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Holiday movie preview: Taking a chance on Oscar

Holiday movie preview » 14 movies between now and January take their shot at awards.



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Opens » Nov. 27.

Synopsis » In this adaptation of Markus Zusak’s novel, an orphaned girl (Sophie Nelisse) is adopted by an older couple (Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson) in a German town just before World War II — and the family risk their safety by sheltering a young Jewish man (Ben Schnetzer ) in the basement.

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Oscar chances » Every Oscar season seems to have one Holocaust-themed movie, but this one may not get much love from the Academy — even with a strong campaign for Geoffrey Rush’s supporting work.

"Her"

Opens » Jan. 10.

Synopsis » Director Spike Jonze ("Being John Malkovich") brings this offbeat romance about a lonely writer (Joaquin Phoenix) who starts falling for his computer’s operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson).

Oscar chances » An outside shot at a Best Picture nomination, but the intriguing question is whether the Academy would give a Supporting Actress nomination to Johansson for a performance that’s all voice-over. Probably not, but it’s fun to think about.

"Inside Llewyn Davis"


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story continues below

Opens » Dec. 20.

Synopsis » The Coen brothers dive into the folk-music scene in New York’s Greenwich Village of 1962, just before the arrival of Bob Dylan, through the life of a struggling musician (Oscar Isaac).

Oscar chances » The Coens are always in the hunt for Best Picture and screenplay nods. Isaac, as good as he is here, may have trouble breaking through the logjam of Best Actor contenders. John Goodman and Carey Mulligan have outside chances for their supporting roles.

"Labor Day"

Opens » Jan. 31.

Synopsis » A depressed single mom (Kate Winslet) lets an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) into her family’s life in this adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel directed by Jason Reitman ("Juno," "Up in the Air").

Oscar chances » Always hard to count out Winslet, but this movie didn’t get a lot of love when it premiered at Toronto.

"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"

Opens » To be announced.

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What’s opening, and when

Here is a tentative schedule for movies opening now through January.

Nov. 27

“Black Nativity” » See main story.

“The Book Thief” » See main story.

“Frozen” » Disney animates the tale of two sisters separated when one discovers a dangerous power to make snow and ice form.

“Homefront” » Jason Statham plays an ex-DEA agent protecting his daughter from a nasty drug dealer (James Franco).

“Nebraska” » See main story.

“Philomena” » See main story.

Dec. 6

“The Armstrong Lie” » Documentarian Alex Gibney finishes his profile of cyclist Lance Armstrong, begun before he admitted to doping during his Tour de France victories.

“Out of the Furnace” » See main story.

Dec. 13

“Bettie Page Reveals All” » The pinup legend tells her own story in this documentary.

“The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” » The second of three movies in Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” prequel.

“Is the Man Who Is Tall Happy?” » Director Michel Gondry interviewed linguist and thinker Noam Chomsky, and animated the results.

“Tyler Perry’s A Madea Christmas” » America’s baddest grandma returns for the holidays.

Dec. 18

“American Hustle” » See main story.

Dec. 20

“Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues” » Will Ferrell and the gang are back, this time taking Ron Burgundy to cable.

“Camille Claudel 1915” » Juliette Binoche stars as the temperamental sculptor and muse.

“Inside Llewyn Davis” » See main story.

“Saving Mr. Banks” » See main story.

“Walking With Dinosaurs” » A 3-D animated look at prehistoric creatures.

Dec. 25

“47 Ronin” » Samurai, including Keanu Reeves, are out for revenge in this action drama.

“Grudge Match” » Sylvester Stallone and Robert DeNiro play aged boxers returning to the ring.

“The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” » See main story.

“The Wolf of Wall Street” » See main story.

Dec. 27

“Dear Mr. Watterson” » A documentary about the influence of Bill Watterson and his comic strip, “Calvin and Hobbes.”

Jan. 3

“Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones” » The fifth installment in the horror franchise.

Jan. 10

“Her” » See main story.

“Hercules: The Legend Begins” » Kellan Lutz (from the “Twilight” saga) plays the muscular demigod.

“Lone Survivor” » Mark Wahlberg stars in this true story of a Navy SEAL mission to capture a Taliban leader.

“One Chance” » A biopic of Paul Potts, a shop assistant turned opera star on “Britain’s Got Talent.”

Jan. 17

“Devil’s Due” » A newlywed (Allison Miller) may be giving birth to the Antichrist in this horror film.

“Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” » Chris Pine takes over as Tom Clancy’s ace spy.

“The Nut Job” » Animated tale of a squirrel trying to rob a nut store.

“Ride Along” » A security guard (Kevin Hart) must prove himself to a cop (Ice Cube) before marrying the cop’s sister.

“Seventh Son” » A young man learns to fight evil spirits in this 18th-century action-adventure.

Jan. 24

“Gimme Shelter” » A drama about a homeless teen (Vanessa Hudgens) seeking her Wall Street father (Brendan Fraser).

“I, Frankenstein” » Aaron Eckhart plays the creature, caught in an ancient clan war, in this action drama.

“The Invisible Woman” » Ralph Fiennes directs and stars as Charles Dickens in a drama focusing on the author’s secret lover (Felicity Jones).

Jan. 31

“Labor Day” » See main story.

“That Awkward Moment” » Three single guys (Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan, Miles Teller) each deal with commitment issues in this comedy.

TBD

“August: Osage County” » See main story.

“Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” » See main story.



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