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Oscar Watching: Taking a Gamble?

Rupert Wyatt’s The Gambler will have its world premiere on Nov. 10 at this year’s AFI Fest – more specifically, in the Dolby Theatre. The remake of the 1974 drama that earned James Caan a Golden Globe nomination stars Mark Wahlberg, Brie Larson, Jessica Lange, Michael Kenneth Williams, and John Goodman, and joins the fest alongside previously announced awards hopefuls J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year and Bennett Miller Foxcatcher – which open and close the fest, respectively.

Debuting the film in the Dolby clearly signals awards hopes, as Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood notes. As for how the film will actually fare, several years have passed since Wahlberg led a film – David O. Russell’s 2010 drama The Fighter – to major awards consideration. Still, there’s quite a bit of promise here. This should be a strong showcase for the up-and-coming Larson and, more importantly, two-time Oscar winner Lange, who might pick up her first Oscar nod in 20 years in the wake of her American Horror Story comeback. On a more tangential note, the dependable Goodman has served as a good luck charm as of late – he featured in consecutive best picture winners The Artist (2011) and Argo (2012) and in Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, a surprise nominee for best picture in 2011.

Keep in mind, though, that distributor Paramount Pictures also has Ava DuVernay’s Selma, Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar, and Darren Aronofsky’s Noah to push this season. Yes, you read that last one correctly – Paramount will give Aronofsky’s big-budget take on the biblical tale an awards campaign. Its best shot is in the original song category with “Mercy Is” by Patti Smith – the song is gorgeous, and Paramount can easily work with the iconic singer-songwriter angle.

Remember, I’m only predicting films set for U.S. distribution for nominations, but my overall lists still include films that might lack U.S. distribution at the moment. And in the name of shameless self-promo, you can check out more detailed Oscar musings over at my blog, Awards and Such. Keep in mind that my predictions there and on Screen Invasion might differ, given that I will update both at different times – I’ll update my Screen Invasion picks once a week; I’ll most likely update my blog picks at different intervals.

Still rolling a nine for best picture…

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The Author

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren

Donovan Warren loves the wonderful world of film and all that comes with it. He specifically loves long takes, fabulous actresses, and keeping up with the Oscar season - even when it's far too early to make sense of anything.