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Terrence Malick Returns to Oscar Race as Fox Searchlight Sets ‘A Hidden Life’ Release

The character drama could give Malick his biggest Oscar contender since "The Tree of Life."

“A Hidden Life”

If Fox Searchlight’s huge $12 million deal for Terrence Malick’s “A Hidden Life” didn’t already make it clear the indie studio has big plans for the World War II romantic drama, then just take a look at the film’s new release date: December 13. Searchlight has announced the late 2019 theatrical rollout for the movie, positioning it as a late-breaking entry in the upcoming awards season.

“A Hidden Life,” starring August Diehl in the true story of WWII conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter, world premiered at the Cannes Film Festival to near universal acclaim. IndieWire named the drama one of the festival’s 10 best titles and Malick’s single greatest achievement since 2011’s “The Tree of Life.” Fox Searchlight was behind the release of that magnum opus, which landed Oscar nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Cinematography. The distributor is hoping for similar success with “A Hidden Life.”

“After seven long years of wandering in the desert, Terrence Malick returns with a shatteringly powerful story of faith in crisis,” IndieWire’s David Ehrlich raved in his A- review. “‘A Hidden Life’ is a lucid and profoundly defiant portrait of faith in crisis. It’s an intimate epic about the immense strength required for resistance, and the courage that it takes for one to hold fast to their virtue during a crisis of faith, and in a world that may never reward them for it. It is, without question, the best thing that Malick has made since ‘The Tree of Life.'”

Following Searchlight’s mega-deal at Cannes, IndieWire’s awards editor Anne Thompson reported the studio would give “a robust Oscar campaign for Academy voters, who will appreciate the gorgeous production values and timely political message.” The film is expected to bring Malick back to the Oscar race in a major way, as none of his films have earned nominations since “The Tree of Life.” Follow-up projects “To the Wonder,” “Knight of Cups,” and “Song to Song” polarized fans, but “A Hidden Life” appears to have gotten the director back on track.

“A Hidden Life” now joins Fox Searchlight’s other upcoming Oscar contenders, including the Natalie Portman-starring astronaut drama “Lucy in the Sky,” directed by “Fargo” and “Legion” creator Noah Hawley, and Taika Waititi’s anti-hate satire “Jojo Rabbit.”

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