A24 Films released the first 'A Most Violent Year' trailer, while simultaneously announcing its official release date for December 31, officially placing it in this year's Oscar race. As the frontrunners of awards season begin to take shape, the first footage of director J.C. Chandor's latest pegs this dark and gritty film as one to watch.

Starring 'Star Wars: Episode 7' star Oscar Isaac (replacing 'Skyfall' baddie Javier Bardem) and two-time Oscar-nominated Jessica Chastain, 'A Most Violent Year' takes its name from 1981, which is statistically one of the most violent and dark years in New York City's history. As summarized by A24, the film centers "on the lives of an immigrant and his family trying to expand their business and capitalize on opportunities as the rampant violence, decay, and corruption of the day drag them in and threaten to destroy all they have built."

It's hard to say where this film stands against the other Oscar contenders, but we can't forget how Chandor got snubbed last year for 'All Is Lost,' starring Robert Redford, which seemed locked for at least some Best Actor recognition. However, this 'A Most Violent Year' trailer does well in teasing stirring performances from Isaac, who proved his leading man chops in the Coen Brothers' 'Inside Llewyn Davis,' and Chastain, who previously earned nominations for 'Zero Dark Thirty' and 'The Help,' and will appear opposite Matthew McConaughey in this year's 'Interstellar.' It's been a big year for both actors, and we're interested to see how they work together onscreen.

As previously mentioned, 'A Most Violent Year' will hit theaters on December 31.

A24 Films