July: The apex of summer. Kids run freely from yard to yard, temporarily unburdened from their scholarly prison sentences. Backyard barbecues are fired up, making the smell of grilled meat an ubiquitous fragrance of the season. Fireworks explode in the air, lighting up the night sky in multi-color glory. This is the idyllic picture of the month of July, but another common staple of the sweltering summer month (particularly for those that don't have air conditioning), is an increase in attendance at the local multiplex. Kids and young adults with nothing better to do schlep their bodies into the comfy confines of the cool, dark surroundings of the cinema, watching large objects blow up and nameless minions bite the dust in the latest iteration of their favorite blockbuster franchise. While this may cause studio execs to see green, it isn't typically a hot bed for potential Oscar nominees. Fascinatingly, in the 80+ years of the Academy Awards, not a single Best Picture winner was released in the month of July, the only month not to sport a Best Picture winner. History tells us then we are unlikely to see any movie released this month raising the Oscar at the Academy Awards as the proclaimed champion of all moviedom, but you never know, crazier things have happened. Even if the eventual Best Picture winner is likely to come from any month other than July, this doesn't mean potential nominees in less high profile categories aren't lurking in the long shadows of the July summer sun. In fact, I could almost guarantee you that in a category such as Best Visual Effects, July is one of the most fertile months of the year. With that in mind, I've gone through all the upcoming month's biggest releases and broken down their Oscar prospects, so all you Oscar fanatics such as myself know what to look for going into this month's films. We may be a few weeks away from the official start of the awards season with the late summer festival madness, but it is never too early to be on the look out for a potential Oscar nominee.