Two of the awards season's biggest hold-outs, "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Les Misérables," finally screened over the holiday weekend, and any prognosticators who put big money on both films are probably feeling pretty proud of themselves today.
Tom Hooper had just finished the final cut of "Les Mis" when he presented it in New York City shortly after the Thanksgiving holiday. The film version of the mega-musical uses an unorthodox method of capturing the iconic numbers, which involves actors like Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman singing live on set, instead of using a studio recording.
The technique seems to have earned its desired effect, as a round of applause followed each musical number, but critics reserved the highest praise for Hathaway, who is a likely Supporting Actress nominee. "Anne Hathaway could easily win supporting actress," Fandango.com correspondent Dave Karger wrote. "Her 'I Dreamed a Dream' is the showstopper."
On the darker side of the Oscar equation, Kathryn Bigelow's follow-up to "The Hurt Locker" faired equally as well when it screened for critics for the first time. Time's Richard Corliss published the first rave, writing that "Zero Dark Thirty" blows Ben Affleck's "Argo" "out of the water."
With the way critics are writing about these movies, which previously had been contenders sight-unseen, both may move to the very top of the contenders list.
Which movie are you looking forward to seeing more: "Les Mis" or "Zero Dark Thirty"? Let us know in the comments below and on Twitter!