EW Staff
August 23, 1996 AT 04:00 AM EDT

What if Hollywood canceled this year’s fall movie season and Academy Awards voters had to come up with five Best Picture nominees anyway? Here’s what the list might look like: Courage Under Fire, Emma, Fargo, Lone Star, and Trainspotting. If that selection sounds far-fetched, consider that by this time last year, four of the five eventual Best Picture nominees had already been released — Apollo 13, Babe, Il Postino, and the winner, Braveheart, which most Oscar nomination forecasters, including us, doubted would even make the final five. So take our expert opinion with a grain of salt when we say that this year the biggest Oscar contenders are probably still on the horizon. But that doesn’t mean that all earlier movies will be ignored: Fargo‘s Frances McDormand and Emma‘s Gwyneth Paltrow could vie for Best Actress, Courage‘s Denzel Washington could nail a Best Actor nomination, and Lone Star writer-director John Sayles surely merits attention as well. (Don’t count out A Time to Kill either, as a safely traditional choice in an oddball year.) All these potential nominees can take comfort in a September lineup that shouldn’t hurt their chances much. Among this month’s releases, the only competition is minor — the Merchant Ivory biopic Surviving Picasso and the long-delayed American Buffalo.

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