Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Revenant': An Oscar contender?

'The Revenant' is being directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose movie 'Birdman' won last year's Best Picture Oscar. The film stars DiCaprio as a fur trapper who must survive in the wilderness in winter.

20th Century Fox/YouTube
'The Revenant' stars Leonardo DiCaprio.

Actor Leonardo DiCaprio is starring in the new film from director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, whose 2014 film “Birdman” was the most recent to win the Academy Award for Best Picture.

The movie in which DiCaprio is starring, titled “The Revenant,” centers on a fur trapper named Hugh Glass who is attacked by a bear and must try to survive in the cold wilderness. The film is based on the real story of Glass’s struggles. 

Iñárritu won an Oscar for Best Picture as one of the producers on “Birdman” and also won the Best Director Oscar. Iñárritu is also the director of such films as the 2010 movie “Biutiful,” 2006’s “Babel,” and 2003’s “21 Grams.” 

DiCaprio himself is no stranger to the Academy Awards, having been nominated four times for his acting in such movies as “The Aviator,” “Blood Diamond,” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”

The film “The Revenant” is scheduled to be released this December, prime time for a possible awards season contender – its pedigree is certainly evident with the director of last year’s Best Picture having taken the helm and frequent nominee DiCaprio starring in the film.

However, Hollywood’s movie calendar has morphed over the last several years: while the two big seasons were, and still are, the summer movie season and the time in November and December when many hopeful Oscar contenders are released, more movies are defying this traditional logic. Before the franchise moved to an annual November release date, the first “Hunger Games” film came out in March, a traditionally quiet month that’s a far cry from the June or December release date one might expect from a hopeful blockbuster based off of a smash-hit young adult novel. 

In addition, a movie that will most likely be one of 2016’s biggest blockbusters, “Batman v Superman,” isn’t coming out during the summer movie season – it’s being released in March as well. And last year, “The Maze Runner,” a film based off a bestselling young adult book series, came out in September and managed to do well enough at the box office to spawn at least one sequel. Those behind “Maze” are sticking with their September slot for the new movie, with “Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials” scheduled to be released on Sept. 18.

Could this more flexible movie calendar eventually mean the Oscar movie season could expand beyond the end of the year as well? Currently December can become the scene of a movie release date pileup, as with last year when awards season hopefuls “Unbroken,” “Big Eyes,” “American Sniper,” “Into the Woods,” and “Selma” were all released on Dec. 25. But Iñárritu’s own “Birdman,” which took the Best Picture prize, was released all the way back in October, and so was the 2013 Best Picture winner, “12 Years a Slave,” and 2012’s winner “Argo.” Putting out an awards season hopeful in the fall rather than the winter is a small change, but perhaps the release date of contenders could become even more flexible in years to come. 

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