Film critic Dominic Corry celebrates, clarifies and justifies his love for all things movie.

Dominic Corry: Will these movies be Oscar winners?

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The release this week of both Hacksaw Ridge and The Light Between Oceans signifies the beginning of the unofficial awards season - when the studios roll out their best hopes at gaining Oscar glory.

Here's a quick look at the contenders, and what their Oscar chances currently look like.

Hacksaw Ridge (out now)

Mel Gibson's film about a pacifist (Andrew Garfield) going to war is getting the kind of reviews that all but ensure Oscar glory. The general enmity towards Gibson for his personal failings is clearly cooling, or at the very least, being wholly outshone by the film's reception.

Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson.
Andrew Garfield in Hacksaw Ridge, directed by Mel Gibson.

Oscar Chances: Looking pretty good.

The Light Between Oceans (out now)

This New Zealand-shot, Australian-set period drama didn't quite generate the kind of critical heat it may have been aiming for when it was released in America two months ago, but lead actors Michael Fassbender and Alicia Vikander both received a lot of praise.

Oscar Chances: Once thought to be a serious contender, this will probably have to settle for acting nominations.

Nocturnal Animals (November 10th)

Tom Ford's eagerly anticipated follow-up to 2009's A Single Man charmed festival audiences with its multi-layered narrative, but it remains to be seen if the general public will warm to it. The stellar cast (Amy Adams, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Shannon, Armie Hammer) should help.

Oscar Chances: Medium cool. The film is clearly amazing, but perhaps a little challenging for Oscar. Adams seems a shoe-in, however.

Allied (November 24th)

This World War II espionage drama starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard was briefly caught up in the media frenzy surrounding Pitt's separation from Angelina Jolie. Despite the heavyweight talent involved - Oscar-winner Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump) is directing - it seems unlikely that this film will be able to outrun its unfortunate tabloid association.

Oscar Chances: Dim.

The Founder (November 24th)

Producer/mogul Harvey Weinstein really knows how deliver an Oscar winner, and this year he's throwing his considerable weight behind a biopic about Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton), the man who gave the world McDonalds.

Oscar Chances: Most of the awards buzz around this film centres on Keaton's performance.

Elle (December 22nd)

This dark French-language film starring the great Isabelle Huppert marks something of a comeback for celebrated Dutch director Paul Verhoeven (Basic Instinct, Robocop). France chose the film as its official foreign language submission for the next Oscars, and if there's any justice in the world, Verhoeven should take home gold.

Oscar Chances: Although he has notorious stinker Showgirls on his resumé, Verhoven is the kind of rare cinematic genius that very much deserves an Oscar. On some level, the Academy knows that.

La La Land (December 26th)

Whiplash director Damien Chazelle follows up his Oscar-winning debut with a big swing for the creative fences - a contemporary musical set in the world of showbiz starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone.

Oscar Chances: Quite good, but general audience reaction will have a larger to play here than usual. Even if the critics don't warm to it, it should get music nods.

Patriot's Day (January 5th)

Peter Berg's second true-life drama starring Mark Wahlberg in a row (following Deepwater Horizon) concerns the Boston marathon bombing. It has been the subject of some late-arriving speculation about potential awards-season glory.

Oscar Chances: Better than they were

Billy Lynn's Half-time Walk (January 12th)

At one point, Ang Lee's ambitious war-hero drama was clearly looking to hang its appeal on the technological innovations of its ultra-HD 120 frames-per-second format, but reports from early screenings were overall not particularly complimentary about the technology, and very few screens have the capacity to project it in its full intended resolution.

Oscar Chances: Worse than they were.

Monster Trucks (January 12th)

This long-delayed drama about a guy who becomes friends with a big slimy monster that lives inside a truck will surely prove catnip to Oscar voters.

Oscar Chances: Strong on all fronts.

Manchester By The Sea (January 26th)

Rapturously received at festival screenings, this drama from Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count On Me, Margaret) starring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams is probably the most buzzed-about Oscar film of the season.

Oscar Chances: High.

- NZ Herald

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Film critic Dominic Corry celebrates, clarifies and justifies his love for all things movie.

A film critic and broadcaster for fifteen years, a movie and pop culture obsessive for much longer. Favourite films: The Lady Vanishes (1938), Ace In The Hole (1951), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), Vertigo (1958), Purple Noon (1960), Emperor of the North (1973), The Parallax View (1974), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), Aliens, The Three Amigos (1986), House of Games, Robocop (1987), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Talk Radio (1988), Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989), Midnight Run (1989), Metropolitan (1990), The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Dazed and Confused (1995), The Game (1997), The Last Days of Disco (1998), The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999), Primer (2002), Drag Me To Hell, District 9 (2009), It Follows (2015) and The Witch (2016). See more at

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