From awards season hopefuls to family blockbusters, these are the movies to see before the end of the year.
Awards season kicks off just before autumn officially arrives and with it comes the year's strongest hopefuls for awards contention. Plus, potential family hits and a few studio leftovers pack the busy movie release calendar leading up to the busy holiday season. Overwhelmed by what's hitting the big screen? Don't worry, here's a look at the 46 films that should live up to their must-see status!
Dir. Pierre Morel
Starring Jennifer Garner, Richard Cabral, Tyson Ritter
The Scoop: Though she's become a go-to social media presence thanks to her charming Instagram account, Jennifer Garner has a lot of ass to kick in Peppermint, a revenge action flick from the director of the original Taken film.
Dir. Corin Hardy
Starring Taissa Farmiga, Demián Bichir, Bonnie Aarons
The Scoop: Easily one of the scariest characters to hit screens in recent years, the scary Nun from The Conjuring 2 is getting her own origin film. If The Conjuring franchise has anywhere to go, this is definitely the right direction.
A SIMPLE FAVOR
Dir. Paul Feig
Starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Rupert Friend
The Scoop: The promo trailer and poster promise the film will be darker that previous Paul Feig films, but even if it doesn't live up to its Gone Girl vibes, it'll be fun to see stars Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively together.
Dir. Shane Black
Starring Jacob Tremblay, Olivia Munn, Thomas Jane
The Scoop: Though no one asked for this continuation of the film classic, it looks like it'll be a fun sci-fi thrill ride. With director Shane Black at the helm , it'll at least be punched-up enough to fill any void left by not having a sequel to The Nice Guys (yet).
Dir. Craig William Macneill
Starring Chloe Sevigny, Kristen Stewart, Kim Dickens
The Scoop: This psychological thriller was a hit at this year's Sundance Film Festival and gives the old tale a dark and twisted spin. Plus, Kristen Stewart has proved in recent years that she's an acting force with whom to be reckoned.
I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW
Dir. Reed Morano
Starring Elle Fanning, Peter Dinklage, Charlotte Gainsbourg
The Scoop: The cast features a dynamic cast and the director, Reed Morano, is fresh off of a successful awards season for TV's The Handmaid's Tale. This apocalyptic drama should live up to its cult-like hype and hopefully serve as another stepping stone for Elle Fanning's eventual Hollywood takeover.
Dir. Michael Moore
Starring Donald J. Trump, Michael Moore
The Scoop: Director Michael Moore is known for his provocative looks at American culture in his past documentaries and his newest doesn't seem to falter at all, taking a microscope to what Trump has done to the U.S. since he was elected in 2016.
Dir. Wash Westmoreland
Starring Keira Knightley, Dominic West, Fiona Shaw
The Scoop: This period drama did a surprise early festival run, with screenings at Sundance, and it looks like a return to form for its star, Keira Knightley. Could she sneak into the awards season race? We'll see!
THE HOUSE WITH A CLOCK IN ITS WALLS
Dir. Eli Roth
Starring Jack Black, Cate Blanchett, Kyle MacLachlan
The Scoop: With a high profile cast, this looks like it could either be a huge hit that'll no doubt spark a franchise, or it could go the way of that Lemony Snicket film and get lost in the pantheon of family-focused fantasy thrillers. Our money is on the former.
THE OLD MAN & THE GUN
Dir. David Lowery
Starring Robert Redford, Sissy Spacek, Elisabeth Moss
The Scoop: Not only does the film look great, but this marks Robert Redford's retirement from acting. His final role has great company, with the likes of Sissy Spacek and Elisabeth Moss in the cast alongside him.
Dirs. Karey Kirkpatrick, Jason Reisig
Starring Zendaya, Gina Rodriguez, Channing Tatum
The Scoop: Animated films of late have been hit-or-miss when it comes to quality, but Smallfoot seems to have the charm that'll have it near the top of the box office charts for most of the fall.
HOLD THE DARK
Dir. Jeremy Saulnier
Starring Alexander Skarsgard, Riley Keough, James Badge Dale
The Scoop: Director Jeremy Saulnier has proven in the past to have what it takes to craft a slow-burning thriller. Here, Alexander Skarsgard comes off of his love from Big Little Lies to play a writer hired to track down a missing child. It has a lot of Prisoners-like vibes going for it.
