Every year according to an unspoken tradition we get the best and most anticipated films released before, during and shortly after the holiday season. Usually high-budget productions, these also have high hopes for nominations and subsequent awards. Since the Academy’s recent tendency to consider films of a wider variety of genres for awards, these holiday films have yet another reason to be released during the festive season.
So here is a list of five films, which will definitely be worth sitting through the numerous Christmas commercials (including the obligatory Coca-Cola Christmas advert).
This is probably one of the most anticipated films of the year, starring Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Cate Blanchett and Richard Armitage among others. Although director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Fran Walsh considered making Tolkien’s book into a film as early as 1995. Several years after the success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy they picked it up again. After Guillermo del Torro (Pan’s Labyrinth, The Orphanage) left the project in 2010, Jackson took over the director’s position. Although initially it was meant to be only two films, the story will now be separated into three films, with the last one opening in 2014.
This is yet another film of 2012 we have been expecting. Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), the film is a screen adaptation of the stage musical based on Victor Hugo’s immortal novel. With a list of stars in the main roles such as Hugh Jackman as Jean ValJean, Russel Crowe as Javert, Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Coen as the Thenardiers, and Anne Hathaway as Fantine, the film definitely has high hopes for award nominations. Furthermore, it looks like a smooth transition from stage and to the big screen for the famous musical.
Every Christmas it seems there is a feature specifically targeting the younger audiences. Last year it was Arthur Christmas, this year it is Rise of the Guardians. The film sees a group of mythical holiday creatures join forces against Pitch (Jude Law), who has set off to rule the Earth and children’s minds. The characters are actually interpretations of traditional figures such as Father Christmas – North (Alec Baldwin), the Easter Bunny – Bunny (Hugh Jackman) and the Tooth Fairy – Tooth (Isla Fischer). With a script penned by David Lindsey-Abaire (Robots, Inkheart, the upcoming Oz: The Great and Powerful) and based on the book by William Joyce the film promises entertainment for its audiences.
Based on Yann Martel’s novel of the same name, Life of Pi was initially to be directed by numerous directors amongst whom were M. Night Shyamalan, Alfonso Cuaron and Jean Pierre-Jeunet. Finally, the director’s position was taken by Ang Lee (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Brokeback Mountain). The film tells the story of Pi Patel, who survives a ship wreck and finds himself on a boat with a Bengali tiger. As he learns how to interact with the tiger, the two of them need to find a way to survive without destroying each other. The film’s plot not only seems like an interesting story but also gives space for Lee’s artistic potential.
Directed by Martin McDonagh (In Bruges), the film tells the story of a group of characters, who are in the business of stealing dogs and then returning them to their owners in exchange for handsome ransoms. However, when they steal the dog of a gangster, Charlie, they suddenly realise he is not going to be easily manipulated. As the characters try to find a way out of the situation they encounter a series of eccentric figures (one of whom is Tom Waits holding a rabbit) and the protagonist of the film, Marty (Colin Farrell), slowly collects material for the script he is writing.