Ron Howard's Thai Cave Drama Thirteen Lives Moves Into Prime Oscar Season Territory

If you wanted to start making bets about next year's Oscar contenders, let this article serve as the ace up your sleeve. While it's usually easy to forecast the industry darlings of the year, it seems that one film might have pulled out ahead already, even if it hasn't hit theaters. You see, nabbing that sweet nomination (and hopefully a win) isn't just about making a good movie (or a fine movie), it's also about marketing that movie. And "Thirteen Lives" is being marketed as an Academy Award shoo-in, despite the fact that you can't even watch the trailer.

"Thirteen Lives" tells a fictionalized version of the Thai cave rescue mission which took place in June and July of 2018. If you managed to miss the captivating news around the rescue, it involved a kid's soccer team getting trapped, and subsequently rescued, by professional divers from the flooded Tham Luang Nang Non cave over the course of 18 days. Horrifying and also inspiring. The title refers to the 12 children and the soccer coach who made it against the odds, and if you're wondering if this movie is going to make you cry, probably! The Oscars love a good tearjerker and what could be better than a story that's sad and uplifting and based on a true story?  It's the perfect combination.

Not Another Thai Cave Rescue Movie

While the film was originally slated to be released in April 2022, MGM has pushed the release date back to November 18, 2022, which slots it right into the beginning of awards season. This release date news comes hot on the heels of Deadline reporting that "Thirteen Lives" might have the "best test scores in MGM history," which is interesting. If that information alone puts "Thirteen Lives" at the top of your watchlist, I can't blame you, but test screenings never tell the complete story. Regardless, it's good marketing and a great way to get people excited for a movie that 1) Is based on an even most people already know about and 2) Was beat to the punch in 2019 and 2021.

But don't let any of this make you less excited for "Thirteen Lives." With a cast filled with names like Viggo Mortensen ("The Lord of the Rings"), Colin Farrell ("The Lobster") and Joel Edgerton ("The Gift"), plus direction from Ron Howard ("Apollo 13") and a script by William Nicholson ("Gladiator"), I can absolutely see a world where the movie lives up to this probably calculated and very advanced hype. Not to mention, it looks like the perfect film to watch with your extended family. Who, besides Elon Musk, could get mad about a group of international divers coming together to save some kids?

Whether you catch it in a post-Thanksgiving coma, run out to see it the day its released or skip it altogether, I still absolutely think you should call up you friends and start making bets that this movie will, at the very least, get a nomination.You might as well turn these industry machinations into cold hard cash while you have the chance.