Almost a week has passed since the 2013 Oscars, which means it's time to start thinking about the 2014 Oscars, apparently. A number of outlets have already jumped on the predictive bandwagon, putting together lists of films that Jimmy Kimmel could be mentioning a year from now—that is, if the Olympics don't get in the way. Based on those lists, we've put together a—very early, somewhat arbitrary—list of potential contenders, in roughly descending order of how likely we think they are going to get nominated for Best Picture. In a year, but still.
The Monuments Men
George Clooney's directing it. And starring in it. Cate Blanchett's in it. Matt Damon's in it. Jean Dujardin's in it. Daniel Craig's in it. Bill Murray's in it. Lord Grantham's in it—seriously! Everyone's in this movie. And it's about art. And World War II. Oscar bait sometimes smells, and it smells like this.
The Wolf of Wall Street
Unless it mysteriously goes the way of Shutter Island, we'd be shocked not to see this Scorsese-DiCaprio collaboration in the running for Best Picture. It's a) got those names attached, b) about a "serious" topic: financial corruption. We'll get to see it November 15.
Man, Clooney has a busy year coming up. He's also in the latest from Alfonso Cuarón. According to HitFix: "Rumor has it, however, that Cuaron's 3-D space drama is an artistic marvel." Well, that sounds amazing.
The Oscars have heralded the "indie that could" of late, and, well, this is that indie. It's a real-life story about the case of Oscar Grant, who was killed by a police officer in the Fruitvale area of Oakland. The film, which drew raves at Sundance, follows Grant's last day and stars Octavia Spencer.
Ridley Scott directs Brad Pitt, Javier Bardem, Penélope Cruz and Michael Fassbender in a screenplay by Cormac McCarthy. Enough said.
The Likely Ones
August: Osage County
Tracy Letts's play about a dysfunctional Oklahoma family cleaned up at the Tonys when it was on Broadway, and now it's coming to the screen with a cast that includes a bunch of starry folks, including the starriest of them all, Meryl Streep. And Meryl + Pulitzer Prize-winning material screams Oscar love.
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Coen brothers usually make their way into the Oscar fold somehow, and with an already intriguing trailer available for their foray into folk we suspect they might be back:
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Idris Elba plays Nelson Mandela in this biopic, which found a big-time distributor in the The Weinstein Company. And nobody sells Oscar bait like Harvey's tackle shop.
The Less Likely Ones
This could be Steve Carell's big Robin Williams-style turn from funny guy into serious actor as he plays John du Pont, the schizophrenic man who welcomed the U.S. Olympic wrestling team into his home and ended up murdering wrestler David Schultz, played by Mark Ruffalo. It comes from Bennett Miller, who directed Capote and Moneyball, and from Capote scribe Dan Futterman (a.k.a. the guy from The Birdcage—not Hank Azaria).
The new Alexander Payne-directed movie. He got close with The Descendants, so maybe this is his big one.
Saving Mr. Banks
Tom Hanks plays Walt Disney. Emma Thompson plays Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers. It's the story behind Mary Poppins. It could be treacly. It could be awesome. Hanks—one of the many busy movie stars next year—also has Somalian pirate drama Captain Phillips.
Oscar favorite Jason Reitman teams up with Oscar favorite Kate Winslet.
Twelve Years a Slave
A Steve McQueen movie based on a memoir of Solomon Northup, who was born free but then sold into slavery. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as the central character, and the film also features Pitt, Fassbender, and Quvenzhané Wallis. So, yeah.
The Wild Cards
Naomi Watts plays, you guessed it, Princess Diana. Recent British history has done well at the Oscars before—i.e. The Queen—but this could be a movie that's more about a single performance than anything else.
Grace of Monaco
Like Diana, this could be a one-woman show, with Nicole Kidman playing Princess Grace. Milo Ventimiglia's presence kind of gives you pause, too, even though he will never be forgotten as Jess from Gilmore Girls.
The Great Gatsby
So, it's making it the top on a lot of these Oscar 2014 lists, but it might be best to reserve judgment—we know, we know, "a matter of infinite hope" and all—until this thing gets closer to release. Remember, Gatsby was supposed to be in the 2013 Oscar cycle, but then Warner Bros. pushed it back, calling it "the perfect summer movie." Despite the depth of the source material and all, this Gatsby might just be a little flighty for Oscar. It is Baz Luhrmann, after all.
It's just so hard to tell with Lee Daniels. The film tells the story of a White House butler and features some of the strangest casting in recent memory: John Cusack plays Richard Nixon. Maybe it will be great. Maybe it will be camp. Maybe both. Maybe neither.