Clearly determined to be a contender, this film is carefully designed to showcase the work of stars Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall. Of course, Downey has been Oscar nominated before, for Chaplin (1992) and Tropic Thunder (2008). Duvall won Best Actor for Tender Mercies (1983) and has been nominated five other times.

Downey Jr. and Duvall in The JudgeDowney Jr. and Duvall in The Judge

Yet while both of them give it their all in The Judge, the film perhaps isn't a strong enough film to gain much traction among those who are predicting this year's race. The current leaders in the Best Actor race are considered to be Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game), Michael Keaton (Birdman), Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) and Steve Carell (Foxcatcher). Duvall has a slightly better chance to get a nod for Supporting Actor, although the favourites are J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), Edward Norton (Birdman), Mark Ruffalo (Foxcatcher) and Ethan Hawke (Boyhood).

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The main problem with The Judge is that it makes it painfully clear that it wants to be taken seriously, and voters tend to resist being told who to cast their ballots for. They're probably more likely to nod to Cannes winner Timothy Spall (Mr Turner), well-liked Ben Affleck (Gone Girl) or newcomer Jack O'Connell (Unbroken). But then, nobody knows anything. And there are still three months before Oscar nominations are announced.

Watch the trailer for The Judge