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Eight fall films destined for awards season

These must-see movies have all the ingredients needed to score nominations

Matt Damon in Suburbicon

We’re approaching the time of year when the studios start flooding multiplexes with award-worthy titles in the hopes of landing Academy Award® recognition. Here are eight ballot-bound films to check out this fall.

1. Marshall (October 13)

The 411: Chadwick Boseman stars as iconic attorney Thurgood Marshall in this biopic chronicling the Supreme Court justice’s early days as an NAACP litigator defending a client (Sterling K. Brown, This is Us) in 1941 Connecticut.

Oscar®-bait ingredients: Its timely subject matter and historical significance are bound to appeal to Oscar® voters, and Boseman’s performance could score him a Best Actor nod.

2. Breathe (October 13)

The 411: Actor Andy Serkis makes his directorial debut with this drama that tells the true story of businessman Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield), who became an advocate for the disabled after being left paralyzed from the neck down in the 1950s.

Oscar®-bait ingredients: Love in the face of adversity is a common theme in Oscar®-bait films, and Cavendish’s relationship with his wife (The Crown’s Claire Foy) anchors the story here. Garfield is also a previous nominee, having earned a Best Actor nod for Hacksaw Ridge.

3. Wonderstruck (October 20)

The 411: Director Todd Haynes reteams with Julianne Moore for this magical drama that follows parallel stories set in 1927 and 1977, as two deaf children (Millicent Simmonds and Oakes Fegley) in different eras search for key figures in their lives.

Oscar®-bait ingredients: Haynes’s and Moore’s previous collaboration – 2002’s Far From Heaven – earned them both nominations, and early buzz is that this latest pairing is equally powerful in a completely different way.

4. Suburbicon (October 27)

The 411: Originally written by Joel and Ethan Coen some 30 years ago (!), this dark comedy – directed by George Clooney – echoes the duo’s early work. In the film, a mild-mannered dad (Matt Damon) has his life upended by mobsters in his idyllic 1950s community.

Oscar®-bait ingredients: The Academy loves previous winners Damon and co-star Julianne Moore, and eight-time nominee and two-time winner Clooney. Throw in Oscar®-winning screenwriters the Coen brothers, and nominations are all but guaranteed.

5. LBJ (November 3)

The 411: Woody Harrelson sports prosthetic makeup to play U.S. president Lyndon B. Johnson, who’s thrust into the role of Commander in Chief in 1963 after the assassination of John F. Kennedy, in this biopic directed by Rob Reiner.

Oscar®-bait ingredients: The last time Harrelson stepped into a big-screen biography (1996’s The People vs. Larry Flynt), he walked away with his first (and only) Best Actor nomination, so history is on his side.

6. Murder on the Orient Express (November 10)

The 411: This latest adaptation of the classic Agatha Christie mystery follows detective Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also directs) as he searches for a killer amid an eclectic collection of train passengers (including Johnny Depp, Judi Dench, Penélope Cruz and Michelle Pfeiffer).

Oscar®-bait ingredients: Is there anyone in this film who isn’t Oscar® bait? Most of the key players have either won or been nominated previously, and director Branagh has scored nods for acting, directing and writing in the past.

7. Call Me By Your Name (November 24)

The 411: This languid coming-of-age drama traces the burgeoning romance between a visiting American scholar (Armie Hammer) and an introverted teenager (Timothée Chalamet) over the course of a summer in 1980s Italy.

Oscar®-bait ingredients: The film earned raves – and a standing ovation – when it premiered at Sundance earlier this year, with many critics earmarking Hammer for nominations come awards season.

8. The Papers (December 22)

The 411: Meryl Streep stars as the Washington Post’s first female publisher, and Tom Hanks is editor Ben Bradlee, in director Steven Spielberg’s drama chronicling the battle between the press and the office of the U.S. president in 1971.

Oscar®-bait ingredients: Spielberg has earned 17 nominations and four wins over the years, Hanks has five nods (and two wins) and Streep is the most-nominated actor in history, with three Oscar® wins so far. ’Nuff said.

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