Oscar Watch: Sizing up December's films | EW.com

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Oscar Watch: Sizing up December's films

''Marvin's Room'' and ''Hamlet'' get some early Academy buzz

Now it’s down to the wire — and if the Oscar race looks confused to you, cheer up: It’s no less bewildering to the studios releasing the movies. This December, Hollywood is hauling out films that sound like Academy Awards contenders in concept, if not necessarily in execution. Want an Oscar? Think Prestigious: Kenneth Branagh’s full-dress, full-text version of Hamlet fits the bill, and it helps that the actor-director has been to the Oscars before, in both categories. Think Serious: Nicole Kidman, John Malkovich, and Barbara Hershey tackle The Portrait of a Lady, Jane Campion’s first film since The Piano. Think Important: Rob Reiner’s Ghosts of Mississippi dramatizes the decades-long effort to convict the killer of civil rights leader Medgar Evers. It has the potential for high-voltage performances from James Woods, Whoopi Goldberg, and Alec Baldwin, but it could be challenged by John Singleton’s historical drama Rosewood, with Jon Voight and Ving Rhames. Think Sad (preferably Sad with an All-Star Cast): Meryl Streep, Diane Keaton, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Robert De Niro, who have been nominated for 19 Oscars between them, star in the tearjerker Marvin’s Room. Or just think Woody Allen, who has been nominated 19 times on his own and whose new movie, Everyone Says I Love You, might make the Academy say it too.