A STAR IS BORN
Dir. Bradley Cooper
Starring Bradley Cooper, Lady Gaga, Sam Elliott
The Scoop: This is easily the year's most-anticipated film. Buzz is that it sticks the landing and should be a huge awards contender. The trailer alone is enough of an emotional punch to cause applause in theaters. This is the fourth outing for this story on the big screen and with names like Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand having filled the role before her, Lady Gaga has a lot to live up to. We have faith in her. Have you seen that trailer? Goosebumps.
THE HAPPY PRINCE
Dir. Rupert Everett
Starring Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Emily Watson
The Scoop: It's the month of actor-directors as Rupert Everett jumps behind the camera here and stars in the film, a la Bradley Cooper in A Star is Born. This Oscar Wilde tale has earned generous buzz, mostly for its biting screenplay and grand performances.
Dir. Damien Chazelle
Starring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Kyle Chandler
The Scoop: Marking Damien Chazelle's first film since the blockbuster La La Land, this Neil Armstrong biopic stars his musical leading man, Ryan Gosling. If it weren't for the A Star is Born buzz, this would be the year's most-anticipated. Early buzz is that it needs to be seen in IMAX for the full effect.
THE KINDERGARTEN TEACHER
Dir. Sara Colangelo
Starring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Gael García Bernal, Rosa Salazar
The Scoop: The reason to see this? Maggie Gyllenhaal's performance. It's the kind of raw talent she's shown before, but hopefully it'll result in a much-earned Oscar nomination. Can't believe she's never won? Neither can we!
BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
Dir. Drew Goddard
Starring Chris Hemsworth, Nick Offerman, Jon Hamm
The Scoop: Talk about an ensemble cast! This has a ton of names involved, which can sometimes be overwhelming and result in a messy film. But, the craft is clear in the trailer. It may not become an awards contender (though that would be fun), but it looks like an action-packed great time at the cinema.
Dir. Felix Van Groeningen
Starring Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, Maura Tierney
The Scoop: Ever since Timothée Chalamet took the awards season by storm last year with his performance in Call Me By Your name, we've all been eager to see what he had next on the books. This based-on-a-true-story flick looks to bring him back to the Oscar ceremony, with Steve Carell by his side. The film looks heartbreaking and inspiring, exactly what you want out of the Academy Award drama. It's like this year's Ordinary People.
Dir. Gareth Evans
Starring Dan Stevens, Michael Sheen, Lucy Boynton
The Scoop: It's going to Netflix, but that doesn't mean it still won't pack a punch. This thriller is about a religious cult and a kidnapping, two ingredients for a dar, twisted adventure.
THE HATE U GIVE
Dir. George Tillman Jr.
Starring Amandla Stenberg, K.J. Apa, Anthony Mackie
The Scoop: The trailer has ignited some early buzz and Amandla Stenberg is on the verge of A-list status. Will this film fit into the awards season conversation? We'll see. With so many voices sharing fresh perspectives on relevant topics, this movie has never been more timely. It helps it's based on a bestselling book, which means a built-in audiences will flock to see it, as well.
Dir. David Gordon Green
Starring Jamie Lee Curtis, Judy Greer, Will Patton
The Scoop: Director David Gordon Green has built quite the resume. Here he tackles a new chapter in the historic horror franchise. From the trailer, it looks stellar and Jamie Lee Curtis seems to fill her most famous character's shoes as if she'd never taken them off. If there was a most-anticipated horror film this decade, this is it. Like the filmmakers, true fans will find it easy to pretend those awful sequels never existed.
Dir. Paul Dano
Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Carey Mulligan, Ed Oxenbould
The Scoop: There are several levels of masterpiece filmmaking alive here, with performances from Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal and the first directing outing for the uber-talented actor Paul Dano. Could this be the year's underrated awards darling?
CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Dir. Marielle Heller
Starring Melissa McCarthy, Alice Kremelberg, Richard E. Grant
The Scoop: Melissa McCarthy is need of a career boost with a pedigree drama and this could be it. While she's super funny and even her lesser projects still leave you with laughs, taking that next step to really show off her chops has been a long time coming. This looks to be her The Truman Show.
