Update: The 2015 Oscar race may be a twofer for Julianne Moore, with word that "Maps to the Stars" may sneak in a short release to qualify for the race. More details below.

One of the major surprises out of this year's Toronto International Film Festival was Julianne Moore's heartbreaking, subdued work in "Still Alice." A film that could easily have shriveled up into a ball of schmaltz, Moore, along with directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, explore the debilitating effects of early onset Alzheimer's with confidence and familial tenderness. "Still Alice" doesn't twist its knife to illicit a sob-fest — the tears come naturally.

When Sony Pictures Classics picked up "Still Alice" out of TIFF, a Best Actress campaign was a given. HitFix first broke the news that the film would get a qualifying release, but last week Sony Classics made it official: The studio will release Glatzer and Westmoreland's drama for a one-week qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles at the tail end of December. A wide release is scheduled for Jan. 16.

Based on author Lisa Genova's 2007 bestselling novel, "Still Alice" follows a cognitive psychologist (Moore) who, after picking up on Alzheimer's symptoms, prepares herself and her family for the worst. Alec Baldwin, Kristen Stewart, Kate Bosworth, and Hunter Parrish round out a cast that keeps up with Moore's naturalistic, vivacious work.

Moore is a four-time Oscar nominee, earning Supporting Actress nods for "Boogie Nights" (1997) and "The Hours" (2002) and Best Actress love for "The End of an Affair" (1999) and "Far From Heaven" (2002), making her one of eight women to earn two nominations in different categories in the same year. At the 2014 Cannes Film Festival, Moore won Best Actress for her work in David Cronenberg's "Maps to the Stars." The challenging performance is an absolute hoot, and though it was originally thought to be out of contention for this year's award season, Vulture now reports that the Focus World release will make an appearance in theaters before the end of the year. The news comes straight from Cronenberg, who told a reporter at the film's New York Film Festival premiere that Focus World is planning a New York/Los Angeles release.

For more on "Still Alice," read our review out of Toronto.

Matt Patches is a writer and reporter based in New York. His work has appeared on Grantland, New York Magazine's Vulture, VanityFair.com, and The Hollywood Reporter. He thinks Groundhog Day is perfect.