Almost three-quarters of 2015 is behind us.  And yet, to the knowing film fan, the best time of the film year is just getting started. With just over two and a half months left, AE’s 2015 Fall Film Preview discusses the films we’re most excited about seeing and makes some awards season predictions:

David Shreve, Jr.

Bridge of Spies

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Movie to Get Excited About – Bridge of Spies
Release Date: October 4th, 2015

There probably isn’t a safer bet in movie history. Between Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, Bridge of Spies’ recipe for success starts with two of the most high-end and reliable ingredients that the history of cinema has had to offer. The movie marks another swipe at a big historical chapter for Spielberg, and though John Williams isn’t on board for this one, being replaced  by Thomas Newman, there’s nothing in Spielberg’s filmography to suggest that this will be anything short of a great experience.

Bold Prediction: The Phrase “Even Though” Will Be Repeated Throughout Awards Season

Jennifer Lawrence will be an Oscar contender “even though” the online film community will largely dislike David O. Russell’s Joy. The Hateful Eight might win Quentin Tarantino his coveted and record-tying third screenplay Oscar even though the film will likely end up being considered minor QT. Bryan Cranston and Michael Fassbender will become Best Actor front runners even though film fans all over the web are attempting to make this Oscar Season Leonardo DiCaprio’s long-awaited Academy coronation. And some other film will win Best Picture, even though Mad Max: Fury Road exists.

Beth Reynolds 

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Walt DIsney Studios Motion Pictures

Movie to Get Excited About – Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Release Date: December 18th, 2015

This isn’t the last time you’ll see a Star Wars prediction on this post, but I can’t dampen my excitement, I can only shout first and loudest. The logical, disappointed child in me is trying to keep my expectations in check due to the colossal disappointment of the prequels, but this film just feels so damn good. The cast, the director, the trailers, every note is in tune so far, and I have the highest of hopes that the end result is a harmonious symphony that fills all of our hearts with the joy we deserved last round.

Bold Prediction: Blanchett Takes Home an Oscar, and DiCaprio Loses Yet Again

Cate Blanchett has doubled her chances for an Oscar this year, so it’s not exactly a bold prediction to claim she’ll snag one for either Carol or Truth. I’m hoping it’s Carol, because I’ve been excited about that one all year. Leo’s continuous uphill battle for an Oscar is only going to get steeper after this year, because although he’s sure to turn out another gripping performance, he’s almost become predictable at this point. I’d love to see someone come out of left field and take it this year. Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight, anyone?

Grace Porter

The Revenant

20th Century Fox

Movie to Get Excited About – The Revenant
Release Date: December 25th, 2015

Inspired by the real-life story of early 19th century mountaineer Hugh Glass and based on the novel of the same title, originally penned by Michael Punke, The Revenant looks worthy of the title of Best Picture of 2015. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu has gotten some bad press over the film; he’s been accused of inhumane working conditions and unrealistic expectations, primarily over his decision to shoot in sequence, only using natural light, and filming in frigid conditions, going so far as to force the cast and crew to uproot from established shooting locations in search of even more snow, but his meticulous, precise methods have historically paid off. Though I was underwhelmed by Birdman, I don’t think that will be possible this time around. Iñárritu promises audiences will be wowed, and by the looks of the trailer, I’m betting so, too.

Bold Prediction: The Revenant Won’t Win DiCaprio Glory and Star Wars Will Be Average

I’ll give you two; The Revenant still won’t be Leo’s ticket to an Oscar, as I think it’s more likely playing infamous serial killer Dr. HH Holmes will be his Best Actor win, and Star Wars will be average at best. While I’m hoping for better, it won’t be earth-shatteringly good, or bad, but I really hope I’m wrong on both counts.

Richard Newby 

Creed

Warner Bros.

Movie to Get Excited About – Creed
Release Date: November 25th, 2015

I’m a huge fan of the Rocky franchise, but there are only so many times we can watch Balboa climb into the ring before the formula gets stale. Creed ingeniously looks to give us a fresh perspective on boxing while respecting the long legacy of the series. With Ryan Coogler behind the camera and Michael B. Jordan front and center, I fully expect this to be the boxing event of the decade. Bring the tissues and begin the chant. Creed is about to go the distance.

