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We’re just into November, and though there are definite candidates for who could be Oscar nominated, we’ve still got two months of releases to go, and very little sense of the room temperature. Why? Number one, because academy voters haven’t seen the films, and number two, because in some cases, only a handful of people have seen the finished films.

Universal just had some Lone Survivor screenings, and it’s possible that the Peter Berg film could be a contender. It’s a serious war drama starring Mark Wahlberg, who the academy seems to have mixed feelings about. Maybe it’s his pop background, but his sole acting nomination to date has been for his work in The Departed. He wasn’t even nominated for The Fighter, where just about everything and everyone else was. Which doesn’t make this in any way a slam dunk shot, but if the movie’s good it could gain some traction.

Then there’s Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street. Recently the film landed a new release date of 12/25, and word is it’s running over two hours and forty minutes, and that it will be competing at the Golden Globes in the Comedy/Musical section (note: It’s not a musical). The good news for its Oscar chances are that Paramount, et al. wanted the film in competition this year. That means they think they’ve got a horse. But if it’s mostly lightweight or mostly funny… comedies don’t tend to win, and Scorsese already has an Oscar.

And what about David O. Russell‘s American Hustle? It’s got the cast, and Russell been on an academy role recently, his last two films were loved by the Academy, and he’s definitely been playing to them a little with films like The Fighter and Silver Linings Playbook. But is this the one? It could very well be his year. It’s got actors, and period costumes and bad wigs, lots of things the voters like. But no one’s seen it. And until they do, it could be a Memoirs of a Geisha.

What we do know for sure is that 12 Years a Slave is a real contender for best picture, and right now the best bet. That is, as long as it keeps doing well at the box office (it’s been doing great for a limited release), and nothing gets in its way. But for every year there’s a leading contender, there’s usually a couple of hiccups in the way, and/or a trump card. How good did Lincoln look from a distance? There’s also Gravity, which could be a spoiler, but the Oscars are so adverse to so many aspects of that film that it’s in no way a sure thing. It did win audiences, but then that could make it seem too much like a popcorn film. 12 Years is about an important subject with great performances, and little backlash that’s stuck, but it may also not be as fresh as whatever comes out at the end of December, so there’s a lot to parse, and anyone who thinks they know who’s going to win at this point is lying or delusional.

What December film are you most excited for?