We are well into awards season, that special time of year when more high-quality dramas than usual take their place in movie theaters alongside action blockbusters, broad comedies and family adventures. Often set in the past, such awards contenders draw appreciative audiences who welcome a change in pace from typical fare on the big screen.
Recent releases include Roma (pictured above), inspired by filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón's own youth in Mexico; historical comedy-drama The Favourite, showcasing sterling performances by Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz; and Japanese drama Shoplifters, a surprisingly layered drama that questions the definition of "family."
What about upcoming major awards contenders? Here are three, all due for theatrical release during December.
'Mary Queen of Scots'
Directed by Josie Rourke, the film promises a fresh perspective on 16th century history, focusing on Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) as she enters into extended battle with her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie). Academy Award nominees Ronan and Robbie have been touted for awards consideration again for their performances.
Focus Features will release Mary Queen of Scots in theaters beginning this Friday, December 7.
'If Beale Street Could Talk'
Filmmaker Barry Jenkins follows up his Academy Award-winning drama Moonlight with an adaptation of James Baldwin's classic novel, a love story that follows a pregnant woman who endeavors to prove that her falsely-accused fiancé is innocent. Jenkins, KiKi Layne and Regina King have already won or been nominated for awards in recent days.
Annapurna Pictures will release If Beale Street Could Talk in theaters beginning on Friday, December 14.
Academy Award winner Christian Bale stars as Dick Cheney in Adam McKay's biographical drama, with Amy Adams as Lynne Cheney, Steve Carell as Donald Rumsfeld and Sam Rockwell as George W. Bush. McKay's previous film, The Big Short, won an Academy Award and garnered four other nominations, including one for Bale, so we expect likewise from this timely film.
Look for Vice in theaters beginning on Tuesday, December 25. See everything we know about the film here.
Other major awards contenders will also receive theatrical release this month, including music-themed drama Vox Lux (featuring a notable performance by Natalie Portman, December 7); Mary Poppins Returns (Disney's highly-acclaimed musical sequel, December 19), tragic Polish love story Cold War (touted as best foreign language film of the year, December 21), and Destroyer (featuring a devastating lead turn by Nicole Kidman, December 25).