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Upcoming releases could create Oscar buzz

November 9th, 2012 6:27 am by By Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times (MCT)

The next seven weeks promise to keep cinephiles and avid awards-show addicts plenty busy at the theaters. Here’s a peek at some of the likeliest candidates to show up on Oscar and Golden Globes nomination mornings; catch them early to get in the awards-season groove.


(Nov. 9; going wide Nov. 16)

Premise: Intimate portrait of iconic president in epic production.

Promise: Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse” follow-up figures to get out of the gate faster and enjoy a stronger finish. Nominations likely across the board, with stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field and writer Tony Kushner enjoying the highest profile.

—“Anna Karenina”

(Nov. 16)

Premise: Tolstoy classic boiled down to love triangle between title character, aristocrat husband and the cavalry officer who comes between them.

Promise: Joe Wright’s stylized adaptation split audiences at Toronto. Star Keira Knightley remains in play.

—“Silver Linings Playbook”

(Nov. 21)

Premise: Man moves in with parents after leaving mental hospital, strikes up unusual friendship with young widow.

Promise: Toronto audience winner likely to score nods for picture, director David O. Russell, lead Jennifer Lawrence and the great support turn by Robert De Niro. Bradley Cooper a revelation as well.

—“Life of Pi”

(Nov. 21)

Premise: After a shipwreck, young man struggles to survive on board a lifeboat alongside a hungry Bengal tiger.

Promise: Ang Lee’s CGI-heavy film won some ardent fans after N.Y. Film Fest premiere. Possible powerhouse if it catches on commercially.


(Nov. 23)

Premise: Anthony Hopkins portrays the Master (of Suspense), depicted while making “Psycho.”

Promise: Hopkins, certainly. With its inside Hollywood story line, the film could resonate strongly with academy members.

—“Rust and Bone”

(Nov. 23)

Premise: Orca whale trainer hooks up with lunkhead street fighter after losing her leg in an accident.

Promise: Marion Cotillard again in running for lead actress.

—“Hyde Park on Hudson”

(Dec. 7)

Premise: Franklin Delano Roosevelt (Bill Murray) meets King George VI on the eve of World War II.

Promise: Picture is not winning raves, but Murray’s FDR still a prime attraction.


(Dec. 19)

Premise: Elderly man (Jean-Louis Trintignant) cares for his wife (Emmanuelle Riva) as her life comes to an end.

Promise: Michael Haneke’s intimate drama is a foreign-language shoo-in. Nominations for picture, director and its leads strong possibilities.

—“Zero Dark Thirty”

(Dec. 19)

Premise: “Hurt Locker” director Kathryn Bigelow chronicles the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Promise: Immediacy of this historical tale could separate it from other epics in the pack.

—“The Impossible”

(Dec. 21)

Premise: Real-life story of family swept apart by tsunami struggles to reunite.

Promise: Naomi Watts’ wrenching turn as mother won raves at Toronto.

—“Django Unchained”

(Dec. 25)

Premise: Freed slave partners with bounty hunter to get medieval on the (behinds) of assorted evildoers, including the plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio) holding Django’s wife.

Promise: Quentin Tarantino’s last gonzo period story, “Inglourious Basterds,” scored a best pic nom, so who’s to say academy voters won’t go for this spaghetti western? DiCaprio looks goofy-great in trailer.

—“Les Miserables”

(Dec. 25)

Premise: Revolution! Redemption! The popular musical finally comes to the screen!

Promise: If Oscar-winning director Tom Hooper delivers, it could easily score multiple nominations, including nods for leads Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway and Russell Crowe.


(Dec. 28)

Premise: Retired opera singers reunite in Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut.

Promise: Maggie Smith might be singing lead.

—“Promised Land”

(Dec. 28)

Premise: Corporate salespeople try to persuade small-town residents to sign over drilling rights in issue-oriented drama from Gus Van Sant.

Promise: When Van Sant (“Milk,” “Good Will Hunting”) plays it down the middle, voters have responded.


©2012 Los Angeles Times

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