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“Bridge of Spies” represents one of the few unseen Oscar hopefuls left

bridge of spies tom hanks headshot copy
As of today, there are only a small handful of titles vying for Oscar consideration that have yet to be seen by anyone. Specifically, I can think of ten films that have awards aspirations, to one degree or another. Some are very likely Best Picture nominees, while others are likely technical players or bust. Still, at this point, here in early October, there aren’t too many unseen movies left, so this is worth taking note of. As such, below you’ll see a bit on all of the flicks that are still mysteries or X factors to us. A couple are only days away from revealing themselves, but a few will be unseen for quite some time still…

Take a look at these ten unseen 2015 contenders:

Christian Bale The BIG Short
The Big Short – The newest entry into the race, this financial criss flick could be just what the season needs. With possible acting contenders like Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, along with a legitimate chance to compete in the Best Picture field if all goes well, there’s a lot to like here. AFI Fest will be where this reveals itself, so it’ll be about a month until find out if this is a contender or a pretender.

Bridge of Spies – In just two days time I’ll be seeing Steven Spielberg’s latest at the New York Film Festival. All eyes are on this one, since it feels like a ready made winner in a ton of categories, even if that’s not what I’m currently predicting. Tom Hanks could return to the Best Actor lineup, among many other aspects of this film, so stay tuned for my Tweet out of NYFF this weekend. It could foreshadow if we have a big time threat or a small scale player here.

By the Sea – This passion project from Angelina Jolie stars herself and husband Pitt as a married couple, instantly aligning this one with some of the classic pairings of yesteryear. This will also debut at AFI Fest, which always reveals one or two late stage players. Could this be one of them? We’ll find out in November, but if you ask me now, I think it’s a bit of a long shot. That’s just a hunch though, so sit tight for the actual answer next month.

Concussion – A lot of the chatter about this one has centered on its relationship with the NFL during pre production, but we can’t forget that Will Smith could be a legitimate Best Actor threat here. That remains to be seen, but as yet another AFI debut, it bears keeping a close eye on. I doubt it’ll wind up doing much, but it’s got as hot button a plot as anything else in contention this year, so anything is possible.

The Hateful Eight 3 cast
The Hateful Eight – The hotly anticipated new Quentin Tarantino outing likely won’t play on the festival circuit, so it will be basically Christmas before anyone knows if this is a true contender or a pretender. Jennifer Jason Leigh should be knee deep in the Best Supporting Actress race, among others in the cast, but this is definitely an X factor right now. If it’s great though, watch out, as this could be one of the biggest contenders of 2015.

In the Heart of the Sea – Originally meant to come out earlier this year, someone saw something in Ron Howard’s tale and bumped it to December. That screams “Oscar player” for sure, but what a studio executive sees is not always what an Academy member sees. Voters will make up their mind on this one in a few months, but it’s another I expect to do better in the tech fields than the major categories.

JOY Jennifer Lawrence headshot w:eyeglasses
Joy – Filmmaker David O. Russell has been knocking on the door of an Academy Award win for a number of years now, so could this be the one to finally do it for him? Another movie that’s not likely to play at a fest, it will hope to get Jennifer Lawrence her second Best Actress Oscar win, in addition to the first statue for Russell. The buzz is pretty silent though, so make of that what you will…

Miles Ahead – The Closing Night selection at NYFF, this is Don Cheadle’s long brewing biopic of Miles Davis. A true passion project, it might not even wind up in this year’s race, but if it locks down a 2015 release date instead of a 2016 one, there’s a chance that this could upend things. I’ll see it for myself next week, so sit tight until then folks.

The Revenent – After winning the big three filmmaking Oscars last year, Alejandro González Iñárritu is teaming up with Leonardo DiCaprio to try and get him one of his own. This film has been shooting seemingly forever, so it’ll go right down to the wire for a 2015 release, but I think it will ultimately make the cut. Wins might be hard to come by for this one, but nominations seem likely, assuming the product is up to snuff. Underestimate this contender at your own risk…

Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I’m sure you all know what this one is, as it’s the biggest release in literally years. J.J. Abrams and company could dominate the tech categories, but anything bigger than that will only be the result of a near masterpiece or better. I wouldn’t expect that, but hey…anything is possible. Regardless, trust me when I say that I’m as excited for it in December as you all are.

Stay tuned for more on all of these unseen Oscar hopefuls between now and the end of the year!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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