Hoping to capitalise on the (pardon the pun) stellar success of Gravity at this year's ceremony, I'm sure Christopher Nolan and the rest of the Interstellar team are hoping for several nominations. A veritable slew of technical awards will no doubt be forthcoming, whilst the twin peaks of Best Picture and Best Director for Nolan are a distinct possibility.
Is Gone Girl too dark and depressing a prospect for award season glory? I'm not sure. This twisted little tale certainly shows off some acting chops in a taut and unforgettable thriller. Of the two leads, I think Rosamund Pike is more likely to feature for her frankly stunning role as Amy but there's every chance that Ben Affleck might get noticed too. There's also the chance of Supporting nominations for Tyler Perry and Carrie Coon.
The Imitation Game is a pretty surefire bet (especially for the BAFTAs). Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as bona fide genius Alan Turing has been mentioned as a potential award winner since it was first seen. Keira Knightley might also get another shot at the Oscar, playing Joan Clarke. It may get a Best Picture nod too.
If you thought this year's results were a shock (elevating Matthew McConaughey from romcom lunk to Oscar-winning actor), then next year might see something equally strange: Channing Tatum as an Oscar nominee. Foxcatcher ticks a lot of award category boxes: based on a true story, with Tatum, Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo all playing real-life people. Directed by Bennett Miller, who has had awards success with Capote and Moneyball, it's likely to sweep the top categories with Carell's turn as troubled millionaire John du Pont a virtual lock.
If you go down to the woods today, you're in for a big surprise... Musicals have had something of a renaissance at the Oscars in the last few years, so expect to see Rob Marshall's take on Sondheim's Into The Woods feature. Will it net Meryl Streep an unparalleled 19th Oscar nomination for her role as the Witch? I'm not sure. But Marshall was nominated for his direction of Chicago and that film also swooped in to win, so anything is possible.
Other films that might get a look in:
Mr. Turner saw Timothy Spall win Best Actor at this year's Cannes Film Festival, which boosts his chances of an Oscar nod somewhat. It's perhaps an outside chance for Best Picture or Best Director, but Mike Leigh has been nominated for Best Screenplay a few times, so that's a possibility.
Joining Spall and Cumberbatch in the Best Actor nominations (almost definitely at the BAFTAs and even possibly for the Oscars) could be Eddie Redmayne who has been winning critical acclaim for his role as Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything.
Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall might get acting nods (Duvall as Supporting Actor, Downey Jr as lead) for their roles in The Judge. Critical opinion seems to be that they are great in an uneven script so one or both may be nominated.
Julianne Moore, who is criminally underrated in some quarters, is gaining Oscar buzz for her lead role in Still Alice, as a linguistics professor who receives a devastating diagnosis.
Reese Witherspoon could be aiming for her second Best Actress Oscar nomination and win for her performance in Wild, playing Cheryl Strayed, a woman who underwent an 1100-mile solo hike as a way to recover from a recent catastrophe. This could also see Laura Dern get a Best Supporting Actress nod as Cheryl's mum.
Big Eyes might seem like an odd Tim Burton project but this drama about one of the art world's biggest frauds (for years, Walter Keane passed off the work of his wife Margaret as his own) boasts some serious acting power with Amy Adams and Christoph Waltz signed on. Perhaps another one where the acting talent reaps the benefits?
The big blockbusters will be consigned to the technical awards as usual- sterling films like Guardians Of The Galaxy and not-so-sterling ones like Transformers: Age Of Extinction will crowd out Sound Editing and Visual Effects. But with the release of the final Hobbit film, could The Battle Of The Five Armies see a Lord Of The Rings-like sweep at next year's Oscars? Be interesting to see.
The timetable for the major awards in 2015 is as follows:
Film Independent Spirit Awards
Nominations announced: 25th November 2015
Awards Ceremony: 21st February 2015
Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award
Nominations Announced: 10th December 2014
Awards Ceremony: 25th January 2015
Nominations announced: 11th December 2014
Awards Ceremony: 11th January 2014 (hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler)
Producers' Guild Of America (PGA) Award
Nominations Announced: 5th January 2015
Awards Ceremony: 24th January 2015
Writers' Guild Of America (WGA) Award
Nominations Announced: 7th January 2015
Awards Ceremony: 14th February 2015
Directors' Guild Of America (DGA) Award
Nominations Announced: 13th January 2015
Awards Ceremony: 7th February 2015
BAFTA Film Awards
Nominations announced: 9th January 2015
Awards Ceremony: 8th February 2015
Golden Raspberry Awards (Razzies)
Nominations Announced: 14th January 2015
Awards Ceremony: 21st February 2015
Academy Awards (Oscars)
Nominations announced: 15th January 2015
Awards Ceremony: 22nd February 2015 (hosted by Neil Patrick Harris)
As you can see, the Independent Spirit Award nominations are out today. This blog was written before I saw the nominations. A post will follow shortly.