It’s the most wonderful time of the year: Oscar season. The awards preamble means our theatres are filled with the very best film offerings. Here’s what we’ll be watching at the movies this summer:

Joy (directed by David O. Russell)
Released December 26
Joy Mangano (Jennifer Lawrence) is a single mother of three, inventor of the Miracle Mop and president of Ingenious Designs. This true story is a feminist version of the entrepreneurial-“American Dream” tale. Joy has received lukewarm reviews, with some critics accusing David O. Russell of overusing his filmmaking formula (this being his third consecutive Lawrence-starring film). Regardless, Russell has established himself as a powerful storyteller, who enjoys working with his cast of muses. In filmmaking, as in life – If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Youth (directed by Paolo Sorrentino)
Released December 26
A film about aging, art and introspection, Youth invokes the rhythm and nuance of a great symphony. Fred (Michael Caine) is a renowned composer, who suddenly becomes apathetic about his music. The film follows Fred’s vacation in the Swiss Alps with his daughter (Rachel Weisz) and filmmaker friend, Mick (Harvey Keitel). Youth is the second English-language film from Italian-born Paolo Sorrentino, who won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film with The Great Beauty (2013).

The Revenant (directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Released January 7
Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is mauled by a bear and abandoned by his hunting team. Badly injured, Hugh must drag himself through the unruly American wilderness to return to his family. Alejandro González Iñárritu, director of Birdman, reengineers his seemingly single-shot style, to great effect. The Revenant is a visual testament to human willpower and DiCaprio’s vitality.

Carol (directed by Todd Haynes)
Released January 14
Based on Patricia Highsmith’s groundbreaking novel, The Price of Salt, this romantic drama will pull your heartstrings taut. Therese (Rooney Mara) is a clerk and aspiring photographer, who encounters the older Carol (Cate Blanchett) in the department store where Therese works. Carol is struggling with a messy divorce, and, thanks to a pair of forgotten gloves, Therese enters Carol’s tumultuous life. The tremendous emotional weight of this story hinges on the performances by Blanchett and Mara.

The Big Short (directed by Adam McKay)
Released January 14
In the lead up to 2008’s Global Financial Crisis, four people challenge the greedy underbelly of high finance. Adam McKay has assembled a cast of Hollywood heavyweights, including Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell and Christian Bale. That’s four reasons to see this film. McKay garnered fame directing the hilarious classics Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy, Step Brothers and The Other Guys, so it comes as no surprise that The Big Short finds humour in a devastating subject.

Room (directed by Lenny Abrahamson)
Released January 28
Ma and Jack are mother and son (played by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay). They live as captives in a cramped and decrepit room. One murky skylight is their only connection to the outside world. The mystical tragedy of their plight slowly unfolds, underpinned by a powerful story of maternal love. The film was written by Irish-Canadian Emma Donoghue, who wrote the novel of the same name.