We are just about half way through the year.  The real Oscar race doesn’t begin to take shape until September/October.   We to don’t really know anything until the Telluride and Toronto Film Festivals. Oscar bloggers speculate all year long. So let us speculate about Oscar contenders that were seen the first half of the year. I use the word “seen” because the Cannes films have not yet been released.

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INSIDE OUT: The best reviewed movie of the year so far with 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and 93 on Metacritic add the Pixar factor and you have this best animated feature nominee and the likely winner. INSIDE OUT is the closest we have to a sure thing right now.

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MAD MAX: FURY ROAD-One of the best reviewed movies of the year so far with 98% on Rotten Tomatoes. Some say that it will get a Best Picture nomination, but that is bit ambistious this early on.

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JURASSIC WORLD-If the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences wants to stay relevant and increase the ratings of the Oscar ceremony, they need to acknowledge the box office success of JURASSIC PARK. Even if only through best visual effects. At almost $400 million so far domestically and close to $1 billion worldwide it will soon take over as the highest money maker of the year over AVENGERS:AGE OF ULTRON.

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CAROL: Big hit out of Cannes.  The Weinstein Company is setting CAROL up to be a major player this season. Best Picture will be a difficult battle,but Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara will be competing for best actress nominations.

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SON OF SAUL: Took home the Grand Prix award at Cannes. Just this week, Hungary was the first country to announce its official entry into the best foreign language film category for an Academy Award. This Holocaust story is sure to be recognized throughout awards season.

The Cannes Film Festival rarely influences the Oscar race. It does however give us a few movies to start the Oscar conversation. The movies with the most potential coming out of Cannes are:

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CAROL-Directed by Todd Haynes and stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara (best actress winner in Cannes). Carol is set in 1950s New York, a department-store clerk who dreams of a better life falls for an older, married woman. Some alreaar. dy calling Mara to get the Best Actress nomination and possibly the win. It’s way too to early to start calling winners, but nineteen Best Actress winners from Cannes went on to get Oscar nominations. (4 have won).

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SON OF SAUL-(Hungary)-In the horror of 1944 Auschwitz, a prisoner forced to burn the corpses of his own people finds moral survival upon trying to salvage from the flames the body of a boy he takes for his son. No way to tell if Son of Saul will be submitted or qualify for Best Foreign Language Film, but many predicted it to win the top prize, the Palme d’Or. Instead it took the runner up Grand Prize award. Holocaust movies tend to do well in the Foreign Language category.

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INSIDE OUT- This years Pixar movie. After a girl moves to a new home, her emotions are plunged into chaos as they compete for control of her mind. With strong reviews out of Cannes and the history Pixar has with Best Animated Feature wins, this is the only shoe in for a nomination so far.

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