Charlotte Rampling is a surprise supporting actress nominee for this story of a troubled couple celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary.
In KC theaters Feb. 5
This biopic of the late singer Amy Winehouse is a strong contender to win best documentary feature.
Charlie Kauffman’s animation nominee is a surreal, R-rated comedy about loneliness, with swearing, graphic sex and many martinis. Strange but riveting.
In KC theaters Jan. 22
“The Big Short”
This star-studded indictment of Wall Street and the financial crisis is up for five nominations, including best picture, director and supporting actor (Christian Bale), but it’s a long shot to win.
“Bridge of Spies”
Tom Hanks stars in Steven Spielberg’s stirring drama of the Berlin Wall. Though the film received six nominations, including best picture, the only real contender is the man who played the spy, Mark Rylance, up for supporting actor.
At AMC Town Center
Critic Robert W. Butler says this drama of an Irish immigrant (Saoirse Ronan) is the best of the bunch, deserving to win best picture and actress.
The film about two women falling into forbidden love in the 1950s was snubbed for best picture, but its stars could both win: Cate Blanchett for actress and Rooney Mara for supporting actress.
Star Michael B. Jordan was snubbed for best actor, but Sylvester Stallone just got a standing ovation at the Golden Globes for reprising his role as Rocky Balboa and may be on a roll to win supporting actor.
“The Danish Girl”
Eddie Redmayne might win his second acting Oscar in a row, this time for playing a transgender pioneer, and Alicia Vikander, who plays his wife, is a strong contender for supporting actress.
Strong acting, unusual story, but this sci-fi tale of robots and human souls ended up with just one nomination, for original screenplay.
Quentin Tarantino’s Western about unsavory characters trapped together in a snowstorm is up for three awards: supporting actress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), score and cinematography, but competition is as fierce as a blizzard.
Pixar’s bittersweet tale of emotion and coming of age will win best animated feature — or else we will boycott the ceremony forever. It probably won’t win for original screenplay, though.
Jennifer Lawrence, 25, is the youngest performer to get a fourth nomination, but by now maybe Oscar is tired of her playing older, bitter women.
“Mad Max: Fury Road”
This reboot about a dystopian desert world received 10 nominations, including picture and director and a bunch of technical nods. But only 11 films have ever won the top award with no acting nominations, most recently 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire.”
Ridley Scott’s story of a stranded astronaut is up for seven nominations, including best picture and actor (Matt Damon). But only four films have won best picture with no director nomination, most recently 2012’s “Argo,” when director Ben Affleck was infamously snubbed.
This Western is riding high with the most nominations, 12, and could very well win best picture, director and actor — for long-suffering Leonardo DiCaprio, who has never won. It could also pick up wins in several technical categories.
Brie Larson might win best actress for portraying a mother trapped for years with her young son in a tiny shed. As for the other categories — picture, director and adapted screenplay — the film is not a front-runner.
This brutal look at the drug war on the Mexican border was a possibility for best picture, but it was nominated in only three technical categories.
“Son of Saul”
This drama from Hungary, a searing plunge into a Nazi concentration camp, is the favorite to win best foreign language film.
In KC theaters Feb. 12
We journalists love this procedural showing how the Boston Globe unmasked the priest sex abuse cover-up. And Oscar might very well love it, too. It’s up for six awards, including best picture, director, supporting actor (Mark Ruffalo), supporting actress (Rachel McAdams), screenplay and editing.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”
The sequel that shattered box office records couldn’t break into the top categories, but it’s up for five awards, including a 50th nomination for composer John Williams.
This biopic about the founder of Apple tanked at the box office, but Oscar gave it some love for actor Michael Fassbender and supporting actress Kate Winslet.
On video Feb. 16
“Straight Outta Compton”
This riveting biopic about rappers N.W.A. was snubbed for best picture (as were any actors of color). But it is up for adapted screenplay.
On video Jan. 19
Bryan Cranston could win best actor for playing Dalton Trumbo, the famed screenwriter blacklisted for his leftist leanings. But that’s the only nomination for this drama.
On video in February
“What Happened, Miss Simone?”
The Netflix film likely will lose to the other documentary about a troubled female singer, “Amy.” But this look at the brilliant but imperfect life of soul singer Nina Simone is worth your attention not only because of her talent but because her music is still relevant today.