Oscar Watch: Halle Berry crashing the best actress race with 'Frankie and Alice'
Can Oscar lightning strike twice? That's what Freestyle Releasing and Halle Berry are hoping for after moving the former best actress winner's new film, "Frankie and Alice," to a limited release in Dec.
Directed by Geoffrey Sax ("Othello," "White Noise"), the '70's era true story finds Berry playing Frankie Murdoch, a stripper trying to deal with her dissociative identity disorder or multiple personalities, one of which just happens to be racist (uh-oh). The film debuted at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, and while the picture didn't set the Croisette on fire, Berry got strong notices for her performance. Now, Freestyle will release the picture for a qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles on Dec. 17, before a regular theatrical release occurs on Feb. 4, 2011 (assuming Berry gets a nomination).
In a statement released today, Berry says, “Bringing this story to the big screen has been a challenging, yet very satisfying, filmmaking experience. Frankie’s struggles with mental illness came at a time when the medical community and the public were still grappling with the veracity of multiple personality disorder, and I approached this role with feelings of humility, yet great responsibility.”
A report from the always reliable Pete Hammond says 10,000 screeners will be mailed to SAG and Academy members which is impressive for a company the size of Freestyle. The studio is hoping to duplicate the last minute success of "Crazy Heart" last year which found Jeff Bridges a surprise contender and eventual awards season rock star in the best actor race. Unlike the best actor field last year, the 2010 best actress pool is deep and highly competitive. If Berry wants to land a nomination, she'll have to find a way to knock out expected players such as Natalie Portman ("Black Swan"), Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right"), Leslie Manville ("Another Year"), Nicole Kidman ("Rabbit Hole"), Jennifer Lawrence ("Winter's Bone") and Tilda Swinton ("I Am Love") among others.
Berry, who is also a producer on the film, appears more than ready to hit the awards circuit to help promote the picture. First up? AFI Fest 2010 will feature a “Conversation on Acting with Halle Berry” on November 9th at 7pm at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. Something suggests more "X-Men" fans will be there than Academy members, but it certainly can't hurt her cause.
In other news…
- The LA Film Critics will honor four-time Oscar nominee Paul Mazursky with their 2010 Career Achievement Award. Mazursky is best known for "Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice," "An Unmarried Woman," "Down and Out in Beverly Hills" (which pretty much helped save Walt Disney Studios in the '80s), "Moon over Parador" (a personal favorite), "Enemies, A Love Story" and "Scenes from a Mall." The filmmaker will receive his award Jan. 15 in Los Angeles.
- David Lynch is AFI 2010's Guest Director and his five films in the festival's sidebar program have finally been revealed. Lynch chose "Hour of the Wolf, directed by Ingmar Bergman; "Lolita," directed by Stanley Kubrick, "Mon Oncle," directed by Jacques Tati, "Rear Window," directed by Alfred Hitchcock and "Sunset Blvd," directed by Billy Wilder. Screenings and ticket information is available here.
- Good news. The 2010 BAFTA Britannia Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, Nov. 7 at 8:00 PM ET/PT on TV Guide. I had the luck to attend last year's show which was a truly entertaining night. Superb host Stephen Fry is back and this year's honorees include Jeff Bridges, Scott Free Productions (Ridley and Tony Scott), Michael Sheen and, yes, Betty White. The only disappointment is that the Nov. 4 show won't be broadcast live. Look for complete coverage here on HitFix.