We've always expected Warner Bros. to give Ben Affleck's crime drama Live by Night a push for the Oscars. He's the studio's golden boy, and the last few movies he's directed for them have all been contenders with Argo earning seven nominations and winning Best Picture. When the wide release was set for January 13th it was a sign they were going with the same approach that led American Sniper to ten nominations, and now we're seeing that plan go into full effect.
Warner Bros. has finally announced an Oscar-qualifying Christmas Day release for Live by Night, setting it against an incredibly crowded field of competitors that weekend. And the thing is, most of the films it will go up against are awards-worthy in their own right: 20th Century Women, Fences, Patriots Day, Silence, Julieta, Gold, and A Monster Calls. Wow. And that doesn't include Collateral Beauty which opens the prior weekend.
The long-awaited film is based on a Dennis Lehane novel set in the Prohibition era and centering on Joe Coughlin, the son of a Boston police officer who turns his back on family and the law, climbing the ranks of the criminal underworld. Elle Fanning, Brendan Gleeson, Zoe Saldana, Chris Messina, and Chris Cooper star with Affleck starring, writing, and directing.