"2016 Best Picture Oscar Contenders"
1. A United Kingdom - An upcoming British period biopic directed by Amma Asante and starring David Oyelowo (Selma) and Rosamund Pike (Gone Girl). The film is based on the true-life romance between Seretse Khama King of Botswana and his wife Ruth Williams Khama. who was forced to renounce the throne after marrying a white English woman, causing uproar at home in the U.K. and in neighboring apartheid-era South Africa.
2. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk - A young man, recently home from Iraq, who learns he'll be returning to Iraq while being hailed as a war hero at a Dallas Cowboys game. Central Cast. Ben Platt - Vin Diesel - Chris Tucker Why it could be big: It also includes Steve Martin to Kristen Stewart (seriously, just click on the IMDB link above and look at it). There's also director Ang Lee, who's won Best Director twice — for Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi, but never Best Picture. Plus, the Iraq War has receded enough into memory that movies about it could become Oscar favorites, as happened with World War II and Vietnam.
3. Genius - A biographical drama about legendary book editor Maxwell Perkins (Colin Firth), co-starring Nicole Kidman, Jude Law (as Thomas Wolfe), Dominic West (Ernest Hemingway) and Guy Pearce (F. Scott Fitzgerald).
4. Hacksaw Ridge - an upcoming American war drama film directed by Mel Gibson and written by Gregory Crosby, Robert Schenkkan, and Randall Wallace. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington, Luke Bracey, Hugo Weaving, Ryan Corr, Teresa Palmer, Richard Pyros and Rachel Griffiths. Based on the true story about US Army medic Desmond T. Doss, a conscientious objector who refused to bear arms, yet was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman for single-handedly saving the lives of over 75 of his comrades while under constant enemy fire during the brutal Battle of Okinawa in World War II.
5. Jackie - The days of First Lady, Jacqueline Kennedy, in immediate aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination in 1963. Natalie Portman as Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy Onassis, Caspar Phillipson as President John F. Kennedy, Peter Sarsgaard as Robert F. Kennedy, Max Casella as Jack Valenti, Beth Grant as Lady Bird Johnson, and Julie Judd as Ethel Kennedy, wife of Robert F. Kennedy.
6. La La Land – Drama, Romance, Musical & Comedy – Directed by Damien Chazelle (Whiplash), in this modern take on the Hollywood musical from Damien Chazelle, the Academy Award-nominated writer and director of "Whiplash," Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) and Mia (Emma Stone) are drawn together by their common desire to do what they love. But as success mounts they are faced with decisions that begin to fray the fragile fabric of their love affair, and the dreams they worked so hard to maintain in each other threaten to rip them apart.
7. LBJ - An upcoming American political drama film directed by Rob Reiner and written by Joey Hartstone. The film stars Woody Harrelson (LBJ), Richard Jenkins, Bill Pullman, Kim Allen, Michael Stahl-David, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jeffrey Donovan, Doug McKeon, and Michael Mosley. The story of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson from his young days in West Texas to the White House.
8. Loving - This courtroom drama covers Loving v. Virginia, the 1967 Supreme Court ruling that made interracial marriage legal throughout the US. So it's a courtroom drama and a love story — both genres the Oscars often find irresistible. Why it could be big: See above re: genre. Loving is also from director Jeff Nichols, whose Take Shelter and Mud have landed just short of the Oscars in the past but have been in the conversation for several other prizes. (Mud also proved a surprise box office success.) Between this and Midnight Special, a sci-fi film coming out in March, Nichols could have quite the year.
9. Manchester by the Sea - A searing family drama about a man who returns to his hometown to confront the weight of his grief, Kenneth Lonergan's new film debuted at Sundance to the kind of reviews that make film fans salivate. It also boasts performances from previous Oscar nominees Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, as well as the much-liked Kyle Chandler. Why it could be big: Intelligent adult dramas about people feeling their feelings are hard to pull off. But when they work, the Oscars tend to notice. Think of Ordinary People or Terms of Endearment or even American Beauty; all were big winners, and Manchester could join them.
10. Money Monster - George Clooney plays a bombastic TV personality who is taken hostage during a live broadcast by a man (Jack O’Connell) irate after one of his bad stock tips. Co-stars include Julia Roberts. Jodie Foster directs.
11. No Title Yet - Directed by Robert Zemeckis (Flight, Forrest Gump and Castaway) - This takes place during World War II. The desert. Brad Pitt. Marion Cotillard. Romance. Also Jared Harris from Mad Men. We don't know much about this project, but on paper it sounds very Oscar-friendly.
12. Passengers - When a man on a gigantic spaceship that takes generations to travel between stars wakes up from cryogenics due to a malfunction, he decides to wake up one of the women passengers as well, in the most duplicitous Adam and Eve story you'll ever see. Why it could be big: The guy? Chris Pratt, who's poised for an Oscar breakthrough after huge turns in franchises galore. The woman? Jennifer Lawrence, the biggest star in the country. This movie will make money hand over fist, and having director Morten Tyldum (of Oscar favorite Imitation Game) behind the camera won't hurt.
