Oscar bait: 10 films that are looking to win big at the 2016 Academy Awards

  • Oscar bait: 10 films that are looking to win big at the 2016 Academy Awards

Certain films have been made with the Oscars in mind, they're released in that period between late December and mid-March, where it would seem 'The Academy' are visiting the cinema.

Some films, like Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse, aren't going to bag a little gold statuette, but some are shining their mantelpieces in preparation.

The films eyeing-up an Oscar in 2016 are:

In the Heart of the Sea

Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Brendan Gleeson.
Release date: 25 December 2015

Based on Nathaniel Philbrick's award-winning 2000 novel of the same name, of the real-life tale of the American whale ship Essex that was sunk by a sperm whale in 1820, an event which also inspired Herman Meville to slap together a story about a whale, called Moby-Dick.

The crew are left stranded in lifeboats over a thousand miles from land and set sail for South America, and, pushed to their limits, get stuck into a bit of cannibalism to survive.

Oscar chances: One of the outsiders, it boasts an all-star cast and an Oscar nominated director in the form of Ron Howard, but this probably won't be troubling the podium for best film.


Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro
Release date: 1 January 2016

Director (and renowned madmanDavid O. Russell regroups Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, who were showered with statuettes after Silver Linings Playbook, for the true story of Joy Mangano a single mother who built a business empire on her invention, the Miracle Mop.

Another David O. Russell regular in the form of Robert De Niro returns, as Bradley Cooper looks to bag the Best Supporting Actor Oscar after two nominations and no wins for his other collaborations with Russell.

Oscar chances: David O. Russell and his films are no strangers to the Academy Awards, with American Hustle receiving 10 nominations (and winning none) and Silver Linings Playbook scoring eight noms, although this one may suffer a similar fate of many nominations and not many wins.

The Danish Girl

Starring: Eddie Redmayne, Amber Heard, Alicia Vikander
Release date: 1 January 2016

Eddie Redmayne stars in the true story of Lili Elbe, a late 1880s Danish artist born Einar Wegener, who became one of the world's first identifiable transgender women as Lili's wife and fellow artist Gerda supports the decision, only to realise that she is losing the person that she married.

Redmayne reportedly lost two stone to play Lili, in his attempt to become the third actor to win consecutive Best Actor awards (the other two being Tom Hanks and Spencer Tracy) directed by Tom Hooper, who won the Best Director gong for The King's Speech, which also won Best Film.

Oscar chances: With an Oscar-winning director and main star, this is going to seriously challenge on all fronts - don't be surprised to see Eddie Redmayne clutching his second consecutive Best Actor statuette.

The Hateful 8

Starring: Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell
Release date: 8 January 2016

Quentin Tarantino's western bonanza, following on from Django Unchained, which features eight dubious characters who are thrown together when each is forced to seek shelter during a blizzard in post-Civil War Wyoming.

With such nicknames as 'The Hangman’, ‘The Sheriff', 'The Mexican' and, most excitingly, 'The Cow Puncher', you can be sure that some of them will join the often-published lists of the Tarantino's greatest characters.

Tarantino bagged Original Screenplay Oscars for Pulp Fiction and Django Unchained, but hasn't won the Best Director prize, despite two nominations, and with a cast of Tarantino regulars, including Tim Roth, Samuel L. Jackson and Michael Madsen, plus the likes of Kurt Russell and Walton Goggins, the director is setting this one up to be his 'big score'.

Oscar chances: Tarantino is eyeing-up The Hateful 8 as his opportunity to bag that elusive Best Director nod, expect a third Best Screenplay award for the foot-obsessed director.

The Light Between Oceans

Starring: Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weisz, Alicia Vikander
Release date: 8 January 2016

Michael Fassbender picks up from his previous 'heavy' roles of Macbeth, 12 Years a Slave and Shame with this tale of a lighthouse keeper living off the coast of Australia with his wife who rescue a baby from an adrift rowboat and decide to keep it.

Boasting an incredible cast, director Derek Cianfrance has a relatively small body of work (with the most notable being The Place Beyond the Pines) but six directors have bagged the Best Director prize on their debut film, so this adaptation of M.L. Stedman's 2012 novel could be heading for gold.

