The long-anticipated feature Les Miserables may be a popular contender at the 2013 Academy Awards, according to reports of initial reactions in the US.

Screenings at the Alice Tully Hall in New York and an intimate 100-person viewing at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills both reportedly stirred immediate Oscar whispers.

Best Picture Favourites for the esteemed awards ceremony so far include Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook and Life of Pi.

Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech), Les Miserables is one of the last unseen contenders to join the Oscar race.

 Starring Australians Hugh Jackman and Russell Crowe, along with international talent Anne Hathaway, Amanda Seyfriend and Helena Bonham Carter, Les Miserables is based on the adaptation of the successful stage musical based on Victor Hugo's classic novel set in 19th-century France.

 It includes international musical hits such as “I Dreamed a Dream”, “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”, “On My Own” and “Castle on a Cloud”.

The last musical to win Best Picture at the Academy was Chicago ten years ago, and prior to that, Oliver which won in 1968.

Universal will release Les Miserables in Australia on Boxing Day.

Oscar voting takes place over the Christmas and New Year break. 

To see the official trailer, click here

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