After a long and blockbustery summer movie season full of cool ladies busting ghosts, a search for beloved Dory, and more superheroes than you can shake a glowing ring of destruction at, audiences are now settling into the cozy and refined fall and winter of prestige films. In the latter months of the year, these talked-about movies are going to really show us what they've got as they vie for the attention of the Academy. There've already been some impressive contenders in September and October, including Moonlight, The Birth of a Nation, and Snowden, but there are many more potential Oscar nominees to come in November. (It doesn't hurt that as the weather gets chillier, there's nothing better to do than sit in a nice warm movie theater and escape to another world.)
Two more months of film magic are sneaking up on us, and November is promising some of the most exciting dramas and thrillers of the year. From heartfelt true stories to action packed adventures to thrilling true stories — there are really are a lot of films based on true stories this year — this list has you covered. Below are 11 potential Oscar nominees coming out in November, so that you and your family have plenty to debate about in the weeks leading up to — and during — your Thanksgiving meal.
Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton star in director Jeff Nichols' new film about the Lovings, whose case for the validity of their marriage reached the Supreme Court, where the court ruled that laws against interracial marriage were unconstitutional. Negga sparkles in every role she's in, and Nichols has a strong, Oscar-friendly aesthetic. That the Lovings' story should be told this year, amidst the current political climate and the backlash of #Oscarssowhite, makes it all the more engaging and well-timed. Loving comes out Nov. 4.
2. Hacksaw Ridge
The Oscars do love biographical war films and Hacksaw Ridge has the gritty edge of the best of them combined with a powerful twist, telling the story of pacifist soldier Desmond Doss who refused to bear arms during World War II but still received a Congressional Medal of Honor for acts of bravery. Star Andrew Garfield can deliver on the performance, and Mel Gibson is a talented director. Hacksaw Ridge comes out Nov. 4.
This expansive and brainy sci-fi movie, based off a short story by Ted Chiang, stars Amy Adams as a linguist tasked with communicating with an advanced alien species that arrives on Earth. It's getting great reviews and looks to be unique among the genre. Expect chills. Arrival comes out Nov. 11.
4. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk
Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk stars a relative unknown, Joe Alwyn, as the titular character, but director Ang Lee is an Oscar favorite and the plot — a young man returns from the Iraq War and is haunted by his experiences — is serious and award-worthy. The film is also making waves for being in 3D, with an unprecedented frame rate of 120 frames per second in each eye. Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk comes out Nov. 11.
5. Manchester By The Sea
This small, emotional drama about a man returning to his hometown after the death of his brother has been receiving growing buzz since its Sundance premiere for being a beautiful character and relationship study grounded by powerful performances from Casey Affleck and Oscar darling Michele Williams. The chilly but stunning New England setting shouldn't hurt either. Manchester by the Sea comes out Nov. 18.
6. Bleed For This
This true underdog story of a boxer recovering from a serious injury stars Miles Teller, who also starred in acclaimed 2014 Oscar-winner Whiplash, another physically challenging, sometimes bloody film. Director Ben Younger hasn't seen Oscar attention before, but the plot of Bleed For This and anchoring performances from Teller and Aaron Eckhardt could make it a contender. Bleed For This comes out Nov. 18.
7. Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Fantasy movies don't often see big Oscar notice, but major series like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are exceptions, and Fantastic Beasts reinvigorates the Harry Potter world by going back in time and across the Atlantic to America. It also stars Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne, who seems to be on a streak where everything he touches turns gold. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them comes out Nov. 18.
8. Rules Don't Apply
Film icon Warren Beatty stars as the enigmatic Howard Hughes in his later years, but the romance-comedy-drama centers on Lily Collins' character, an anctor, falling in a forbidden love with a businessman who also works for Hughes. The film is chock full of smaller turns by big stars such as Annette Bening, Matthew Broderick, Alec Baldwin, and Ed Harris, and as The Aviator showed us, movies about Hughes are popular with the Academy. Rules Don't Apply comes out Nov. 23.
Another war movie, this film starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard has been in the news due to gossip surrounding Pitt's divorce. It's a romantic thriller with a retro feel, and Pitt's work in Inglourious Basterds combined with the Oscar charm of Cotillard could make this one a contender. Allied comes out on Nov. 23.
It's not impossible for animated films to hit it big at the Oscars, and Moana could see Nemo-level successes. The Disney film stars native Hawaiian teenager Auli'i Cravalho as the voice of Moana, also features Dwayne Johnson, and looks like one of the funnest and most visually exciting movies of the year. Moana comes out on Nov. 23.
Dev Patel, whose breakthrough film role was 2008's Slumdog Millionaire, could be heading to the Oscars once again with Lion, another true story. In the powerful drama Lion, Patel plays a man returning to India, where he was lost 25 years prior and adopted by an Australian family. Lion comes out on Nov. 25.
Based on this November slate, I'd say it's never too early to start crafting those ballot predictions.
Images: Summit Entertainment, Magnolia, Focus Features, Tristar Pictures, Roadside Attractions, Open Road Films, Warner Bros, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Walt Disney Studios, The Weinstein Company