What Is It? Martin Scorsese’s most serious film. Silence adapts Shusaku Endo’s book about Jesuit Portuguese Catholic priests (played by Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver) preaching in Japan, where things take a less-than-positive turn.
Why Could It Be A Contender? It’s Scorsese. Only one of his films this century hasn’t been nominated for Best Picture (Shutter Island, whose B-movie trappings and spring release didn’t bode well), so Silence is all but guaranteed to at least get a nom too. It’s prestige Scorsese too, so won’t face the dismissive attention that The Wolf Of Wall Street suffered under, upping the film’s chances. It’s also been long enough since the director’s win for The Departed that they’re no fear people will give it a miss.
What Might Stop It? Well, for starters it may not even make contention; release info for the film is slight and at this point, it’s possible it’ll get pushed back to 2017. But assuming that won’t happen (we need more Scorsese), there’s still the lack of hype the muted release has brought about, meaning that, even if it does become a contender, it’s a late entrant. There’s also the problem many classic directors face of their newer work being overlooked and not treated too seriously.