Bold Prediction: Star Wars Will Dethrone at Least One James Cameron Film

We’ve been building to this folks, and anticipation is reaching feverish heights. I mean there was a midnight release for toys! If Jurassic World can make $1,663,820,751, and counting, from a combination of nostalgia, well-placed star power, and childlike wonder, The Force Awakens can surely climb well into the $2 billion range. The force is strong with this one.

Sean Fallon

The Hateful Eight

The Weinstein Company

Movie to Get Excited About – The Hateful Eight

Release Date: December 25th, 2015

Every few years Tarantino releases a movie and restores my faith in cinema. 2015 has already been a great movie year so to finish with a QT film is like having a fantastic meal and ending with an amazing dessert.

Bold Prediction: Star Wars is Going to Make the Blind See and the Lame Walk

My prediction might be a little too bold, but I have confidence from the scant few minutes of footage we’ve seen. To hear the creators talk about it and to see the passion from the actors old and new. I can’t wait, and I have faith.

Diego Crespo

The Night Before

Columbia Pictures

Movie to Get Excited About – The Night Before
Release Date: November 25th, 2015

With Jonathan Levine’s trackrecord ranging from hidden coming-of-age gems like The Wackness and the hilarious, yet somber, 50/50 details a specific tone other directors have trouble nailing down. The cast chemistry in his films is affable and his films are direct in what they intend to share with the audience. With a cast comprised of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anthony Mackie, and Seth Rogen, three people who perform a Kanye West song in the opening of the trailer, the hype levels proceeding this film are far too low. With any luck, this will be the best Christmas movie since Iron Man 3 and A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas.

Bold Prediction: Star Wars Will Make Literally All the Money

Star Wars is going to make all money. By all money, I mean this movie is going to make enough money to finance a small country. There’s no doubt in my mind that it won’t make less than two billion dollars and possibly even three billion. It’s a worldwide phenomenon on par with the most popular religions sharing inspiration from its teachings and flaws from the fanbase vitriol. And here we are with the seventh entry in a franchise which can only boast three movies ranging from great to masterpieces. The other three range from awful to disappointing. Therefore, I predict a hearty three billion once all is said and done.

Josh Rosenfield

Carol

The Weinstein Company

Movie to Get Excited About – Carol
Release Date: November 20th, 2015

As if the promise of director Todd Haynes teaming up with Cate Blanchett wasn’t enough, just take a look at the trailer for this film. Those colors! Those costumes! The imagery looks insanely sumptuous, and Haynes’ name promises an intelligent and unique take on the material.

Bold Prediction: Star Wars Turns Out Fine

Not a wave of pure healing light. Not a monstrous tragedy from which humanity will never recover. Just a perfect alright space adventure. Some amusing call-backs, some solid action, some clunky dialogue, all in all an okay film.

Ryan MacLean 

Crimson Peak

Universal Pictures

Movie to Get Excited About – Crimson Peak
Release Date: October 16th, 2015

No one can pull off gothic horror quite like Guillermo Del Toro. I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly not be interested in seeing his insane, gorgeous-looking, full period setting ghost story. The fabulous and creepy Victorian vibe that Crimson Peak has got going on is such a treat for the eyes that I can imagine it attracting horror fans and non-horror fans alike. From what we’ve seen, the story looks pretty standard but del Toro’s storytelling chops should not be underestimated at a mere first glance. Storytelling aside, this is without a doubt going to be one of the most celebrated visual spectacles of the year. Gothic horror is not something we are treated to often so everyone should accept this as the gift it is.

Bold Prediction: My Love for Vin Diesel Will Make The Last Witch Hunter Awesome

I don’t think it is even possible for any sane person to look at this movie starring precious cinnamon roll Vin Diesel as an immortal witch hunter and not think “this is something I need to see immediately.” There is sure to be much growling and grunting on the part of Mr. Diesel as he dispatches various witches and hellspawn. The trailer appears to the simultaneously the most silly, awesome, maybe a little campy, movie of the fall season and I for one can’t wait. At the very least it is fair to expect some fun action fun action beats as well as Vin’s wacky old time-y costume which features an amazing beard. 

