Newly released movies receive Oscar-buzz

Pulse Columnist and Pulse Columnist

The Academy Awards might not be until February, but Oscar-worthy films will be released in the upcoming months, with a few already out.

This is a guide to just some of the movies generating Oscar buzz.

First off, “The Dark Knight Rises,” the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, may be a longshot for a best picture nomination, but Nolan (“Inception,” “Memento,” “the Prestige”) deserves a nomination for best director for his exceptional and realistic interpretation of the Batman franchise. These films stand out as a great achievement in an industry saturated with mediocre comic book movies.

With a stellar supporting cast, which includes Tom Hardy, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michael Caine, I predict multiple possible acting nominations.

Of course, no one tops Christian Bale, whose masterful performance as a complex Batman should make him a consideration for a leading actor nomination.

On Sept. 21, “The Master” was released. This film, written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson (“Boogie Nights,” “Punch Drunk Love,” “There Will be Blood”), chronicles the story of a Naval veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who returns from war in the 50s and joins a religion called the Cause, led by the master (Philip Seymour Hoffman.) The film also stars Amy Adams.

This is Anderson’s first film since 2007’s “There Will Be Blood,” which was considered by some critics to be one of the best films of the decade. I don’t expect “The Master” to be anything short of stunning. Look for best picture, best director and best original screenplay nominations for Anderson, who is one of the best filmmakers working now.

Furthermore, this is Phoenix’s first role in a film since his quasi-documentary, “I’m Still Here.” I can guarantee you that Phoenix’s powerhouse performance will get him nominated for best actor and put him in contention for taking home the award.

On November 16, Stephen Spielberg (“Schindler’s List,” “Saving Private Ryan”) returns from this past year’s “War Horse” to direct “Lincoln,” which is about none other than the 16th president of the U.S during the end of the Civil War.

Playing Honest Abe is one of the best actors alive, Daniel Day-Lewis. Look for him to go head-to-head with Phoenix for lead actor award. The film also stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Tommy Lee Jones.

On Dec. 14, Peter Jackson (“The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “King Kong,” “The Lovely Bones”) returns to familiar Middle Earth territory, directing “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey,” an adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s novel. If the ambition and grandiosity of Jackson’s “Lord of the Ring’s” trilogy is any indication, expect great things from “the Hobbit,” which will also be a trilogy.

Martin Freeman will be playing Bilbo Baggins and many actors from the LotR trilogy will be reprising their roles, including Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett, Andy Serkis and Orlando Bloom.

Expect a plethora of nominations for this film, including for best director and best film.

Also being released on Dec. 14 is a film that is already rumored to have the potential to sweep the Oscars: “Les Miserables.” Tom Hooper returns from 2010’s “the King’s Speech,” which won him best picture and best director, to direct this adaptation of the stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s novel.

Set in 19th century France, “Les Miserables” follows a paroled prisoner (Hugh Jackman) as he seeks redemption and evades a police inspector (Russell Crowe). The film features a superb cast that also includes Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfried, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.

With such brilliant source material and some of the best music that’s ever been written, I can’t imagine this film not dazzling audiences and taking home quite a few awards.

Finally, on Dec. 25, writer-director Quentin Tarantino (“Pulp Fiction,” “Kill Bill Vol. 1 & 2,” “Inglourious Basterds”) returns with “Django Unchained,” his first film since 2008.

This is Tarantino’s homage to the spaghetti-western style of filmmaking. Set in the Deep South during slave times, the plot follows a freed slave (Jamie Foxx) who sets out with a bounty hunter (Christoph Waltz) to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a Mississippi plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Tarantino is one of the most original and creative directors working now and is long-overdue for an Oscar. He deserves some recognition from the Academy and I think “Django” has a chance of getting it. My predictions are nominations for best picture, director and original screenplay, with a chance of some acting nominations.

Of course, these are only a handful of films any Oscar fan should watch out for.

There is also “Zero Dark Thirty” (director Kathryn Bigelow) coming out in December, which is about the hunt for Osama Bin-Laden.

There is “Argo” (director Ben Affleck) coming out in October, which is about the Iran hostage drama. There is the adaptation of Yann Martel’s novel, “Life of Pi” (director Ang Lee) coming out in November, which is about a boy stranded in the ocean on a boat with a tiger.

And the list goes on and on.

So come fall, resist the urge to spend your money on the final installment of “Twilight” and instead save it for these sure-to-be phenomenal films.