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Scorsese's "Silence" to get Oscar-qualifying release Dec. 23 
In this Sept. 21, 2016 file photo, honoree Martin Scorsese attends the Friars Club Entertainment Icon Award ceremony in New York. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
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Martin Scorsese's "Silence," a historical drama about faith in feudal Japan, will open in time to qualify for the Academy Awards.

Paramount Pictures said Monday that "Silence" will open in limited release Dec. 23 with a nationwide expansion to follow sometime in January.

Whether the film, a decades-long passion project for Scorsese, would be ready in time for release this year had been a major question mark in Hollywood's awards season. Scorsese's last two feature films, "The Wolf of Wall Street" and "Hugo," collected a total of 16 Oscar nominations.

"Silence," which stars Andrew Garfield, Adam Driver and Liam Neeson, is based on Shusaku Endo's 1966 novel. It's about two Portuguese Jesuit missionaries traveling to 17th-century Japan to spread Christianity and find their missing mentor.