Oscar chances: Probably the best chance is a Best Actor nod for Michael Fassbender, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for 12 Years a Slave - but he'll have some stiff competition in that category.


The Revenant

Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson
Release date: 15 January 2016

The perennially-overlooked Leonardo DiCaprio is after his elusive Best Actor Oscar with this tale of a 19th century American frontiersman named Hugh Glass, who is robbed and left for dead by his companions after a bear mauling.

Determined for revenge, Glass sets out on a 200 mile trek to kill the man who left him when he needed help.

Director Alejandro G. Iñárritu is another person looking to land himself consecutive Oscars awards after he picked up Best Actor for Birdman, while Tom Hardy must be thinking he's set for his first Oscar nomination (or more) for Best Supporting Actor.

Oscar chances: Surely the Academy will finally give Leo DiCaprio the Oscar he's been trying to get his whole career with this one.


Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber
Release date: 29 January 2016

The story recounting The Boston Globe's coverage of the Massachusetts Catholic sex abuse scandal in 2003, which won the newspaper a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams head up a cast that includes Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci in the drama which handles incredibly sensitive topics, directed and co-written by Thomas McCarthy, who got an Oscar nomination back in 2010 for his screenplay for Pixar's Up.

Oscar chances: After missing out on Best Supporting last year with Foxcatcher, Mark Ruffalo will also probably not win the Best Actor for Spotlight. Despite the few nominations this is sure to pick up; it will fall short on all of them.


Starring: Bryan Cranston, Elle Fanning, Diane Lane
Release date: 5 February 2016

Bryan Cranston stars as Dalton Trumbo a (real life) Oscar-winning Hollywood screenwriter, the man behind some of the biggest films in the 1930s and '40s, who was blacklisted after accusations of him being a Communist.

With Bryan Cranston's mantelpiece heaving under the weight of all of the Emmys he won for Breaking Bad, he now turns his focus to big screen statuettes with this take on 1930s Hollywood, including stars of the time, John Wayne, Kirk Douglas and Otto Preminger all being played in the film.

Interestingly, director Jay Roach's work-to-date includes the Austin Powers films and the Meet the Parents series, so this biographical drama is new ground for him.

Oscar chances: When it comes to Bryan Cranston, you be assured that he will put in an Oscar-winning performance, and depending on how the finished film turns out, Hollywood may love the mirror being turned on themselves.

Hail, Caesar!

Starring: George Clooney,  Scarlett Johansson, Channing Tatum
Release date: 26 February 2016

Another film which turns the mirror back onto the movie making machine is the Coen Brothers' lavish new comedy drama set in 1950s Hollywood as a 'fixer' employed by a studio to make sure their stars are kept in line.

With Josh Brolin playing the fixer, the studio's upcoming film Hail Caesar is thrown into panic when leading star Baird Whitlock (George Clooney) is kidnapped.

With a galaxy of stars, including the likes of Johan Hill, Tilda Swinton, Channing Tatum and Ralph Fiennes, it's the latest slice of film gold from the Hollywood alchemists, Joel and Ethan Coen.

Oscar chances: Despite having made such cinematic classics as O Brother, Where Art Thou? and True Grit, only No Country for Old Men and Fargo bagged awards for the Coens. Expect plenty of nominations for this one, but chances are it'll miss out on the major prizes.

The Secret in Their Eyes

Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts
Release date: 4 March 2016

Argentinian author Eduardo Sacheri's La pregunta de sus ojos (The Question in Their Eyes) gets its second adaptation (after the 2009 Argentinian version - which featured an epic tracking shot) as a tense and suspicious thriller.

A team of FBI investigators are torn apart when they discover that one of the team's teenage daughter of has been brutally murdered.

Returning thirteen years later, another investigator believes he has a new lead that may find the murderer and resolve the case once and for all.

Oscar chances: Thriller films don't tend to bag the big prize, with No Country For Old Men one of very few to win Best Film. Expect nominations galore and perhaps a cinematography win.

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