Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, and other Oscar contenders

Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottilard as Lord and Lady Macbeth
Michael Fassbender and Marion Cottilard as Lord and Lady Macbeth
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FOLLOWING his stellar depiction of Macbeth and ‘phenomenal’ portrayal of the late Steve Jobs, Michael Fassbender is hotly-tipped for an Oscar nod - but which other Hollywood stars are expected to clean-up this awards season?

SUFFRAGETTE

Directed by Sarah Gavron

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Anne-Marie Duff

Suffragette tells the story of the blue-collared women of Britain who fought relentlessly for their right to vote at the turn of the 20th century. Carey Mulligan, known for tackling daring dramas, looks set to be lauded for her depiction of Maud, a foot solider for Emmeline Pankhurst (Streep) in the early days of the movement. Mulligan was previously nominated for an Academy Award for her role in 2009’s An Education. Anne-Marie Duff is tipped for best supporting actress nominations for her portrayal of Violet Miller.

With women firmly at its core – it’s directed by Sarah Gavron and based on a screenplay by Abi Morgan – this film marks a revolutionary point in history. Plus, it hit the headlines after becoming the first film ever allowed to shoot on location at London’s Houses of Parliament, so its best picture credentials are not without merit.

October 12

THE PROGRAM

Directed by Stephen Frears

Cast: Ben Foster, Jesse Plemons, Lee Pace, Dustin Hoffman, Chris O’Dowd

A biopic on disgraced American cyclist Lance Armstrong (Foster), The Program looks at the athlete’s rise and fall surrounding his now-exempt seven Tour de France wins. Speculation begins when Sunday Times journalist David Walsh (O’Dowd) believes the cycling star may be doping and wants to expose his deceit, a story he investigates for more than a decade until the truth finally comes out. An advocate of method acting, Ben Foster’s authentic portrayal of Armstrong makes him a strong contender for the best actor category. And given the high-profile nature of the subject matter, all eyes will be on his performance.

October 16

BROOKLYN

Directed by John Crowley

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Domhnall Gleeson, Michael Zegen

With a screenplay penned by Nick Hornby, based on Colm Toibin’s novel of the same name, Brooklyn follows young Irish immigrant Ellis Lacey (Ronan) as she navigates her way through life, romance and 1950s New York. Putting in a stellar performance, Saoirse Ronan, 21, who landed a best supporting actress Oscar nomination for 2007’s Atonement, could receive plaudits for her part in this big-screen adaptation.

November 6

STEVE JOBS

Directed by Danny Boyle

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen

Covering three iconic product launches and culminating with the unveiling of the iMac in 1998, Oscar-winning screenwriter Aaron Sorkin paints a picture of the digital revolution that saw Apple icon Steve Jobs (Fassbender) at the helm. Michael Fassbender is a no-brainer contender for best actor gongs, Fassbender is likely to be commended for both his outstanding performances in the dark and compelling Macbeth and Steve Jobs, for which he’s already received rave reviews. Even Winslet said she’s placing a bet on him walking away with the gold statuette.

Six-time Oscar nominee Kate Winsley, who won best actress for The Reader in 2009, is in with a good chance of picking up a few nominations for her powerful portrayal of Joanna Hoffman, the woman who stood up to Steve Jobs. Also keep an eye out for Seth Rogen, who holds his own against Fassbender and shows he can leave comedy behind and play ‘serious’ pretty well too.

November 13

CAROL

Directed by Todd Haynes

Cast: Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara, Sarah Paulson

The plot: Therese (Mara), a department store clerk in 1950s New York, longs for change. Falling for an older woman (Blanchett), however, has complicated consequences.

Cate Blanchett is a seasoned Oscar nominee, and took home the best actress gong for her lead in Blue Jasmine at last year’s ceremony. Now 2016 looks set to be no different for the Aussie star, with much hype already circulating around her performance of the title character. The notoriously private Rooney Mara, meanwhile, received glowing reviews for her authentic performance at Cannes, and is one to watch for best supporting actress.

November 27

BLACK MASS

Directed by Scott Cooper

Cast: Johnny Depp, Dakota Johnson, Benedict Cumberbatch

Under Cooper’s direction, this film tells the story of Whitey Bulger (Depp), the real-life brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in South Boston history, who later became an FBI informant. Nominated for an Oscar three times throughout his 30-year career, Johnny Depp’s performance and shock transformation in Black Mass could finally see him take the coveted best actor statue home.

November 27

BRIDGE OF SPIES

Directed by Steven Spielberg

Cast: Tom Hanks, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan

With the Cold War setting the scene, American lawyer James B Donovan (Hanks) is recruited by the CIA to help rescue a pilot detained in the Soviet Union.

Tom Hanks has been nominated for an Oscar five times - winning twice for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump - and chances are looking good for more additions to his awards cabinet over the coming months. And with Spielberg at the helm, and American history at its heart, this is sure to garner a nomination for best picture - and possibly a best director nod for Spielberg too.

November 27

THE DANISH GIRL

Directed by Tom Hooper

Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Amber Heard, Alicia Vikander

A transgender pioneer, artist Lili Elbe (Eddie Redmayne) was one of the first people to receive gender reassignment surgery. The movie charts the ground-breaking journey of Lili and wife Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander), as their relationship and work evolve.

Eddie Redmayne picked up an Oscar earlier this year for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything, and bets are being placed he’ll earn another nod in 2016. The Danish Girl could also be the movie which marks Alicia Vikander out as a serious Oscar contender.

January 1

JOY

Directed by David O. Russell

Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper

Joy (Lawrence) is a struggling single mother. But her fortunes change when she invents the ‘Miracle Mop’ and rises to become the founder and head of a powerful business dynasty.

Jennifer Lawrence previously worked with David O. Russell on American Hustle and Silver Linings Playbook and scored Oscar nods for both (as did her co-star, Cooper). Could Joy make it a collaborative hat-trick?

January 1

THE REVENANT

Directed by Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter

Left for dead by his companions after being mauled by a bear during a hunting trip, frontiersman Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is hell-bent on getting his revenge, and sets off on a 200-mile trek to get it. Could this the year DiCaprio finally gets the accolade he deserves from the Academy?

January 15