2012 Awards Season Guide: 13 Oscar Contenders to Look Out for in December

2012 Oscars December Contenders

Photo: AMPAS // RopeofSilicon.com

Just as I did with We Bought a Zoo got the axe).

Just as I did with the seven titles last month, I’ll give you a few thoughts on each film, a look at the Oscar categories (Best Picture, Actor, Actress, etc.) each film has a chance of being nominated in and the trailer and a link to more information on top of that.

Of course, if you want to keep closer tabs on the awards race just keep an eye on my Oscar Contenders section with frequently updated Oscar Predictions, Awards Schedule and my exclusive Oscar Overture section, which tracks a variety of the major precursor awards handed out leading up to the Oscars.

Everything said, if you go see these movies and keep tabs on those sections you should be very well prepared once the 2012 Oscars roll around on Sunday, February 26th.

For now, let’s begin with Friday, December 2 and break down the entire month. Enjoy!

December 2


December begins with one of the better films I’ve seen this year in Steve McQueen‘s Shame, a film I began to get more and more out of the further away from it I got as it follows the life of a sex addict played by Michael Fassbender and his downward spiral after his wayward sister (Carey Mulligan) lands on his doorstep.

When it comes to Oscar the film appears to be facing a sink or swim scenario considering its NC-17 rating as it could very easily find itself competing in all of the major categories just as easily as it could be ignored in all of them. the main thing to take away from it all is that no matter what kind of award attention it enjoys it remains one of the better films of the year.

Potential Oscar Nominations for… Best Picture, Director (McQueen), Actor (Fassbender), Supporting Actor (Mulligan), Cinematography, Original Screenplay


I did not like this film one bit as evidenced in my review from Toronto. However, in that review some people took to task one comment I made which was: “There is absolutely no reason to try to sell this as a modern story, nothing about it is modern as any meaningful parallels to today are non-existent.” Perhaps I should have italicized the word “meaningful” considering that was my point and yes, you can find parallels such as the events in Chechnya and I’ve seen some now comparing it to Occupy Wall Street as if that had anything to do with what director Ralph Fiennes and screenwriter John Logan intended when putting together the story based on William Shakespeare’s lesser known play of the same name.

My thoughts on the film aside, it does stand a chance at awards consideration as most have pointed to Vanessa Redgrave‘s performance in particular. If you ask me, she’s fine, as is pretty much everyone else considering this is a film that comes with the sole intention of reading Shakespeare’s lines. So, the better the lines, the better the performance because Fiennes has certainly put together a strong cast and his final speech is quite impressive.

Potential Oscar Nominations for… Best Supporting Actress (Redgrave)

December 9

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
I’ve seen Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and I can tell you that while it is impeccably made it is so slow and ponderous I really found myself bouncing in and out of interest for most of the running time. It definitely isn’t a spy thriller that will hold mass appeal, but it could still find its way into the hearts of Academy members, though my previous assumption that Gary Oldman would be a lock for his first ever Oscar nomination doesn’t appear to be such a lock any longer.

Potential Oscar Nominations for… Best Picture, Actor (Oldman), Director (Tomas Alfredson), Art Direction, Cinematography, Score, Adapted Screenplay

We Need to Talk About Kevin

We Need to Talk about Kevin
I have only a few films left to see this year and right now We Need to Talk about Kevin is a top ten pick for me. I intend to watch it again to see if I can endure it a second time, but man did it floor me when I saw it in Cannes earlier this year (read my review here)

This is an art house horror film through and through. It’s visual and visceral and Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller knock it out of the park. Seek it out and give it a watch.

Potential Oscar Nominations for… Best Actress (Swinton), Cinematography

Young Adult

Young Adult
I just saw this last night and really liked it and the audience appeared to like it as well, laughing at all the right times and appearing to empathize at all the right moments as well. Diablo Cody (Juno) has penned a script that allows for a downbeat ending that won’t turn off audiences thanks to the scene that comes right before it. It’ll be interesting to see how this one settles in with audiences as Charlize Theron plays the high school bitch come back to her hometown of Mercury, Minnesota to win back her high school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson) who is now married with a newborn child. As she puts it, “I’m cool with it, I mean, I’ve got baggage too.”

Theron certainly stands a strong chance at a Best Actress nomination and look for Patton Oswalt to also be in the running for supporting actor. This is a very old school film that has been compared to Bob Rafelson’s Five Easy Pieces, though I would say Cody has softened the edges on Young Adult ever so slightly, and it should work in the film’s favor in getting more people to see it. It’s definitely one of the best films of the year, but at the same time a Best Picture nod is going to be tough, but it’s not down and out of that race entirely.

Potential Oscar Nominations for… Best Picture, Actress (Theron), Supporting Actor (Oswalt), Director (Jason Reitman), Original Screenplay (Cody), Film Editing

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