Word has been so quiet on Martin Scorsese’s Silence that we’ve been left to wonder if it would still be coming out in 2016 or if the distributor, Paramount, would quietly push it to 2017. For those who are unfamiliar with the picture, the story of two Jesuit priests (Adam Driver and Andrew Garfield) who go looking for their mentor (Liam Neeson) in 17th Century Japan, a time when outsiders, and especially Christians, were treated with disdain and mistrust.
However, we finally have word on the film, and it looks like Paramount thinks they have an Oscar contender on their hands. The Wrap reports that the film has been slated for release on December 23rd, and it will expand into more theaters in January. While most Oscar films try to get out onto the festival circuit, Scorsese films tend to arrive a bit later. We didn’t get The Wolf of Wall Street until December 25, 2013, and while Hugo did show up at the New York Film Festival, it didn’t open until November 23, 2011.
While a later release date can sometimes hurt films, Scorsese has pretty much been an Oscar presence since Gangs of New York in 2002. The lone exception is Shutter Island, which was a thriller that was released in February. But if Scorsese releases a film in the awards season, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be a contender.
Additionally, 2016 is shaping up to be a year where the winner could break late. While La La Land is the current favorite, this year still has yet to see Gold, The Founder, Hidden Figures, Allied, Miss Sloane, and Live By Night. Silence will be in good company when it opens at the tail end of the year.
Of course, this is all assuming that Silence is a good movie, but c’mon. It’s Scorsese making his passion project with a tremendous leading cast. I’ll be shocked if it’s not good.