What's lined up this Autumn? 2013's best films are yet to come

Expect the picks of this year’s London Film Festival to be in line for Oscars

The 2012-13 awards season wasn’t a vintage one. With a shortage of truly excellent contenders to choose from, the Golden Globes, Baftas and Oscars had to hand out trophies to the likes of Argo, Lincoln, Les Misérables, and Zero Dark Thirty – all of which were plainly in the “pretty good but flawed” category.

As talk once again turns to the big contenders for these ceremonies, though, the prospect this time round is different. The word from the Cannes, Venice and Toronto festivals is that we have an autumn and winter of superlative entertainment in store, with new releases due from the Coen Brothers (Inside Llewyn Davis), Alexander Payne (Nebraska) and several more reliably terrific directors.

Many of these podium prospects, including the two mentioned above, are making their British debuts at the London Film Festival, which kicks off on Wednesday and runs until 20 October. And, having seen a number of the LFF highlights, I’d put money on the films below picking up nominations, at least, in the biggest award categories. Don’t worry if you can’t make it to London: they’re all coming to a cinema near you between now and the Oscars.

Best Film: ‘Captain Phillips’

LFF screenings: 9 and 10 Oct; General release: 18 Oct

Paul Greengrass is the only director who can cut his action sequences into blink-sized snippets and still make you feel as if they’re happening right there in front of you. Following United 93 and his two Bourne films, Captain Phillips is another adrenalised, politically tinged action movie. It has Greengrass’s usual breathless pacing and fly-on-the-wall naturalism, but it’s also the true story of an all-American hero – a cargo-ship captain taken hostage by Somali pirates – played by none other than Tom Hanks. What more could an awards voter ask for?

Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón for ‘Gravity’

LFF screenings: 10 and 11 Oct; General release: 8 Nov

There are a number of what you might call “suffering-and-survival” thrillers at this year’s festival, involving household names stranded far from home. But while Captain Phillips and Robert Redford vehicle All is Lost leave their protagonists at sea for a whole film, Gravity deposits its own 600km above the planet. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney play astronauts who are left floating in orbit after becoming accidentally detached from their space shuttle, which means that Alfonso Cuarón (Children of Men) has to suspend them in an entirely computer-generated setting for the entire film. Admittedly, there’s some corny dialogue, and Clooney sounds distractingly like Buzz Lightyear. But the visuals are so astounding that, for once, both CGI and 3D are justified. See it on the biggest screen you can find.

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in Gravity  

Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor in ‘12 Years A Slave’

LFF screenings: 18, 19 and 20 Oct; General release: 24 Jan 2014

If Steve McQueen’s first two films, Hunger and Shame, left you with the suspicion that they belonged in an art gallery rather than a cinema, the astonishing  12 Years a Slave is the narrative-driven drama which confirms that he’s now one of our finest directors. It’s a long-merited leading role for Chiwetel Ejiofor who plays a cultured free man who is kidnapped and sold into slavery. And expect Best Supporting Actor nominations aplenty for his diabolical master, Michael Fassbender.

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave  

Best Actress: Paulina Garcia in  ‘Gloria’

LFF screenings: 17 and 20 Oct; General release: 1 Nov

A Frances Ha for the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel generation, Chile’s Gloria is another sparky, sympathetic portrait of a metropolitan singleton who isn’t sure what to do with her life, or who to do it with. Paulina Garcia is the fiftysomething heroine who keeps a jaded-but-amused smile on her face as her relatives and boyfriends  let her down, in a performance that’s somewhere between those of Catherine Keener and Diane Keaton. It’s already won her a Silver Bear at this year’s Berlin film festival.

Paulina García in Gloria  

Best Foreign Language Film: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Colour’

LFF screenings: 14 and 17 Oct; General release: 15 Nov

Abdellatif Kechiche’s sweatily intense, sexually explicit coming-of-age drama won the Palme d’Or at Cannes, and the prizes won’t stop there. Kechiche immerses the viewer in the life of a Lille teenager (Adèle Exarchopolous) as she embarks on a lesbian affair with a blue-haired hipster (Léa Seydoux). It’s not just the sex that seems uncomfortably real.

Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos in Blue is the Warmest Colour  

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Feeling all at sea: Barbara's 18-year-old son came under the influence of a Canadian libertarian preacher – and she had to fight to win him back
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Living the high life: Anne Robinson enjoys some skip-surfed soup
TV review
Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Arts and Entertainment
Doctor Who and Missy in the Doctor Who series 8 finale

TV
Arts and Entertainment

film
Arts and Entertainment
Chvrches lead singer Lauren Mayberry in the band's new video 'Leave a Trace'

music
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Home on the raunch: George Bisset (Aneurin Barnard), Lady Seymour Worsley (Natalie Dormer) and Richard Worsley (Shaun Evans)

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers

Strictly
Arts and Entertainment
NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton

film
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
New book 'The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep' by Carl-Johan Forssen Ehrlin

books
Arts and Entertainment
Calvi is not afraid of exploring the deep stuff: loneliness, anxiety, identity, reinvention
music
Arts and Entertainment
Edinburgh solo performers Neil James and Jessica Sherr
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
If a deal to buy tBeats, founded by hip-hop star Dr Dre (pictured) and music producer Jimmy Iovine went through, it would be Apple’s biggest ever acquisition

album review
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith is joining The Voice as a new coach

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Dowton Abbey has been pulling in 'telly tourists', who are visiting Highclere House in Berkshire

TV
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Patriot games: Vic Reeves featured in ‘Very British Problems’
TV review
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
    Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

    The Arab Spring reversed

    Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
    King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

    Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

    Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
    Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

    Who is Oliver Bonas?

    It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
    Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

    Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

    However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
    60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

    60 years of Scalextric

    Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
    Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

    Why are we addicted to theme parks?

    Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
    Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

    Iran is opening up again to tourists

    After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
    10 best PS4 games

    10 best PS4 games

    Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
    Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

    Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

    Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
    Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

    ‘Can we really just turn away?’

    Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

    Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

    ... and not just because of Isis vandalism
    Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

    Girl on a Plane

    An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

    The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent