“Live By Night’, “Passengers”, and “Silence”: What still hasn’t screened this year?

passengers 2016 jennifer lawrence-chris pratt
Even though we’re fast approaching the month of November in just a few short days, there are still some X factor films left in the Oscar race. In a year where we have a presumed serious frontrunner in La La Land, there’s a natural desire to figure out who and what the true alternative competition is. There doesn’t yet really seem to be anything else that’s screened with the chops to take that flick down, so attention turns to the unscreened titles. Those movies may be what makes or doesn’t make this a very straight line precursor season. If nothing else, they have a shot to shake up the race a bit.

These here below are the five biggest mysterious still to be revealed in 2016:

Live By Night Ben Affleck

Fences – So far, we only have a Trailer and confirmation that Viola Davis will compete in Best Supporting Actress, not Best Actress. Denzel Washington’s adaptation of the beloved Broadway production is many pundit’s number two selection in Best Picture right now, basically sight unseen. There’s some logic to that too, though we’ll have to see it in order to fully figure out where it fits in. Safe money has it being a player, the question is…to what degree?

Live By Night – After vacillating back and forth about whether or not to launch a 2016 Oscar qualifying run, Ben Affleck’s latest turn behind the camera will indeed get Academy Award consideration this year. A Trailer is what we’re going on right now, but Affleck’s pedigree as a filmmaker is pretty unimpeachable. Some are discounting it currently, but I refuse to do that. I may be out on a limb, but I think this is the one that could actually shake up the race in the most notable way.

Passengers – Again, just a Trailer so far. I’ve read the script and can vouch for it having the potential to be great, but it’s just that right now…potential. If nothing else, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt will make for an electric on screen couple, which in turn might get them some low key buzz in the acting categories. It’s probably just popcorn entertainment and spectacle, but that screenplay is so good, anything is possible with the right execution.

Rules Don’t Apply – A premiere at AFI Fest will determine what to make of this one, which is Warren Beatty’s return. It seems way too light to really make much of a dent in the season, but I could just be underestimating it. My guess is that some voters will enjoy its period setting, but it ultimately won’t be much of a thing that the Academy flocks to. Time will tell…

Silence – It’s coming out, we know this. Aside from that, Martin Scorsese’s passion project is still a big mystery. A Teaser Trailer was shown to industry folks yesterday, but it has yet to be revealed for public consumption. Once we see that, we’ll know more, but until then, it’s just speculation. The subject matter isn’t really awards friendly, but Scorsese is, so we’ll have to see how that works itself out!

fences washington davis
Of this group, only Rules Don’t Apply seems like a long shot, if we’re doing a bit of analysis. Everything else seems like it has a decent shot at Academy Award recognition, in one form or another. Fences, Live By Night, and Silence appear like true hopefuls in a Best Picture race, while Passengers might just be a player in the technical categories. It all remains to be seen, but these are the films to keep an eye on when wondering what changes could come to the season in the final days of 2016. Sit tight for more on each of them when we have it…

Stay tuned to see which of these X factors wind up crashing the Oscar party this year!

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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