Wednesday, 28 November 2012

OSCAR WATCH: Keep a close eye on these 8 films as awards season heats up

As the countdown to next January’s all-important Academy Award nominations picks up steam, these eight buzzworthy films have been garnering major acclaim for weeks. Translation: Be sure to check them out before they win big. 

Life of Pi 
Based on Yann Martel’s Pulitzer-winning bestseller, this Ang Lee-directed feature is a masterful and visceral feast, blending fantasy with magical realism, and anchored by a star-making turn from Indian newcomer and Best Actor hopeful Suraj Sharma (above).

Les Miserables 
Heralded as the most feverishly anticipated movie-musical in over a decade, Les Mis not only boasts direction by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) and a lavishly talented cast (Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway), but also the distinction of having its actors sing live as opposed to miming over pre-recorded tracks. A bonafide contender, opening in wide release on Christmas Day. 

Silver Linings Playbook 
A star-studded cast headed by Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence breathe full-bodied life into a batch of well-drawn characters in this ensemble comedy about finding love in the wake of tragedy. Though it also features turns from such veterans as Robert DeNiro and Jackie Weaver (Animal Kingdom), the buzz over Lawrence’s comically savvy performance is the most deafening so far. 

Zero Dark Thirty 
How did those US Navy Seals eventually locate and eliminate the ultimate master of hide-and-go-seek, Osama Bin Laden. Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the Oscar-winning duo behind 2010’s The Hurt Locker, aim to shed compelling light on the series of events leading up to the history-making moment. Out in December. 

The Impossible 
Led by strong turns from Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts (as a lovely married couple), this is a gripping, based-on-a-true-story tale of survival and family ties in the wake of the devastating tsunami that demolished much of South-East Asia in 2004. 

The Hobbitt 
Peter Jackson returns to the storyline that made him famous and helped secure multiple statuettes for his majestic Lord of the Rings trilogy. Expect a spectacle-filled origin story heavy with sorcery, the spirit of adventure, and appearances from the likes of Gandalf (Sir Ian McKellen) and Galadriel (Cate Blanchett). 

Django Unchained 
Boundary-pushing filmmaker Quentin Tarantino (Pulp Fiction, Inglourious Basterds) directs a seasoned cast in this rip-roaring saga of slavery and vengeance, with key performances from Jamie Foxx (in the titular role), Christoph Waltz and Leonardo DiCaprio. There will be blood. Opening soon. 

Anna Karenina 
Actress Keira Knightley’s creative partnership with director Joe Wright has reaped rich dividends in the past, including an Oscar nod for her work in 2005's Pride & Prejudice. If things go their way this time around, they could earn recognition for this vivid, sweeping adaptation of the Tolstoy classic that has been hailed for its lavish costuming and sumptuous visual details.

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