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Edith Bowman on the films creating Oscar buzz this winter

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London Film Festival regular Edith Bowman reports on the award contenders coming to your cinema this winter

“Star Wars makes me feel like a seven-year-old – cinema should allow you to be a child and lose your inhibitions. I think it will please die-hard fans, but also catapult it into a whole new generation. I love the fact that director JJ Abrams has cast relatively unknown British actors Daisy Ridley and John Boyega. It’s like when George Lucas cast Carrie Fisher, a 19-year-old unknown in the first Star Wars film, A New Hope.”
In cinemas: 17 December

“A beautiful, relevant story about Lili Elbe [Eddie Redmayne] who had one of the first ever gender reassignment operations in Copenhagen almost 100 years ago. It’s still hard for anyone going through this experience in terms of acceptance, so any film that highlights it is important. Eddie Redmayne transforms himself into any role but for me this is a game changer for Alicia Vikander, who plays his wife. She’s a phenomenal actress who leaves you questioning what you would do.”
In cinemas: 1 January

Silver Linings Playbook and American Hustle director David O Russell has once again teamed up with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper. I really enjoy watching his film-making – the way this is shot makes you feel like you are in the shoes of Joy, the gloriously strong woman who invented the Miracle Mop in 1990. The pace reflects the multi-tasking personality of the main character, who is expected to keep everyone happy without any thanks or payback. It’s very funny and raw and has a brilliant – as always – performance from Jennifer Lawrence.”
In cinemas: 1 January

“An incredible story [based on Emma Donoghue’s 2010 novel] about a five-year-old boy, Jack [Jacob Tremblay], who has lived his life imprisoned a room with his mum [Brie Larson]. Both performances are so powerful. It’s almost like a film of two acts: the first part is set in a claustrophobic room and then it changes. It’s heartbreaking and tough to watch, but I also found it encouraging and warm.”
In cinemas: 15 January

“Leonardo DiCaprio definitely deserves the Oscar buzz he’s getting. He plays a 19th-century fur trapper who loses his wife and seeks revenge on the man who killed his son and left him for dead. There’s not a lot of dialogue, but the roles are all- encompassing and the much- talked-about scene where Leo’s character is mauled by a bear is incredibly powerful. I loved it.”
In cinemas: 15 January

Great British Music Festivals by Edith Bowman (£16.99, blink publishing, waterstones.com) out now

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Illustration: Hattie Stewart

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