Dir. Jonah Hill
Starring Sunny Suljic, Katherine Waterston, Lucas Hedges
The Scoop: This is Jonah Hill's first time directing and writing a picture and it looks super gritty and real and just the kind of thing you'd expect from A24, the company behind it. Shot in a full-frame fashion, very 90's, there's a lot riding on this debut. We're expecting it to hit a lot of the nostalgic marks it needs to connect with those of us who grew up in the mid-90's.
Dir. Bryan Singer
Starring Rami Malek, Joseph Mazzello, Mike Myers
The Scoop: The first trailer earned the film early praise for star Rami Malek's resemblance to Freddie Mercury, the lead singer of Queen. The film has earned its own set of controversies for how the trailers have managed Mercury's sexuality and his diagnosis with AIDs. Hopefully, it's one of those come-for-the-music-stay-for-theacting biopics.
Dir. Luca Guadagnino
Starring Dakota Johnson, Tilda Swinton, Mia Goth
The Scoop: Coming off of his excellent Call Me By Your Name, director Luca Guadagnino has decided to tackle a classic 70's horror flick with a remake worthy of artistic interpretation. The footage is rumored to be so disgusting and brilliant that audience members at festivals have fled the theater. Sign us up!
Dir. Joel Edgerton
Starring Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, Russell Crowe
The Scoop: Consider this the year of Timothée Chalamet and Lucas Hedges, as the two young actors should end up in the Oscar race, again. Hedges stars in this film as a gay teen sent to Christian conversion camp. Nicole Kidman also looks like a potential Oscar nominee for her role as the torn and determined mom.
A PRIVATE WAR
Dir. Matthew Heineman
Starring Rosamund Pike, Jamie Dornan, Stanley Tucci
The Scoop: Biopics reign supreme this year and this one seems as if it is one of the better options. Rosamund Pike re-enters the awards race after Gone Girl as the real-life Marie Colvin, a wartime correspondent. With the current war against the press raging in Washington, this film feels very timely in reminding all of us the role the press has in telling the stories that deserve to be heard.
THE FRONT RUNNER
Dir. Jason Reitman
Starring Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, Molly Ephraim
The Scoop: There's another politically-tinged drama coming out later (Backseat), but this one should fill the void until then. It's said to have an awards-friendly performance from Hugh Jackman, someone who's yet to find the perfect Oscar role.
Dirs. Yarrow Cheney, Scott Mosier
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch
The Scoop: There is a trailer, and it packs some great laughs, but there hasn't been much else released, including a full cast list. We're not sold on Benedict Cumberbatch as the titular, lovable villain, but we'll give it a shot.
Dir. Steve McQueen
Starring Viola Davis, Carrie Coon, Liam Neeson
The Scoop: This is Steve McQueen's first film since 12 Years a Slave and it cold go two separate ways: stellar prestige drama or flashy mainstream crime thriller. Either would be great, but coming from McQueen it could find a sweet spot somewhere in the middle and be a box office giant and awards season contender.
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Dirs. Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Starring James Franco, Tyne Daly, Tim Blake Nelson
The Scoop: Originally set as a Netflix anthology series, the project has been edited into an anthology film. It'll make the festival circuit before it's available to mainstream audiences, which will give plenty of time to find out whether or not the wait for the next Coen brothers' film was worth it.
RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
Dirs. Phil Johnston, Rich Moore
Starring John C. Reilly, Kelly Macdonald, Kristen Bell
The Scoop: The first outing for the titular Ralph was a box office hit, so of course Disney is bringing him back. The big sell this go around is that a much-publicized appearance by all of the Disney princesses will be well worth the watch.
Dir. Peter Farrelly
Starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
The Scoop: There wasn't much known about this project until the first image was released. This late-in-the-season title should make for an interesting awards launch. It'll be fun especially seeing Mahershala Ali back on the big screen after his award-winning turn in Moonlight.
Dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Starring Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Olivia Colman
The Scoop: This has been a buzzed-about feature for a while, in the works since before director Yorgos Lanthimos' Killing of a Sacred Deer last year. The trailer is highly entertaining and rides somewhere between costume drama and caricature goodness. Olivia Colman looks to be stealing the show here with a mean and delicious turn before she heads over to Netflix's The Crown as the Queen in the next couple of seasons.
