It’s no secret that most movies jockeying for awards attention arrive during the last few months of the year, either because it’s assumed that voters have short memories or because it doesn’t sound that awesome to spend a cheerful summer day watching a depressing movie (and many Oscar candidates have a way of being less than uplifting).
So regardless of the movie, let’s look at what’s on tap for the rest of the year and give out an award based solely on the trailer, since everyone’s a winner here!***
Note: Local release dates are subject to change.
Director Ridley Scott (“Prometheus”) and writer Drew Goddard (“The Cabin in the Woods”) adapt Andy Weir’s novel about an astronaut (Matt Damon) trying to survive alone on Mars and get back to Earth.
Winner: Best chance of Damon and co-star Jessica Chastain saying to each other, “This is a lot better than ‘Interstellar.’”
This 4-star drama features incredible performances by Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn in a story that brings the world of gambling addiction to riveting new places.
Winner: Best use of a quote from RedEye in the trailer
The Walk (IMAX theaters 9/30)
Joseph Gordon-Levitt tries what seems to be a questionable French accent to play Philippe Petit during the real-life tightrope walker’s 1974 effort to walk between the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers. Directed and co-written by Robert Zemeckis.
Winner: Least likely to impress Nik Wallenda
Well, it’s right there in the title. Michael Fassbender stars, Aaron Sorkin (“The Social Network”) writes, Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire”) directs.
Winner: Most likely to make Ashton Kutcher (“Jobs”) feel inadequate
Yep, yet another movie about Peter Pan, starring Hugh Jackman as Blackbeard and Rooney Mara as Tiger Lily. Directed by Joe Wright (“Hanna,” “Atonement”).
Winner: Best-looking movie that maybe didn’t need to exist
On the one hand, it’s another movie about a creepy house. On the other, it’s from director/co-writer Guillermo del Toro, whom many fantasy/horror fans will follow anywhere. Mia Wasikowska, Tom Hiddleston, Jessica Chastain and Charlie Hunnam star.
Winner: Most likely to get you to the movies for Halloween
Bridge Of Spies
Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg reunite. Does it even matter what it’s about? (It’s about a CIA mission during the Cold War, if you care.)
Winner: Most likely to make me resume complaining about “War Horse”
Rock The Kasbah
As much as a movie starring Bill Murray is always welcome, this comedy (from Barry Levinson, who hasn’t done much of value since 1997’s “Wag the Dog”) about a rock manager trying to turn a singer from Afghanistan into a star looks pretty lousy.
Winner: Saddest reminder of what co-star Kate Hudson’s career has been like since that other, great music movie, “Almost Famous”
A chef (Bradley Cooper) tries to redeem his career. Alicia Vikander and Sienna Miller co-star.
Winner: Most likely to be less fluffy than “Chef”
Our Brand Is Crisis
Sandra Bullock and Anthony Mackie star in this drama based on the documentary of the same name, which dealt with South American political campaigns using American techniques.
Winner: Latest reason to discuss the merits of director David Gordon Green’s dramas (“George Washington,” “All the Real Girls”) vs. his comedies (“The Sitter,” “Your Highness”)
Improbably, director Sam Mendes (“American Beauty”) absolutely nailed the last Bond movie, “Skyfall.” He’s back for “Spectre,” in which the villain is played by Christoph Waltz. What more do you need to know?
Winner: Most likely to be awesome
Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo already had a documentary made about his life; now he’s played by Bryan Cranston in a biopic.
Winner: Most unexpectedly substantial project for director Jay Roach (the “Austin Powers” franchise)
Love The Coopers
Yet another zany comedy about a family getting together and having problems. Starring Amanda Seyfried, Olivia Wilde, Ed Helms, Diane Keaton.
Winner: Better than Seyfried’s painful “The Big Wedding” almost by default
The Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2
The massive series concludes, featuring the final performance of Philip Seymour Hoffman.
Winner: Honorary award for YA franchise that was actually good
Secret In Their Eyes
After years of longing for justice, a woman (Julia Roberts) considers taking revenge on the man who killed her daughter. Chiwetel Ejiofor and Nicole Kidman co-star.
Winner: Most likely to get me to try and fail to remember if I saw the 2009 Argentine original
The Good Dinosaur
Disney-Pixar’s second movie of the year (the first was “Inside Out”) looks lovely and features the voices of Anna Paquin, Frances McDormand and Steve Zahn.
Winner: Most likely to be the best movie of the year about dinosaurs (sorry/not sorry, “Jurassic World”)
The Night Before
Three friends (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie) party their faces off on Christmas Eve. Directed by Jonathan Levine (“50/50”) and co-written by Rogen’s usual writing partner, Evan Goldberg.
Winner: Competitor for one of the season’s most fun movies and casts
Santa Claus seeks out good people, obviously. “Krampus” is the opposite of that, starring Adam Scott, Toni Collette and David Koechner.
Winner: Best poster
I Saw The Light
English actor Tom Hiddleston stars as country legend Hank Williams. Elizabeth Olsen co-stars.
Winner: Most likely to get complaints about American icons being played by people who aren’t from the U.S.
In The Heart Of The Sea
That Ron Howard-directed movie in which Chris Hemsworth takes on the water and a whale, which was supposed to come out in March.
Winner: Most obvious lunge for awards attention
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play sisters and throw a huge party, and you’re already hooked.
Winner: Trailer most likely to get you to say it looks great even though you know it doesn’t and just hope it’s better than the trailer
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Kind of a big deal. J.J. Abrams takes over the franchise, which now stars Oscar Isaac, John Boyega and Adam Driver.
Winner: Most likely to have people waiting in line for weeks in advance
The team of Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and director David O. Russell reunites for this biopic about the inventor of, uh, the Miracle Mop.
Winner: Most likely to double your interest in mops
Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy star in this intense-looking adventure from director/co-writer Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (“Birdman”).
Winner: Movie that will have to work hardest to be as talkable as the stories about its production
You may already know the Edward Snowden story, but now the CIA employee who leaked a ton of information to the media gets his own biopic, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Shailene Woodley and directed by Oliver Stone.
Winner: Most likely to make people realize “Citizenfour” wasn’t actually good
Will Smith stars as the real doctor who was the first to identify brain trauma in a professional football player.
Winner: Will Smith movie that’s least likely to get a sequel
A stepdad (Will Ferrell) squares off against his kids’ biological father (Mark Wahlberg) in a reunion of the stars of the hilarious “The Other Guys.”
Winner: Movie that would look much better if it weren’t from the co-directors/co-writers of “Horrible Bosses 2” and “Sex Drive”
The Hateful Eight
A chase, a lot of gunfire and snazzy dialogue from Quentin Tarantino. You know the drill.
Winner: Most impressive cast of veterans (Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell, Bruce Dern, Walton Goggins)