The 51st annual New York Film Festival already lined up a splashy opening night premiere in the form of Paul Greengrass' Tom Hanks-starrer "Captain Phillips." Today it's been announced that Ben Stiller's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" will be the festival's centerpiece gala.

The film, adapted and expanded from the James Thurber short story, released a very intriguing trailer earlier this week and, as of now, appears to be 20th Century Fox's best bet in the awards race. Such murmurs were stirred for the film when footage was shown at CinemaCon back in April, and if all of that sounds familiar, it should: Fox and Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" started with a footage presentation at CinemaCon, got the "O" word circulating, went on to premiere at the New York Film Festival and, as well all know, landed four Oscars at the Academy Awards, including Best Director.

Will "Walter Mitty" end up on a similar trajectory? Time will tell. But it certainly has a lot of people excited to see the film Stiller has wanted to make for some time.

Stiller has "crafted a beautifully lyrical comic epic, grounded in present day realities and concerns," NYFF director of programming Kent Jones said via press release. "He is wonderful in the lead, Kristen Wiig is nothing short of magical as the woman of his dreams, and it’s great to see Shirley MacLaine in perfect form. 'The Secret Life of Walter Mitty' is one terrific ride, and I’m thrilled that we’re able to present it as our Centerpiece screening."

"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" arrives in theaters on Christmas Day.