The Beginning of Oscar Season 2013

Now that the box office has gone through yet another turbulent summer, with some surprising hits (likeWorld War Z) and a surprisingly high number of misses (including White House Down and After Earth), it’s the time of year where smaller films and Oscar bait start to take over the weekly new releases at theaters around the country. So what can we expect to see through the rest of the year? Let’s take a look.

September

September’s box office starts out with a sequel that’s been in the works for nine years. Vin Diesel originally broke out as a star with Pitch Black back in 2000, but after follow-up The Chronicles of Riddick bombed, everyone moved on. Everyone, that is, except for Diesel and director David Twohy. After a few years of attempting to make Riddick as an independent film, Universal Studios finally approved making the sequel, complete with an R rating. Riddick comes out on Sept. 6.

Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. The two have each been the subject of gay rumors for years. Now, we get to see them on screen together in Prisoners, which follows two families and a detective as they try to find out what’s happened to two kidnapped young girls. In other words, if you were looking for some hot Jackman/Gyllenhaal action, stick to your fantasies. Prisoners comes out Sept. 20.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is one of the best examples of a child actor making it as an adult. He’s worked his way up through the indie film circuit to become a box office star. Now, he’s flexing his writing and directing skills – along with an impressively bulked-up body – with Don Jon. The film, which co-stars Scarlett Johansson and Juliette Moore, is all about sex, love, relationships and porn. Go ahead and mark your calendars for Sept. 27.

Chris Hemsworth came into fame as Thor, but we get to see him show off his acting chops more in Rush, which comes from Frost/Nixon director Ron Howard and writer Peter Morgan. The story is based on the 1976 Formula One season, which was highlighted by the rivalry between drivers James Hunt (Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl). Rush arrives in theaters Sept. 27.

October

Just going by the trailers, Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity is going to be intense. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney star as astronauts stranded in space with limited air once their space shuttle is destroyed. Gravitylands in theaters Oct. 4.

Oscar contender alert: Tom Hanks stars in Captain Phillips (out Oct. 11), a biopic of the captain taken hostage by Somali Pirates in 2009. The film comes from director Paul Greengrass (The Bourne Ultimatum), and buzz is already swelling for Hanks’ performance.

Chloë Grace Moretz takes on one of the most famous horror characters of all time when the remake ofCarrie unleashes on Oct. 18. The film, directed by Kimberly Peirce (Boys Don’t Cry), also stars Julianne Moore as Carrie’s overly religious mother. Even though Carrie is one of those iconic films that feels like it shouldn’t be remade, the casting and directing choices – along with the way school bullying has changed over the past few decades ­– makes this film a must-see.

November

After years of making duds like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Fool’s Gold, Matthew McConaughey has made a bit of a comeback over the past few years with a string of critically-acclaimed films like Mud andKiller Joe. Now he’s getting a lot of Oscar buzz for Dallas Buyers Club, based on a true story. McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a homophobic man who is diagnosed with HIV in 1986. He works with an HIV-positive, transgender woman (played by Jared Leto) to smuggle alternative HIV medications into the U.S. to extend his life past the 30 days given to him by doctors. Dallas Buysrs Club opens in theaters Nov. 1, expanding throughout November.

Fans of British films Four Weddings and a FuneralNotting Hill and Love, Actually will want to turn out for the newest film from writer/director Richard Curtis, who was responsible for all of those films. About Timestars Domhnall Gleeson as Tim, who discovers he can travel through time and change what has happened in his life, which he initially corrects by dating Mary (Rachel McAdams). When he accidentally erases their past, though, he has to work to win her back. About Time comes out November 1.

Marvel fans are already preparing for the next post-Avengers Marvel film, Thor: The Dark World. The film, which takes place a year after the events of The Avengers, finds Thor (Chris Hemsworth) battling to save the Nine Realms, reuniting with Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), and…well, dealing with the troublemaking Loki (Tom Hiddleston). Thor: The Dark World releases Nov. 8.

Are the odds still in her favor? Jennifer Lawrence returns to Panem in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, and with new characters, a new release timeframe for the series, and a new director (Francis Lawrence, taking over for Gary Ross), we’ll see if this new entry meets or exceeds the bar set by last year’s The Hunger GamesCatching Fire arrives in theaters on Nov. 22.

December

The Coen Brothers return with a new drama, Inside Llewyn Davis. The film follows Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac), a singer-songwriter involved in New York’s 1960s folk music scene. Among the co-stars: Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund and Justin Timberlake. Inside Llewyn Davis won the Grand Prix Award at Cannes earlier this year, and it arrives in theaters Dec. 6 in limited release, before expanding on Dec. 20.

Here’s what you need to know about August: Osage County. It’s based on the Pulitzer- and Tony-winning play of the same name. The all-star cast includes Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Abigail Breslin, Benedict Cumberbatch, Juliette Lewis, Margo Martindale, Dermot Mulroney, Julianne Nicholson, Sam Shepard and Misty Upham. In other words, you know there’s some Oscar baiting going on here. August: Osage County releases on Christmas Day, and if you love dealing with dysfunctional family members for the holidays, this is the film for you.

Writer/director David O. Russell brings together cast members from his last two films, Silver Linings Playbook (Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence) and The Fighter (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) inAmerican Hustle, based on a real FBI operation. Bale stars as Irving Rosenfeld, a con man forced to assist the FBI in their investigation of New Jersey’s underworld. American Hustle releases on Dec. 25.

Additional Upcoming Films (Dates Subject to Change)

Sept. 6             AustenlandSalinger

Sept. 13           Insidious Chapter 2, Jayne Mansfield’s Car

Sept. 20           Enough SaidBattle of the Year

Sept. 27           Baggage ClaimCloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2PopulaireHaute Cuisine

Oct. 4              Runner Runner

Oct. 11            Machete KillsRomeo and Juliet

Oct. 18            The Fifth Estate12 Years a SlaveEscape Plan

Oct. 25            The CounselorBlue Is the Warmest ColorJackass Presents: Bad Grandpa

Nov. 1             Last VegasEnder’s Game

Nov. 8             How I Live Now

Nov. 15           The Book ThiefThe Wolf of Wall Street

Nov. 22           The Delivery ManNebraska

Nov. 27           FrozenOldBoyBlack NativityHomefront

Nov. 29           Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

Dec. 13            The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas

Dec. 18            Monuments MenHer

Dec. 20            Walking with Dinosaurs: The 3D MovieFoxcatcherSaving Mr. BanksAnchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Dec. 25            The Secret Life of Walter MittyJack RyanLabor Day47 RoninGrudge Match

Dec. 27            Lone Survivor

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