Four Must-see Films this Award Season

September is upon us. That means one thing for moviegoers and critics alike: awards season. The Toronto International Film Festival kicks it all off in September, whereas then all award worthy films are rolled out for the next few months in preparation for Hollywood’s glorious awards ceremonies starting in January.

It has long been known that films of gifted, decorated directors, writers, and actors with awards potential are pushed out once summer is over, for the Fall season. The summer blockbusters are gone, the gimmicky movies are out, and studios are ready to pump up their heavyweight contenders. The idea is that if you have a film in this Fall/Winter timeframe, it will remain fresh in award voters heads come early the following year. If a studio has any indication that it is dealing with a potential trophy getter, they always put them out during Fall/Winter to earn and pick up momentum. With that being said, here are 4 of the many coming award hopeful films that are all already considered major contenders, and that you simply must go see. I tried to focus on films people might not hear about as much, in comparison to say, “The Hobbit,” a big time title. (You’ll notice names reappearing throughout; the big dogs stick together in the business.) I’ve included the respective trailers for each film.

“The Counselor”

Written by Cormac McCarthy, Directed by Ridley Scott.
Starring Michael Fassbender, Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem, Brad Pitt, and Cameron Diaz.

What we have here is a crime thriller picture, written by renowned crime fiction writer Cormac McCarthy. It is his first produced screenplay (although his work “No Country for Old Men” was turned into a 2008 Oscar Best Picture winner, it wasn’t his script-work.) Then we’ve got the legendary Ridley Scott stepping away from his signature sci-fi genre. This film is dedicated to his brother, as his suicide took place during production. Scott has a fantastic reputation as a director, not just in the science fiction genre. And his brother Tony was an action/thriller genius. Add all these factors up, and we may have something spectacular.

The story revolves around a lawyer, (Fassbender) who gets caught up in the drug trafficking world, and chaos ensues. Cruz is his fiancé, Bardem the drug baron, and Pitt as a shady figure. Fassbender has quickly risen to prominence; he is the new Magneto in the recent X-Men reboots, and he worked with Scott on “Prometheus,” stealing the show as a human appearing android. Cruz has always been effective in the life partner role, good or bad. Bardem is a phenomenal actor, especially when it comes to bad guys. He won the Supporting Actor Oscar in 2008 for  the hit man in “Old Men,” and was widely heralded for his villainous turn in the most recent “Bond” flick. Then, who doesn’t like Brad Pitt in a slimy, wheeler and dealer role. Throw in Cameron Diaz, and this cast seems as if they will sizzle in a pretty damn good crime thriller.

“Out of the Furnace”

Written and Directed by Scott Cooper.
Starring Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Shepherd.

Scott Cooper’s last feature was 2011’s “Crazy Heart,” which nabbed him award nominations and Jeff Bridges a Best Actor Oscar. This film is being produced by Ridley Scott and Leonardo DiCaprio. Here, we have the story of two brothers from an economically ravaged town. The brothers are Bale and Affleck. Bale, the older brother, was in jail. While incarcerated, his younger brother (Affleck) gets involved with some bad people. The head of it all is Woody Harrelson. Harrelson is an underrated actor. He is extremely effective, and fits the lowlife, scoundrel bill perfectly. I can’t wait to see him in this part. When Affleck is missing, Bale is on the hunt. Along the way, he has his lover (Zoe Saldana), and a cast rounded out by Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, and Sam Shepherd, all very talented actors with great resumes. A killer cast led by the high powered Bale, with high caliber people behind the cameras, this one you will also not want to miss.

“The Wolf of Wall Street”

Written by Terrence Winter, Directed by Martin Scorsese.
Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, among others.

“Boardwalk Empire” writer Terrence Winter and legendary director Martin Scorsese bring you what seems to be an excellent feature. The film tells the story of a Wall Street broker who won’t cooperate in a big time securities fraud case, and deals with corruption, scams, and mob dealings amidst a world of greed, lust, and power. The film is based on true events and people. (Jordan Belfort)

DiCaprio, marking his fifth collaboration with Scorsese, plays the lead. It looks as if he is Jay Gatsby without the heartache, as he truly seems to unwind and ravish in this role. Jonah Hill and Matthew McConaughey co star, both interesting cast members. Hill started out in the fat guy comedy roles, but has evolved into a respected, Oscar nominated actor. McConaughey, once thought of as a punch line, has resurrected his career as of late (similar to Ben Affleck). Universally acclaimed roles in “Mud,” and Magic Mike” served him well. In addition to this, he has the “Dallas Buyers Club” project bowing in Toronto. (Also an award contender) Some are saying that “Wall Street” will finally be the film to nab DiCaprio the long deserved Best Actor Oscar. He has been nominated three times in the past, but somehow has never won. Either way, it looks as if this is going to be one enjoyable film regardless.

“American Hustle”

Written by David O Russell and Eric Singer, Directed by David O Russell.
Starring Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Jeremy Renner, and Robert DeNiro.

David O Russell, of “The Fighter” and “Silver Linings Playbook” award darlings returns quite soon again. He brings us “American Hustle,” the true story of the ABSCAM sting operation. O Russell unites with acting heavyweights from his last two pictures; being Bale, who won an Oscar for “Fighter,” Cooper, nominated for “Playbook,” Adams, nominated for “Fighter,” Lawrence, winning for “Playbook,” and DeNiro, nominated for “Playbook.” If that doesn’t tell you this film will be amazing, I don’t know what will. Don’t forget Jeremy Renner is Oscar nominated as well. (2010’s “The Town”). Bale plays a con man forced to work with Cooper’s agent; Adams is Bale’s con partner and mistress, and Lawrence is Bale’s wife. Renner is the mayor of the city. Check out this trailer, and you should be pulled in by the magnetism of all involved.

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Frank is an Elmhurst College graduate with a BA in Communications. Acting is the life passion; loves movies of all genres, and creative writing in his spare time. An avid sports fan and an old school music connoisseur, also enjoys the occasional gin and tonic. Read more about Frank on his website,

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