Spielberg (Untitled Cold War Spy Thriller, which stars Tom Hanks), and Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight), and that doesn’t even include the now Oscar darling that is David O. Russell (Joy). There’s also another directorial outing by Angelina Jolie (By the Sea), one that stars her and hubby Brad Pitt. There are tons more but two others worth mentioning are Jake Gyllenhaal’s attempt to win an Academy Award by teaming up with Jean-Marc Valle (Demolition) and the Steve Jobs biopic (Jobs). Expect at least a few of these to wind up getting Best Picture nominations.

Sequels – What year is complete these days without a glut of sequels? There are four huge ones in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jurassic World, Spectre (the new James Bond outing), and of course Star Wars: The Force Awakens. There’s also the long delayed Mad Max: Fury Road, as well as literally more than a dozen others that I could mention, but one that might come out and actually really has my interest is the aforementioned Smith’s sequel Clerks III. My fingers are crossed that we see that one hit at the end of 2015.

Studio Non Sequels – This last grouping is just a handful of things from the big studios that seem poised to do very well, potentially opening the door for awards to come their way. Pixar has two bites at the apple with The Good Dinosaur and Inside Out, while Disney has a big original property to debut with Tomorrowland. Judd Apatow is back in the director’s chair with the Amy Schumer vehicle Trainwreck, while Robert Zemeckis teams with Joseph Gordon-Levitt for The Walk. Finally, Ridley Scott hopefully can get on the right track with The Martian, a science fiction story based on a book I adore. My hopes are particularly high there.

Stay tuned to see how 2015 goes for these films!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He also contributes to several other film-related websites.

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