[WATCH] ‘Silence’ trailer: Will Martin Scorsese epic be Oscar’s December surprise?

“I pray, but I’m lost. Am I just praying to silence?” ponders Andrew Garfield as a Jesuit priest on a mission to rescue his mentor (Liam Neeson) in Japan. That’s from the first trailer for Martin Scorsese‘s film silence, which was released online late on November 22 (watch above). Now that we’ve seen this dramatic footage from the film, do you think it will be the December surprise that changes the whole Oscar race?

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Almost all of the 2016 awards hopefuls have already screened for the press, if not audiences, and “La La Land” has emerged as the strong favorite to win Best Picture. But “Silence” has been looming in the background, a potential sleeping giant lying in wait to overturn all our expectations.

But “Silence” doesn’t open until December 23. Such a late release is a risky Oscar move these days — no December opening has won Best Picture since “Million Dollar Baby” in 2004. But just consider that example: “Million Dollar Baby” ambushed the race at the last minute and swiped the top Oscars from Scorsese’s own “The Aviator.” Now Scorsese is hoping to get his revenge by crashing the Oscar party at the eleventh hour.

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“Silence” is based on a novel of the same name by Shusaku Endo and in addition to Garfield and Neeson it stars Adam Driver (“Star Wars: The Force Awakens”) and Ciaran Hinds (“Game of Thrones”). The screenplay is by Scorsese and Jay Cocks, an Oscar-nominee for writing Scorsese’s previous films “The Age of Innocence” (1993) and “Gangs of New York” (2002).

Behind the camera, cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto was an Oscar contender for lensing “Brokeback Mountain”; costume and production designer Dante Ferretti has won three Oscars (“The Aviator” in 2004, “Sweeney Todd” in 2007 and “Hugo” in 2011); and editor Thelma Schoonmaker also has three Oscars for cutting Scorsese pictures (“Raging Bull” in 1980, “The Aviator” in 2004 and “The Departed” in 2006). Producers include Oscar-winner Irwin Winkler (“Rocky”), as well as Gaston Pavlovich of Fabrica de Cine, which provided lead financing for the film.

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