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Awards season is still months away from formally beginning, but the best actor race is already shaping up. It's going to be another competitive year with highly anticipated performances from Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln"), Denzel Washington ("Flight") and Philip Seymour Hoffman ("The Master") on the way. There is, however, one phenomenal turn that's been waiting in the wings since Sundance, John Hawkes acclaimed portrayal of polio victim Mark O'Brien in "The Sessions."
Originally titled "The Surrogate," Ben Lewin's drama won the coveted audience award in the premieres category as well as a special jury prize for ensemble acting which Hawkes shared with Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Annika Marks and Moon Bloodgood. The storyline follows the true story of O'Brien, a thirtysomething man who has suffered from polio for almost his entire life. He has to spend 20 hours a day in an iron lung and his body has been twisted and ravaged by the disease. And, truth be told, he's sexually a virgin but not because he's incapable. His condition should technically allow him to engage in an active, but limited sex life. He's eventually referred to a sexual surrogate (Hunt) who administers six sessions of therapy. What happens next will be saved for your local multiplex.
After a rapturous premiere, the film was quickly snatched up by Fox Searchlight who are positioning it for a late October platform release.
HitFix's Drew McWeeny called Hawkes performance "exceptional" and while this pundit was unable to catch it in Park City it's clearly one of the upcoming season's "must-see" movies.
Fox Searchlight was kind enough to provide an exclusive premiere for the poster which you can view below. No doubt, a trailer will debut sometime soon.
"The Sessions" will open in limited release on Oct. 26.