Winfrey, Whitaker – The Butler

5 Strong 2014 Oscar Contenders to Look Out For

August: Osage County (January 2)

George Clooney would like some repeat success following last year’s award-winning Argo.

His role as producer helped the movie win Best Picture at the Academy Awards and now he’s back with August: Osage County, based on the Tony-winning play.

The movie stars Oscar queen Meryl Streep as a southern widow having her family home for her late husband’s funeral.

Other big names like Julia Roberts and Ewan McGregor add to the stellar cast that will put this film in consideration.

Gravity (October 4)

The 2014 Oscars could be a good year for Clooney who will also star alongside Oscar winner Sandra Bullock in Gravity, the space thriller that leaves two American astronauts stranded more than 300 miles above the surface of Earth when their ship explodes in the abyss.

The movie carries a similar tone as Apollo 13, Ron Howard‘s adaptation of the true survival story of three NASA astronauts in the 1970s.

The film earned a Best Picture nomination in 1996 and Gravity looks to have the same potential.

The Wolf of Wall Street (November 15)

Martin Scorsese brought back Leonardo DiCaprio to make movie magic with The Wolf of Wall Street, the story of money and greed on Wall Street during the 1980s.

Unlike the award-winning The Departed, this latest film is taking a more Goodfellas-style dark comedic approach.

Scorsese has been on Oscar fire over the last 10 years, so the chances of this film getting a nomination of its own is good. But the real question is what sort of fortune it will bring DiCaprio?

He’s been snubbed in every which way from the statue he deserves, getting the worst of it by not even getting a nomination for his work in Django Unchained.

The Butler (August 16)

There’s always that movie with the sole purpose of crashing the awards party. The Butler has everyone: Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, Jane Fonda, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrance Howard, Robin Williams and I’m not even halfway down the cast.

The movie has Oscar potential pouring out of it, and it’s not just the stellar lineup. The Butler is based on the true story of a White House butler serving through eight presidencies including Kennedy and Nixon.

From the trailer, the structure resembles a movie like Crash which observes the setting’s cultural surroundings as the story moves through time.

Keep in mind that Crash won Best Picture in 2005. A good sign for The Butler next year.

Captain Phillips (October 11)

Sometimes a story is just better when you know it’s true. Captain Phillips is based off the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALS, and Dangerous Days at Sea, the fairly recent story of a barge captain’s struggle to defend his ship and crew from the Somali pirates who try to take it hostage.

Tom Hanks, who plays the ship’s captain, is perfect for these niche roles. Captain Phillips really captures him as an everyday man who does what it takes to save himself and the people around him. Look for this one to sneak into the nomination list.