December loaded with Oscar contenders

With just one-month left in 2011, the final movie releases of the year, most of which are lining up for shots at Academy Awards, are soon to be released. Here is Voice’s rundown of some of the movies yet to come out that could receive critical and Oscar recognition.

“The Descendants” – George Clooney stars as a man forced to become a real father to his children after his wife falls into a coma after a boating accident. On top of that, he has to decide what to do with 25,000 acres of Hawaiian land once held by his ancestors, former Hawaiian royalty. A comedy-drama from director Alexander Payne (“Sideways”), Clooney is expected to fight for Best Actor with…

“Shame” – …Michael Fassbender, who plays a thirty-something Manhattan dweller who cannot control his sexual desires. Since the film is rated NC-17, it is unlikely to receive a very wide release in most of the country. The movie won many awards at various film festivals around the world, including Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival. But Fassbender and Clooney will have to fend off.

“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” – …Gary Oldman, playing British spy George Smiley in an adaptation of the 1974 novel by John Le Carre. Smiley is tasked with finding the mole in British intelligence that is working for the Soviet Union. The movie is filled with other great British actors, including Colin Firth, Tom Hardy and Benedict Cumberbatch.

“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” – David Fincher (“The Social Network”) directs this adaptation of the first part of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium trilogy. Rooney Mara stars as Lisbeth Salander, the titular computer hacker who helps Daniel Craig’s journalist hunt down a serial killer. There might not be any acting nominations from this one, but Fincher is always a guarantee for a Best Director nomination. But so is…

“War Horse” – …Steven Spielberg. The director of “Schindler’s List” and “Saving Private Ryan” returns to war with this adaptation of an award-winning play. An English teenager’s beloved horse is bought and shipped off to join the cavalry in World War I. A guaranteed tearjerker, “War Horse” may very well put Spielberg into direct competition with none other than…

“The Adventures of Tintin” – …Steven Spielberg. The director’s other film being released in December is a computer-animated adaptation of the Tintin comic books from France. The largest 3D release of the holiday season, “Tintin” is a performance capture movie, meaning the actors filmed the scenes on camera, then they were animated afterwards (the technique used to create Gollum in “The Lord of the Rings”).

Voice will reveal their Best Movies of 2011 in the first issue next semester, after these and other films have been seen and rated.