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
Dir. Barry Jenkins
Starring KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King
The Scoop: A lot is riding on Barry Jenkins' followup to Moonlight and, so far, it looks beautiful. There are waves of buzz that leans more negative, saying the undertaking of the James Baldwin novel was more than Jenkins could handle. Fingers crossed this is a winner and not a path for Jenkins like Lee Daniels followed after the success of Precious.
MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS
Dir. Josie Rourke
Starring Margot Robbie, Saoirse Ronan, David Tennat
The Scoop: The season's other costume drama looks to be more serious than The Favourite. The most striking aspect of the trailer is Margot Robbie's dip into makeup territory like other Oscar winners before her.
UNDER THE SILVER LAKE
Dir. David Robert Mitchell
Starring Andrew Garfield, Riley Keough, Jimmi Simpson
The Scoop: David Robert Mitchell's flashiest had its world premiere at Cannes earlier this year, where it earned mediocre-to-positive reviews. It was supposed to be released this summer, but was pushed to late in the year, either as an awards-friendly move, or to give the filmmakers time to re-edit. It clocks in at over 2 hours, slo maybe that's for the best.
BEN IS BACK
Dir. Peter Hedges
Starring Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Kathryn Newton
The Scoop: This was just announced a few months ago and filmed this summer, so the turnaround is quick, but early word is that Lucas Hedges is gunning for an Oscar here (potentially earning a double nomination this year for this and Boy Erased), and hopefully a return for Julia Roberts, who hasn't given us much since her Oscar nominated performance in August: Osage County.
Dir. Adam McKay
Starring Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell
The Scoop: Christian Bale did another weight gain for this role as Dick Cheney, but most will be watching for Amy Adams' turn as his wife in, hopefully, her Oscar-winning performance (she's been nominated so many times). This isn't the last biopic of the year (that comes on Christmas Day), but this is the most-anticipated since director Adam McKay's last film, The Big Sick, was a huge awards hit.
MARY POPPINS RETURNS
Dir. Rob Marshall
Starring Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Lin-Manuel Miranda
The Scoop: Emily Blunt fills the shoes left open by Julie Andrews, but the original Mary Poppins has given her blessing. Rob Marshall is no stranger to Christmastime hits, with Into the Woods on his resume, but this seems more charming and more family-friendly.
Dir. Susanne Bier
Starring Sandra Bullock, Sarah Paulson, John Malkovich
The Scoop: It's going the Netflix route, so there's no telling whether or not this will get an awards-qualifying release on the big screen, but Sandra Bullock in a dramatic role will always turn up an audience. This looks similar to The Road, which is a good thing. Plus, it returns Bullock and Sarah Paulson to the same flick since this summer's box office hit Ocean's 8.
WELCOME TO MARWEN
Dir. Robert Zemeckis
Starring Steve Carell, Leslie Mann, Janelle Monáe
The Scoop: Robert Zemeckis gave us Forrest Gump and a number of performance-capture flicks and Welcome to Marwen should fit that mould. The first trailer brought about a resounding chorus of naysayers, but we're holding out that the inspiring story gets the film it deserves. Steve Carell is always a joy to watch and Janelle Monáe has been somewhat of a lucky charm in the recent past with films like Moonlight and Hidden Figures scattered on her resume.
HOLMES AND WATSON
Dir. Etan Cohen
Starring Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Kelly Macdonald
The Scoop: Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly have become quite the comedic duo. Enough years have passed since Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes to allot for a new tale of the masterful detective. With Ferrell's wit, this could be a holiday season classic.
ON THE BASIS OF SEX
Dir. Mimi Leder
Starring Felicity Jones, Armie Hammer, Kathy Bates
The Scoop: The documentary, RBJ, was a summer box office hit, so this biopic about the judge should bode well. Felicity Jones could earn her second Oscar nomination with her performance as the judge at a young age.
Dir. Karyn Kusama
Starring Nicole Kidman, Sebastian Stan, Toby Kebbell
The Scoop: Nicole Kidman's last hope for Oscar gold this season sees her as an L.A. police detective. Early word is that the film is a punch to the gut drama and completely Kidman's tour de force.