Angelina Jolie's upcoming film, "Unbroken," based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Laura Hillenbrand, is being released during peak Oscar season on Dec. 25. Will the film earn a Best Picture nod or give Jolie a Best Director nomination?
"Unbroken" tells the real-life story of Louis Zamperini, an athlete who participated in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. During World War II, his plane crashed in the Pacific and he became a prisoner of war with the Japanese. The film stars actor Jack O’Connell as Zamperini as well as “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” actor Domhnall Gleeson, Garrett Hedlund of “Inside Llewyn Davis,” and “Divergent” actor Jai Courtney, among others. Hillenbrand's book was published in 2010 but was still at number two on the IndieBound trade paperback nonfiction list for the week of Nov. 13.
Jolie’s previous directing work includes the 2011 film, “In the Land of Blood and Honey,” which was nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Golden Globe.
Actor O’Connell appeared in the UK series “Skins” and the 2014 film “300: Rise of an Empire,” among other work, but may be unfamiliar to some moviegoers. Jolie recently praised his work at the Hollywood Film Awards, according to E!.
“As a director, to have Jack in front of your lens is a gift,” she said. “He makes every moment honest.”
Meanwhile, she also discussed her relationship with Zamperini at the recent Australian premiere of the film.
“I think as a human being, as a mother, as someone who works internationally, I needed desperately to know a man like Louis Zamperini in my life, to know that there is hope,” she told Reuters. Zamperini died this past July.
Some industry watchers are predicting either “Unbroken,” Jolie, or both will earn nods at the Oscars this year. Entertainment Weekly writer Nicole Sperling noted that “the epic true story of Louis Zamperini has Oscar bait written all over it” and that “Angelina Jolie… will surely give the boys a run for their money” for a Best Director nod, while Betsy Sharkey of the Los Angeles Times predicted that “Unbroken” will get a Best Picture nomination but that Jolie will be skipped over when the Best Director contenders are named.