Watch: Liam Neeson battles the wild in ‘The Grey’

The prevailing wisdom of this year’s best actor race is that it’s “The Descendants'” George Clooney and/or “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy’s” Gary Oldman’s to lose.  And while that may be true, there are a number of potential late candidates ready to crash the party.  Oldman is one of the most glaring of an acclaimed actor who hasn’t even received a nomination, but Liam Neeson is an example one of the most acclaimed actors of our time who hasn’t won.  If Open Road Pictures sticks to its rumored plan, Neeson may get a chance at Oscar once more.

Neeson stars in Joe Carnahan’s new thriller “The Grey” which is set for a very Neeson friendly Jan. 27 release date (thank you “Taken”), but Open Road is considering an Academy Award qualifying run specifically around Neeson’s performance.  “The Grey” centers on a group of Alaska oil drilling team whose plane crashes in the wilderness.  As they try to make their way to safety they find themselves tracked by a pack of wolves who view them as intruders. Uh oh.

The thriller’s trailer debuted online today and while it is visually arresting it’s still unclear whether it features an awards worthy performance.  Granted, it’s a trailer, but anyone else getting an “Alive” meets “The Edge” vibe here?  Could be commercial, but we’re not convinced its more than that.  Yet.

You can watch the preview embedded below.

“The Grey” opens nationwide on Jan. 27, 2012.