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Matin Scorsese’s “Silence” has an official 2016 release date

Go figure. Just as I had decided to pull it from my next set of Oscar predictions, the folks at Paramount Pictures finally give a release date to Martin Scorsese’s passion project Silence. Yes, on December 23rd the movie will open in limited release, before going wide the next month in January. It’s a sigh of relief to many cinema fans out there, while it also represents one more huge contender in a still pretty crowded field. That will get culled down when the precursors begin, but for the moment, Silence is back on as a top tier contender for Academy Award attention.

The film is an adaptation of the Shûsaku Endô novel of the same name. During the 17th century, a pair of Jesuit priests in Father Sebastião Rodrigues (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garrpe (Adam Driver) travel to Japan looking for their mentor Father Cristóvão Ferreira (Liam Neeson). There, they are faced with both violence and persecution, all while trying to put forward the word of Christianity. That’s really all the plot we’ve been given so far. Scorsese obviously directs, with Jay Cocks penning the adaptation. Other members of the cast include Ciarán Hinds, along with Tadanobu Asano, Shin’ya Tsukamoto, and more. Rodrigo Prieto handles the cinematography, while many other Scorsese regulars are behind the scenes as well.

We really know very little about Silence, even to this day. The above plot description and extra the book’s synopsis offer are about it, aside from a still or two of Neeson from the making of the flick. This isn’t a bad thing, but it just makes it hard to figure out. Could this be something huge and fully embraced by voters like The Aviator was for Scorsese, or might it be closer to a niche curiosity like Kundun was? Time will tell, but both are about equal possibilities in my eyes. Frankly, I had been ready to cast it off into 2017, but that’s not an option now. This is a 2016 player, officially. The question is, to what degree? Well, let us get down and dirty with that paradox right now…

Awards wise, this could either be a small scale player or the big juggernaut that the season has been looking for. As long as it hits with critics, look for campaigns across the board, including in Best Picture, Best Director (for Scorsese), Best Actor (for Garfield and/or Neeson), Best Supporting Actor (for Driver, Garfield, and/or Neeson), Best Adapted Screenplay (for Cocks), Best Production Design, Best Cinematography, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Hairstyling & Makeup, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Original Score. It’s way too early to know where it might play, but Picture, Director (for Scorsese), and Supporting Actor (likely for Neeson) seem like the likeliest places for contention. It’s all up in the air at this moment. We shall see what happens in a few months time though, as that’s when it all really matters. The Academy and its voters will have their say before long.

Basically, Silence is Scorsese’s long brewing passion project, so I don’t know that it was ever envisioned with awards in mind. Still, if it’s good enough, Oscar will undoubtedly come calling. That’ll be one of the things we watch for over the next three months. In the meantime, hopefully a Trailer will show up before the month is out, though who knows there. Whatever bits of Silence related information come our way will be brought to you in short order, so just know that. Until then, sit tight and anticipate another awards season in which Scorsese has a film potentially in contention. That’s pretty exciting, regardless of anything else, right? Right…

Stay tuned for lots more on Silence between now and its December 23rd release date!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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