10 deserving Oscar contenders from the first half of 2014

Tomorrow, half of the year will officially be in the books. So far 2014 has been, well, sort of up and down – for me, anyway. There have been a few indie/specialty/prestige delights, though just as many have fallen short. The same disparity is evident in the on-going summer blockbuster landscape, where for every “Godzilla” or “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” there are the requisite stinkers keeping the year in perspective.

I can't speak to Sundance or Cannes like my colleagues here at HitFix and elsewhere; I wasn't there. But it seems like there's hope around the corner, as studios typically look to be holding onto much of their quality product until the last lap when Oscar season is in full swing. Nevertheless, there are a few gems from the year's first half worth sticking up for, and that's just what the awards team here at HitFix has scrounged up for you tonight.

So dig in below and see what we're thinking in a number of categories. Sure, most of these contenders will be left with a snowball's chance by season's end, but we would love to see them remembered, if only to remind the industry that, hey, you can let some of that quality product loose earlier in the year. Click through and tell us what you think, and/or feel free to rifle off your own picks in the comments section.

More on the upcoming Oscar season tomorrow.