2012 Awards Season Guide: 7 Oscar Contenders to Look Out for in November

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Oscar contenders in November
Photo: AMPAS // RopeofSilicon.com

It’s already November and as such it means we are about to wade ankle deep in this year’s Oscar race so I decided to compile a list of upcoming films to help you set your schedule and become more familiar with this year’s crop of Oscar hopefuls.

Today I’ll be previewing November’s titles and, on top of previewing each, I will include the most likely categories the film will be nominated in. This includes categories such as Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Actress and Director among a select group of other possibilities, though I wanted to keep it a bit simple and not delve too deep into the below-the-line categories as this is meant to serve as a guide and not an exhaustive overview.

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, an Awards Schedule and my exclusive Oscar Overture section, which tracks a variety of the major precursor awards handed out leading up to the Oscars.

But you can get to all that later, for now let’s have a look at the films coming up this month that are looking for some Oscar attention.

November 9

J. Edgar

J. Edgar
Clint Eastwood‘s latest takes a look at the life of J. Edgar Hoover, the controversial first Director of the FBI, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the title role and a supporting cast that includes Armie Hammer (The Social Network), Judi Dench, Ed Westwick, Josh Lucas, Naomi Watts, Stephen Root and Jeffrey Donovan.

The film will open the AFI Festival on November 3 and will be screening for the majority of critics on November 7, only a couple of days before the film hits limited theaters on November 9 and then expands nationwide on November 11. The handling of the film’s release and the screening so close to opening has raised some concerns with film press around the web, but, pushing concerns aside, we’ll know soon enough just how good Eastwood’s latest has turned out.

Potential Oscar Nominations for… Best Picture, Best Director (Eastwood), Best Actor (DiCaprio), Best Supporting Actor (Hammer), Best Supporting Actress (Dench and Watts)

November 16

The Descendants

The Descendants
I saw Alexander Payne‘s The Descendants at the Toronto Film Festival (my review here) and said George Clooney “gives the best dramatic performance, I’ve seen, of his career” and I right now he’s looking like an Oscar frontrunner for Best Actor, though there’s plenty of talent nipping at his heels.

The film marks Payne’s first feature film in seven years after 2004’s Sideways and it’s a heartfelt drama centering on a husband and father (Clooney) of two girls, who is forced to re-examine his past and embrace his future when his wife suffers a boating accident off of Waikiki. The film hits limited theaters on November 16 and expands wider on the 18th.

Potential Oscar Nominations for… Best Picture, Best Director (Payne), Best Adapted Screenplay (Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash), Best Actor (Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley)

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