In case anyone is wondering, Warner Bros. is taking an awards season campaign for its critically acclaimed blockbuster "Inception" very seriously.  Contrary to pundit opinion, Chris Nolan's complex thriller isn't just a lock for a nomination, but it could easily win.  And Warner Bros. is looking at the race like a marathon and not a sprint -- a strategy its had success with in the past.

A few years ago, Warner Bros. ended up being something of a darkhorse best picture winner when "The Departed" surprised by overtaking "Little Miss Sunshine" and "Babel" on Oscar night.  Now, we are far from this season's big show and "Inception" really needs an acting nod in there (perhaps a stronger push for the deserving Ms. Cotillard in supporting?), but the studio is doing its best to lock up the other key guilds and categories necessary to be a game changing contender. One of those just happens to be original screenplay.

To make sure the media and select members of the WGA don't forget about Nolan's original work, the studio has sent out copies of the book "Inception: The Shooting Script" in a steel case similar to the one that contained the "dream" machine in the movie.  You can see what it looks like in the photo embedded in this page.  It's a smart, out of the box move.  We'll find out it if it helped seal a needed WGA nod on Jan. 4.

In other awards season news…

- "True Grit" has been chosen as the opening night film for the 61st Berlin Film Festival. Paramount is hoping to capitalize on some Berlin press and Oscar nominations before releasing the picture across Europe in February.

- Geoffrey Rush will receive the Montecito Award at the 26th Santa Barbara Film Festival on Monday, Jan. 31, 2011.  The lifetime achievement honor has previously been presented to Julianne Moore, Kate Winslet, Javier Bardem, Naomi Watts and Annette Bening.  Rush is a leading contender for a number of best supporting actor contests this year.

- Paramount held a special "Fighter" screening and art show this past Saturday night in Los Angeles.  Awards Campaign couldn't make it, but you can still order some of the sweet original T-shirts and poster prints here.  All the proceeds go to the charity of the film's subject, boxer Micky Ward.

- The Globe and SAG nods aren't the only big critic's group awards being announced next week.  The prestigious Los Angeles Film Critic's reveal their best of list on Sunday and the New York Film Critic's Circle announce their honorees on Monday morning PST.  Sign up for awards season alerts below to make sure you find out the winners first.
 

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