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What to watch this awards season

Here’s what not to miss on the big screen from now until the Oscars 2020.

Joker (4 October)

The basics: Joaquin Phoenix gets stuck into the grease paint, Robert DeNiro basically reprises an old Scorsese character and director Todd Phillips is the man behind, um, The Hangover films?
Story in a sentence: A man disregarded by society lives out his dream of becoming a murderous clown
What’s the buzz? We’re surprised you can hear us over all the buzz around Joker. It received an 8-minute standing ovation when it premiered at Venice (imagine clapping for eight solid minutes) and its story of the 99% has caused an avalanche of think-pieces across the media
Key awards so far: Golden Lion at Venice (best film)
How to convince your mates: Just laugh creepily until they give in

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Sorry We Missed You (1 November)

The basics: Ken Loach and his writing partner Paul Laverty’s last film I, Daniel Blake was a searing social commentary in a similar vein to this; and look out for Kris Hitchen who’s getting rave reviews for his lead performance
Story in a sentence: The desperate struggle of a family man who takes a zero-hours job driving a delivery van
What’s the buzz? Writing for the Guardian, Peter Bradshaw described it as “fierce, open and angry, unironised and unadorned, about a vital contemporary issue whose implications you somehow don’t hear on the news”
Key awards so far: Nominated for the Palmes d’Or at Cannes (but lost to dark Korean comedy Parasite)
How to convince your mates: “It’ll be a nice, light-hearted break from Brexit”

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Awards article Sorry We Missed You

The Aeronauts (8 November)

The basics: Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne reunited! For the first time since Redmayne’s Oscar-winning turn opposite Jones in The Theory of Everything
Story in a sentence: A pilot and a meteorologist take to the skies in a hot air balloon in an attempt to go higher than anyone has ever been before - but it becomes a fight for survival up there
What’s the buzz? No one can get over the chemistry between Flick’n’Eddie - will they each get another Oscar nod from this high flying drama?
How to convince your mates: “Yeah, but when was the last time you watched a film about a hot air balloon?”

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The Good Liar (8 November)

The basics: Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren star in a film based on a novel by Nicholas Searle
Story in a sentence: Lifetime swindler Sir Ian tries to con widowed Dame Helen after meeting her online - only things aren’t what they seem to be
What’s the buzz? Sorry, did you not hear us say Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren are both in it?
How to convince your mates: “Sorry, did you not hear me say Sir Ian McKellen and Dame Helen Mirren are both in it?”

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Le Mans ‘66 (15 November)

The basics: Matt Damon and Christian Bale buddy up in this true story under the watchful eye of James Mangold who directed, among other legendary faves, Girl, Interrupted, Walk the Line and Logan
Story in a sentence: Ford hire Matt Damon and Christian Bale to create and drive a car that can beat Ferrari in the notoriously dangerous Le Mans race
What’s the buzz? Everyone’s feeling very heart-eye-emoji about Bale and Damon’s bickering and bantering double act
How to convince your mates: “No but you see it’s not even really about cars! It’s about friendship!!!”

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Awards article Le Mans '66

Knives Out (27 November)

The basics: Rian Johnson - you know, the guy who directed The Last Jedi and sci-fi twister Looper - doing an Agatha Christie style murder mystery, with Jamie Lee Curtis, Daniel Craig, Toni Collette, Lakeith Stanfield, Chris Evans and Christopher Plummer? Wild!
Story in a sentence: Wealthy crime novelist throws himself an 85th birthday party that becomes a meta-whodunnit when he winds up dead and his entire extended family are suspects
What’s the buzz? You don’t pull together that director, that cast and that story without raising a few intrigued eyebrows, and with Rian Johnson on board you know it won’t be your traditional murder-mystery
How to convince your mates: Not sure you’ll have to tbh. But “Star Wars meets Agatha Christie” might come in handy

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Motherless Brooklyn (6 December)

The basics: Not content with writing, producing and directing this film, Edward Norton is also starring in it - he’s enlisted Bruce Willis as his co-star. And it’s based on the Jonathan Lethem novel of the same name.
Story in a sentence: A private detective with Tourette syndrome must solve the case of his mentor’s death, navigating the grimy locale of 1950s NYC
What’s the buzz? The noirish mystery is just as much about the gentrification of New York and the pursuit of power as it is a tense crime thriller
How to convince your mates: “Radiohead man Thom Yorke’s done a song for it”

Motherless Brooklyn is out 6 December, find out more here

Awards article Motherless Brooklyn

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (6 December)

The basics: Tom Hanks stars as beloved children’s entertainer Mister Rogers. Director Marielle Heller is responsible for Diary of a Teenage Girl and Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Story in a sentence: A grizzled, cynical old journalist begrudgingly accepts an assignment to profile Mister Rogers, not realising the experience will completely change his life
What’s the buzz? Based on an astonishing profile in Esquire (spoilers), reviewers have described this as a biopic but not as you know it. “A warm hug”, “emotionally intelligent”, “authentic”, “heartfelt” - and many, many calls for Tom Hanks to win an Oscar (which would be his third!)
How to convince your mates: “Tom Hanks is in it.”

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is out 6 December, find out more here