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Saving the best for last: Holiday films will contain a Best Picture winner

Saving the best for last: Holiday films will contain a Best Picture winner

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If, like many, you said, "Why are there no good films in theaters?" We've got the answer: They've been saving them for the holiday period between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.

More than likely, the year's biggest Oscar winners will come from this period, particularly since studios are launching big "for your consideration" events before their films' names are even known.

What's coming in the next few months? We've got the list...and the ones most likely.


BELFAST (Now) – Director Kenneth Branagh tells a version of his family’s story in the 1960s, growing up with fighting in the streets and an unsettled future. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Best Picture, best acting, directing.

TICK, TICK…BOOM! (Nov. 19) – Lin-Manuel Miranda uses a Jonathan Larson off-Broadway show to tell the story of the “Rent” creator. Andrew Garfield plays Larson. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Best Actor.

KING RICHARD (Nov. 19) – Will Smith goes back for the cred factor he lost in recent years. Here, he plays the father of tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Best Actor, Best Picture. Maybe a supporting nod.

GHOSTBUSTERS: AFTERLIFE (Nov. 19) – How do you reboot a classic film? By bringing in another generation (“Stranger Things,” perhaps?) and discovering their connection to the original Ghostbusters. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Special effects.

C’MON C’MON (Nov. 19) – Joaquin Phoenix plays a man who bonds with his nephew. Look for tears. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Best Actor.

RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY (Nov. 24) – A pharma giant has ruined a town, but it also has spawned an evil that lies blow.

ENCANTO (Nov. 24) – If “X-Men” lived in Colombia and all came from the same family, it might look like this. The Madrigal family has special powers. Daughter Mirabel, however, doesn’t but she must muster her own strength to help the others. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote the music. Enough said.

HOUSE OF GUCCI (Nov. 24) – Fashion was only the start of it. That wild Gucci family had more intrigue than the Corleones. With Robert De Niro, Adam Driver and Lady Gaga in tow, this could be the one that makes Ridley Scott a big Oscar winner. OSCAR POTENTIAL: All around.

8-BIT CHRISTMAS (Nov. 24) – A kid works to get a video game system for Christmas, circa 1980s. OSCAR POTENTIAL: None.

THE UNFORGIVABLE (Nov. 24, limited release) – Sandra Bullock plays a woman looking for redemption while also seeking her sister. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Best Actress, natch.

BRUISED (Nov. 24) – Halle Berry directs herself as a single mom who may lose her son if she doesn’t have a way to give him a better life. She gets in the MMA ring and battles on. Think: Female “Rocky.” OSCAR POTENTIAL: Very slight chance for Best Actress

LICORICE PIZZA (Nov. 26) – When you’re a successful kid actor, you’ve got real problems when you try to enter the “real” world. Benny Safdie stars. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Slim to none.

AN INTRUSION (Nov. 26) – A stalker makes life hell for a family. But there could be a method to the madness. OSCAR POTENTIAL: None.


THE POWER OF THE DOG (Dec. 1) – Benedict Cumberbatch stakes his claim to the Daniel Day Lewis crown as a pushy rancher whose life is changed when his brother brings home a new wife. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Picture, Actor, Supporting Actor…this could run the board.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (Dec. 3) – An animated version of the popular kids book series. OSCAR POTENTIAL: None.

SILENT NIGHT (Dec. 3) – Christmas dinner in the country. Lily-Rose Depp is here, as well as in another Christmas film. OSCAR POTENTIAL: None.

THE HAND OF GOD (Dec. 3) -- Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, this is another one of those “story of my life” films that includes great joy and tragedy. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Best Foreign Language Film; Best Picture, perhaps acting prizes. It’s this year’s “Roma.”

BENEDETTA (Dec. 3) – Paul Verhoeven courts controversy with this drama about an Italian nun who had an affair with another nun. OSCAR POTENTIAL: None.

ENCOUNTER (Dec. 3)-- Riz Ahmed is back for another shot at Best Actor. Here, he’s a veteran who tries to protect his children from an alien encounter. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Best Actor.

