Which films have benefitted most from screening at the 53rd New York Film Festival?

steve jobs Fassbender
On Saturday, the 53rd annual New York Film Festival came to a close. I’ve been at the festival for a number of years now, and I have to say…NYFF is always something special. The 2015 incarnation of the fest was no different, though for my money it wasn’t quite as jam packed as last year, but that’s another story. What’s easy to see though is that a handful of films definitely benefitted from playing at the festival, especially in terms of Oscar. Below you’ll see my take on who and what is sitting in a prettier spot for Academy Award attention than before NYFF began…

First of all, which were the movies that played at NYFF that had some level of awards aspirations? Well, titles of that nature included The Assassin, Bridge of Spies (a special Gala presentation), Brooklyn, Carol, The Lobster, The Martian (a special surprise inclusion), Miles Ahead (the Closing Night selection), Mountains May Depart, Son of Saul, Steve Jobs (the Centerpiece selection), The Walk (the Opening Night selection), and Where to Invade Next. Those dozen flicks, to one degree or another, would like to appeal to the Academy. The question is just if they can and if so, then how much? Well, that’s what we’re going to be discussing right now.

the martian matt damon
In terms of Best Picture, Director, or the Screenplay categories, there’s some definite contenders. I’d say Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, Carol, The Martian, and Steve Jobs are strong players, potentially, with Son of Saul as a possible spoiler. Bridge of Spies, Brooklyn, and Carol will have a tougher time in Best Director than in Best Picture due to the expanded lineup, though each will have a chance as well in Best Adapted Screenplay (especially Brooklyn, which could be a Screenplay lock for Nick Hornby) or Best Original Screenplay, depending on the situation. The Martian is an X factor (Ridley Scott and Drew Goddard are in play though for sure), with Son of Saul being the same, albeit a longer shot. Steve Jobs definitely emerged the strongest, now potentially in line to compete for wins all around (for Danny Boyle and Aaron Sorkin), not just nominations. As for The Walk? It had hopes initially, but those seem to have faded outside of technical categories. The Assassin and Mountains May Depart are far more limited in their chances, though Son of Saul seems like the foreign title that will eat up all of the oxygen in the room. Finally, Where to Invade Next seems like Best Documentary Feature or bust and The Lobster might not come out until 2016, with the same being said for Miles Ahead.

Carol in coffe shop
When it comes to acting, there’s just as much potential here. Bridge of Spies has Tom Hanks in Best Actor and Mark Rylance in Best Supporting Actor, Brooklyn has Saoirse Ronan in Best Actress, Emory Cohen in Best Supporting Actor, and Julie Walters in Best Supporting Actress, Carol has Cate Blanchett in Best Actress and Rooney Mara in Best Supporting Actress, The Martian has Matt Damon in Best Actor and Jessica Chastain in Best Supporting Actress, Miles Ahead has Don Cheadle in Best Actor if it comes out in 2015, Son of Saul has Géza Röhrig in Best Actor, Steve Jobs has plenty. That one has Michael Fassbender in Best Actor, Jeff Daniels and Seth Rogen in Best Supporting Actor, and Kate Winslet in Best Supporting Actress. Some are more likely than others, but Steve Jobs especially seems like the most likely player, though watch out for Brooklyn and Carol.

Overall, the 53rd New York Film Festival could potentially wind up having a ton of Oscar nominees when all is said and done, but that remains to be seen. Academy Award friendliness has been an NYFF staple of late, so expect at least a few to come through the fest and move on to members of the Academy. Brooklyn and Steve Jobs especially seem all but set for Oscar attention, but nothing is guaranteed just yet. Sit tight though, as we’ll certainly be covering their candidacies throughout the year. NYFF might be done for 2015, but the wait for the 54th New York Film Festival has now officially begun…

Stay tuned to see how all of these NYFF contenders do throughout the season!

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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