Surveying the Best Picture field with the 2013-2014 Oscar season on the way
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"The Book Thief"
Release date: Nov. 15
Director: Brian Percival
Cast: Sophie Nélisse, Geoffrey Rush, Emily Watson, Ben Schnetzer
Pros: Not to be crass, but it's always worth keeping an eye on Holocaust dramas in the Oscar race, no? This story of a young German girl learning the joy of reading as her family hides a Jewish man from the Nazi occupation could tug the right strings. And it's the first feature from "Downton Abbey" helmer Brian Percival, which should get it some added attention. Oh, one other thing: John Williams.
Cons: Will the material leap far enough from its Young Adult pages to become a serious player with Academy members? The presence of prestige actors goes a long way but it's a competitive year and something like this could fall on either side of the line: nostalgic or passé.