The ensemble melodrama in the face of tragedy has long been a favorite of Oscar voters. Think 'Crash,' think 'JFK.' Meaty parts for actors, real drama. 'Parkland' is the latest, which focuses on the aftermath of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and has assembled Zac Efron, Paul Giamatti and Billy Bob Thornton (among others) to document one of America's darkest moments.

From the cast list, Efron is obviously the biggest question mark, but there's also Ron Livingston, Jacki Weaver and Marcia Gay Harden there to tip the film more into the "awards caliber" camp than something like 'Bobby' (if anyone remembers that film). The film is also done with a more documentary-like approach, which helps create a sense of seriousness. If it works, expect it to start leading Oscar prediction lists.

'Parkland' opens September 20. Here's the film's synopsis:

November 22nd, 1963 was a day that changed the world forever when young American President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. We follow in almost real time a handful of individuals forced to make split-second decisions after this incomprehensible event that would change their lives and forever alter our worlds landscape: the young doctors and nurses at Parkland Hospital, the chief of the Dallas Secret Service, the unwitting cameraman who captured what has become the most watched and examined film in history, the FBI Agents who had gunman Lee Harvey Oswald within their grasp and Vice President Lyndon Johnson who had to take control of a country in a moments notice. Thrust into a scenario of unprecedented drama with unimaginable consequences, these key characters respond with shock, outrage, determination and courage.

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