The holiday season is now in full swing. College kids are eagerly anticipating a month long winter break after surviving the harrowing finals week. Black Friday has come and gone. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer and numerous other specials seemingly play on every channel. ‘Tis the season! This holiday does tend to bring some stress however.
For academy members, they must vote for this year’s Oscars on December 17th. With the earlier date of Jan. 10th for the announcement of nominations, this puts many members on a tight deadline since not all films have been screened for consideration including Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty, Gus Van Sant’s Promised Land and Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables. Despite this setback, there are a considerable number of best picture contenders playing in theaters right now. These five are likely contenders for a slot in the year’s biggest honor in film.
With Argo, Affleck has escaped from movie prison and redefined himself as one of the industry’s best directors. The suspenseful and tense film tells the unbelievably true story of six Americans that were extracted from revolutionary Iran under the guise of a Hollywood production. Expect Affleck to lock up a best director nomination as well. Equal parts Hollywood satire and political drama, Argo should entice the older members of the academy to give it a slot somewhere on the categories 5-10 film rule.
Robert Zemeckis, the illustrious director of great films like Cast Away, returns from his nearly 10-year experiment with stop motion animation with Flight. Telling the harrowing story of a pilot’s struggle with addiction after saving close to 100 people from cataclysmic plane crash, Denzel and Zemeckis really deliver with a risky film so expect three total nominations for this.
2012 might be the first year the man with a license to kill could receive a little golden man. Skyfall successfully revived an aging franchise for a new era. A modern twist on an old tale, Sam Mendes’s installment combines human pathos with the standard action and explosions making the audience believe that Bond could exist. Doubtful if this will gain traction in other awards areas but with its high gross and broad audience appeal, I don’t see why it would not get some recognition.
4). End of Watch
This one is quite a long shot but could gain some steam with its return to theaters this week. This one was quite a surprise since its trailer did not do much justice. Following the heroics of two LAPD cops played with such brotherly conviction, the audience watches two very realistic people fall in love, work hard and become living embodiments of the greater good. Due to Indie spirit nominations for Michael Pena and a scrappy campaign, this could be the one to surprise us all.
5). Life of Pi
Ang Lee’s 3D epic that discusses the power of storytelling is a lock for sure. Playing in many theaters in 3D and digital, the movie has been performing quite well. Only thing that could hurt its chances is that the film is only worth viewing in 3D. Still, the story of a boy and his tiger lost at sea could be the fairytale factor to receive a best picture nom.
These are only a few great films to see in theaters right now. Lincoln is still going strong and is worth a watch. In the next few weeks, The Hobbit will making its grand entrance into theaters into four different formats while Zero Dark Thirty will begin its limited engagement on the 19th. These five are not only ones to pay attention to but contain a series of surprises for viewers that make it remarkable to watch these stories unfold. Head out to theaters soon!