13. Queen of Katwe - An upcoming biographical drama film directed by Mira Nair from a screenplay by William Wheeler. The film is about the life of Phiona Mutesi, a Ugandan chess prodigy who becomes a Woman Candidate Master after her performances at World Chess Olympiads.
14. Silence - What it is: Directed by Martin Scorsese, Silence is about Jesuit priests in 17th-century Japan who encounter both persecution and seemingly insurmountable cultural differences. It stars Liam Neeson and is based on a book. Why it could be big: I actually had this film on my predictions last year, with the caveat that it might not come out in 2015 — and it didn't. But the Oscars always watch Scorsese closely, and Neeson is primed for another nomination. (He hasn't landed one since Schindler's List in 1994).
15. Snowden - Based on Luke Harding's recent book, "The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man" details the most spectacular intelligence breach ever, brought about by one man Edward Snowden who was 29-year-old computer genius working for the National Security Agency when he shocked the world by exposing the near-universal mass surveillance programs of the United States government and the threat to individual privacy. Directed by Oliver Stone (Born of the 4th of July, Platoon, Nixon and JFK), the cast includes Tom Wilkinson, Nicolas Cage, Melissa Leo, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Timothy Olyphant, Zachary Quinto and Shailene Woodley.
16. Sully - Tom Hanks plays Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, the pilot who famously landed a doomed flight in the Hudson River, saving the lives of everyone on board. Clint Eastwood Directs this.
17.The BFG - Steven Spielberg takes on Roald Dahl's classic children's novel about a Big Friendly Giant, complete with a script by his old E.T. collaborator Melissa Mathison and a giant played (via motion capture) by Mark Rylance, who just won an Oscar for Spielberg's Bridge of Spies.
18. The Birth of a Nation - Actor Nate Parker turns director to bring the story of Nat Turner to the screen. Turner led a slave rebellion in 1831, after traveling with his owner showed him the scope of slavery in the South. The film's title — which apes one of the most influential (and racist) films ever made — is very much intentional. Why it could be big: Though reviews out of Sundance (where the film premiered) weren't uniform in their praise, those who loved The Birth of a Nation loved it with the sort of intensity that often nods toward a major Oscar player. Fox Searchlight ponied up $17.5 million for the rights to the film, a new record, and then scheduled it for October 7, a fairly Oscar-friendly release date. Plus, its subject matter and diverse cast will help alleviate the Academy's biggest problem.
19. The Founder - Finally, there will be a film biography of Ray Kroc, the man who built McDonald's into an empire. (Importantly, Kroc was not the fast food chain's founder, making the title all the more intriguing.) Michael Keaton will play him.
20.The Girl on the Train - A woman becomes obsessed with a younger woman who lives in a house she sees every day as she passes on the train. Bad, bad things happen. Starring Emily Blunt and directed by or Tate Taylor who previously enjoyed Major Oscar success with his 2011 film The Help.
21. The Light Between Oceans - This one's about a World War I veteran and his wife who move to a remote Australian lighthouse and raise the baby girl they find cast up on shore one day as their own. Why it could be big: Director Derek Canfranc’s Blue Valentine didn't prove a massive Oscar hit, but it did receive a crucial nomination (for Michelle Williams's performance). And "sweeping period drama" — which The Light between Oceans certainly qualifies as — is something the Oscars often enjoy. Plus, stars Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander (Oscar Winner), and Rachel Weisz (Oscar Winner) are all either previous winners or nominees.
22. The Story of Your Life - The acclaimed science fiction story by Ted Chiang about establishing contact with aliens via learning the aliens' language comes to the big screen, with five-time nominee Amy Adams front and center. Jeremy Renner and Forest Whitaker also star. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Sicario & Incendies) when alien crafts land across the world, a linguist expert is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit.
23. The Witch - This period piece horror movie, dripping with menace, has received tremendous reviews for its story of a family who encounters something terrible. In 1630 New England, panic and despair envelops a farmer (Ralph Ineson), his wife (Kate Dickie) and four of their children when youngest son Samuel suddenly vanishes. The family blames Thomasin (Anya Taylor-Joy), the oldest daughter who was watching the boy at the time of his disappearance. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, twin siblings Mercy (Ellie Grainger) and Jonas (Lucas Dawson) suspect Thomasin of witchcraft, testing the clan's faith, loyalty and love to one another.
24. The Zoo Keepers Wife - In an upcoming British-American war drama film directed by Niki Caro and written by Angela Workman, based on the non-fiction book of same name by Diane Ackerman. The film stars Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty), Johan Heldenbergh, and Daniel Brüh (Inglorious Basterds) . A true story about the Warsaw Zoo keepers couple Antonina Żabińska and Jan Żabiński, who saved many human and animal lives during the World War II by hiding them in animal cages.
25. Zootopia - A smart ambitious rabbit and a sly street smart fox team up "Crockett and Stubbs" style to unravel a criminal conspiracy in a city where animals do people things in this new animated Disney film.
Red Highlighted Films 10 Strongest Contenders