OK, so a Bedřich Smetana movie would be pure, shameless Oscar bait—perhaps of the same stuffy quality of, say, The King's Speech. But, hey, The King's Speech won several awards, didn't it? We might be onto something here.

In his native Czech Republic, Smetana is fondly remembered for composing patriotic tunes that motivated his country's citizens to fight for independent statehood from the Habsburg Austrian Empire's monarchistic reign. Once those tensions ceased, he turned his attention to overseeing hugely successful operas, namely the internationally acclaimed The Bartered Bride (1866).

Here's where Smetana's story really becomes an awards season contender: For the last 10 years of his life, Smetana created popular music despite the fact that he'd gone completely deaf. Impressively, he defied the limitations of a soundless lifestyle to make music, and continued to do so until bouts with dementia led to time spent inside an insane asylum and, ultimately, his death in 1884.