DEADLOCK (Dec. 3) – Bruce Willis leads a band of mercenaries on a mission against the government. They take refuge in an energy plant and hold people hostage. OSCAR POTENTIAL: None.

WOLF (Dec. 3) – Lily-Rose Depp gets another shot at the holidays with this look at a man who thinks he’s a wolf trapped in a human’s body. OSCAR POTENTIAL: None.

RED ROCKET (Dec. 3) -- Simon Rex was a hit at the Cannes Film Festival for his work in this drama about a porn star who returns home. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Best actor.

SHAUN THE SHEEP: THE FLIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS (Dec. 3) – Aardman’s favorite stop-motion character gets another shot at laughs in this story of a missing Timmy. OSCAR POTENTIAL: None.

BEING THE RICARDOS (Dec. 10) – Aaron Sorkin got a shot at rewriting “To Kill a Mockingbird.” Now he’s taking on “I Love Lucy.” In this behind-the-scenes drama, he looks at the turmoil Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz faced. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Feast or famine.

WEST SIDE STORY (Dec. 10) – Steven Spielberg decided to remake a classic with an updated script and a cast of age-appropriate actors. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Could be big.

THE LAST SON (Dec. 10) – Sam Worthington goes on the hunt so he can save his life. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Limited.

DON’T LOOK UP (Dec. 10) – A comet could destroy Earth. But who is going to sound the alarm? Two astronomers try to get the attention of officials. Meryl Streep plays the president. Adam McKay directs. Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Timothee Chalamet also star. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Through the roof.

MOSLEY (Dec. 10) – A farm animal goes on an adventure. Animated. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Slim to none.

OFF THE RAILS (Dec. 10) – Kelly Preston made her final screen appearance in this comedy about friends celebrating the life of their deceased bestie. OSCAR POTENTIAL: None

SPIDER-MAN: NO WAY HOME (Dec. 17) – Who IS in this film? The rumors have swirled for more than a year and it could – or could not – be a meeting of the Spider-Men. Tom Holland is here, but it could be his last role in the Spidey-tights. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Hardly.

NIGHTMARE ALLEY (Dec. 17) – Bradley Cooper courts danger when he engages with a psychiatrist, played by Cate Blanchett. Guillermo Del Toro directs. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Yup.

THE TENDER BAR (Dec. 17) – A boy finds friendship – and direction – in a bar. Ben Affleck plays the good-time guy who looms as his potential mentor. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Maybe.

SWAN SONG (Dec. 17) – Mahershala Ali plays a man diagnosed with a terminal disease who is given an out that would protect his family from grief. Glenn Close plays the doctor. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Could be.

THE LOST DAUGHTER (Dec. 17) – A vacation turns creepy when a woman focuses on another guest – and her connection to the past. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Little.

SING 2 (Dec. 22) – Those singing animals get another shot at stardom. All right, all right, all right: Matthew McConaughey is here. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Doubtful.

THE MATRIX RESURRECTIONS (Dec. 22) – Neo and Trinity are back for more back-bending work. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Sure.

PARALLEL MOTHERS (Dec. 24) – Pedro Almodavar directs his muse, Penelope Cruz, in this story about a pair of moms and their approach to the change in their lives. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Oh sure.

AMERICAN UNDERDOG (Dec. 25) – Zachary Levy plays football star Kurt Warner. OSCAR POTENTIAL: No.

A JOURNAL FOR JORDAN (Dec. 25) -- Michael B. Jordan plays a soldier who writes to his son, just before he dies, to provide rules for a better life. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Doubtful.

THE TRAGEDY OF MacBETH (Dec. 25) – Joel Coen (without Ethan) offers his take on the story of Macbeth. Here, he has Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand and Corey Hawkins in play. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Best Picture, Best Acting, Best Direction.

JOCKEY (Dec. 29) – A jockey wants one more race. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Independent Spirit Award is more likely.

CYRANO (Dec. 31) – Peter Dinklage gets his shot at playing the man who’s good at advising others about love but not so good at handling his own affairs. OSCAR POTENTIAL: Big maybe.

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