It's Oscar season in the film business, and studios are preparing to launch their big award-friendly movies in the hope of collecting some trophies.

October through December will feature many films in theaters with high acclaim and great importance, films that have become colloquially known as Oscar bait. These films tend to have serious subject matter (the Holocaust, people with disabilities, the art of acting, etc.) that are sometimes cold and depressing and other times uplifting and heart-warming; think The King's Speech, The Theory of Everything, or Lincoln.

Other not as obvious Oscar bait films include entertaining movies with a big ensemble of beloved stars and a high level of sophistication, like Birdman, American Hustle and Argo, also do well with Academy voters these days.

So with this in mind, here's a look at the five most obvious examples of Oscar bait from the upcoming crop of movies -- movies that Oscar voters may not be able to help themselves but award:


Joy is a biopic centering on Joy Mangano, the inventor of the Miracle Mop and a series of other domestic products. The comedy-drama stars Oscar winner Jennifer Lawrence as Mangano in addition to frequent Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper and multiple Oscar winner Robert de Niro. It's the third collaboration for all three actors under the direction of David O. Russell (American Hustle, Silver Linings Playbook), whose name has become synonymous with film award nominations and wins. The combination of a strong acting ensemble with a real-life story may be unbeatable come awards season. Joy will be released on Dec. 25.

Bridge of Spies

Our official war movie of this award season is Bridge of Spies, directed by the one and only Steven Spielberg. The film takes place during the Cold War and tells the real-life story of James B. Donovan (Tom Hanks), a lawyer asked to help negotiate the release of Francis Gary Powers (Austin Stowell), an American pilot shot down in the Soviet Union. With an all star lineup that includes Hanks, Mark Rylance, Amy Ryan and Alan Alda, plus the Spielberg factor and the subject matter, Bridge of Spies is tailor made for Oscar glory. Bridge of Spies will be released Oct. 16 in theaters.

The Danish Girl

Fresh off an Oscar win for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything, Eddie Redmayne stars in another biopic that may be destined for more awards. In The Danish Girl, Redmayne plays Einar Wegener, the husband of painter Gerda Wegener (Alicia Vikander). After Gerda persuades Einar to pose as a woman for one of her paintings, he feels an affinity for dressing as a woman and inhabiting the female gender. Einar decides to start living as a woman and ultimately goes through with sex reassignment surgery (one of the first ever in history), with Gerda's support. Transgender issues have never been more talked about in the mainstream as they are now, so The Danish Girl is coming along at a very opportune time. Will Oscar voters take to this sensitive drama, helmed by Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper (The King's Speech)? The Danish Girl will be released in theaters on Nov. 27.

Steve Jobs

As you can tell by the title, Steve Jobs centers on the iconic co-founder of Apple, played by Michael Fassbender. Directed by Oscar winner Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) and written by Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing), the biopic focuses on three key Apple product launches as seen through the eyes of Steve Jobs. The film reportedly doesn't shy away from Jobs' more negative personality traits, giving a complex portrait of a brilliant but flawed man. And Oscar voters clearly love their white male troubled geniuses, so Steve Jobs should have a nice awards run this winter. Steve Jobs opens nationwide on Oct. 23.


Despite not centering on real-life people, Carol has been a predicted Oscar contender for several months now. The film stars Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara as star-crossed lovers in idyllic but rigidly conformist 1950s America. Blanchett plays Carol, a married woman who catches the eye of Mara's Therese, a department store clerk. Like with The Danish Girl, LGBT issues are more relevant now than ever and combined with very strong reviews and a beloved cast, Carol is another film looking good heading into the Oscar race. Carol is out in theaters on Nov. 20.