Anton Reyes

Macbeth

The Weinstein Company

Movie to Get Excited About – Macbeth 
Release Date: December 4th, 2015

All hail Macbeth who shall be king of the 2015 year in film. That’s wild speculation on my part, but my anticipation for Macbeth cannot be contained. What the trailer showed us in terms of cinematography and set design was fantastic and the tone and screenplay look to be something I can immerse myself for two hours. Fassbender and Cotillard are on top of their game right now, so with them, I feel like we’re going to get an intense and dramatic adaptation of my favourite Shakespeare tragedy.

Bold Prediction: I’ll Bet My Roundup Puns Fassbender Wins Best Actor

It’s time Fassbender got that golden statue. Not only does he have the acting prowess to pull it off, but he’s backed by director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin in Steve Jobs, so he’s got an advantage going in, and I think we’re all praying that Redmayne doesn’t steal this one.

Jason Ooi 

Anomalisa

Paramount Pictures

Movie to Get Excited About – Anomalisa
Release Date: December 30th, 2015

Charlie Kaufman’s imagination knows no bounds. With Anomalisa, his crowd-funded stop-motion film, there is nothing within the realm of reality to hold him back. Synecdoche, New York is my favorite movie of all time, but if there is one criticism about it that I can respect, it is that Kaufman’s indulgence occasionally glimmers. We definitely see an increase in accessibility for his projects when he collaborates, rather than heads; here, he works with Duke Johnson. Lastly, it is about a man against the oddness of life – a sentiment that Kaufman should surely be able to understand and convey.

Bold Prediction: Anomalisa Will Beat Inside Out for Best Animated Feature
 
If there’s one thing that can beat the Disney-Pixar juggernaut come Oscar season, it is Anomalisa, which may undoubtedly be the better quality movie. The fulfillment of this prediction might just be enough to replenish my hope in the Oscar committee as well.

Sara Grasberg (Redhead at the Movies)

Krampus

Universal Pictures

Movie to Get Excited About – Krampus
Release Date: December 4th, 2015

Who doesn’t love a good campy, comedic horror movie, especially set around the holidays, given that Christmas carries its own kind of built-in tension, thanks to family members quarreling about everything from snowy weather to home cooking. And with a cast that includes Toni Collette, Adam Scott, and David Koechner doing all of the above while stuck in a house after the titular Christmas demon is summoned, this movie could prove to be this generation’s Gremlins, only quite a bit scarier from the looks of the trailer.

Bold Prediction: Sisters Will Be a Worthy Comedy Competitor to Star Wars

Everyone loves Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, especially when paired together as the leads in a crazy, female-centric comedy that, on any other release date, might fare quite well, just like BridesmaidsTrainwreck, and any other triumphantly successful female-led comedies that have come before. Only problem is, that comedy this time around is Sisters, and it’s set to be released the same day as Star Wars: The Force Awakens. That’s some pretty steep competition to face at the box office, to be sure, but hopefully that just means that the success of the dynamic duo’s latest endeavor comes gradually, but no less impressively.

Sean K. Cureton

The Hallow

Entertainment One

Movie to Get Excited About – The Hallow
Release Date: November 6th, 2015

From first-time writer and director Corin Hardy, this new British-Irish horror film centers around a young English couple who stumble upon an expanse of haunted woods in an isolated region of Ireland where the conservationist husband has been tasked with surveying the territory for interested residential parties back home. However, the wooded landscape is home to certain malevolent beings superstitiously referred to as “the Hallow,” anient forces that begin to prey on the man’s wife and new-born child. With the approval of seminal, contemporary genre filmmaker Edgar Wright in his corner already, Hardy might just have a real success on his hands when his directorial debut sees release in theaters and on VOD in the U.S., and should at least tide independent horror fans over until the wide release of The Witch early next year.

Bold Prediction: Inside Out Wins Best Picture

There’s precedent for multiple Best Picture nominees canceling one another out and paving the way for an underdog victory. In 2013, the Ben Affleck-directed Argo beat out Silver Linings PlaybookBeasts of the Southern Wild, and Zero Dark Thirty, despite being a route, albeit capable, popcorn thriller. With Mad Max: Fury Road more than likely to be snubbed, Disney and Pixar’s latest might just have the legs to become the first animated feature film to win best picture.