Weinstein Co. Starts 2013 Oscar Bid, Sets Dates for FRUITVALE, GRACE OF MONACO, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, and MANDELA: LONG WALK TO FREEDOM

     March 2, 2013

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It’s been less than a week since this year’s Oscars, but The Weinstein Company has already set fall release dates for four of next year’s contenders.  And with Meryl Streep in the mix, it’s safe to say that Harvey Thanked More Than God Weinstein’s chances are looking good.  So what’s on tap?  Check it out below:

  • Fruitvale – This Sundance darling (read our review), the true story of a 22-year-old Bay Area resident who was shot to death in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2009, will open October 18.
  • August: Osage County – A family comes together after their alcoholic patriarch goes missing in this adaptation of Tracy Lett’s comedic play, which is slated for November 8.
  • Mandela: Long Walk to FreedomIdris Elba portrays Nelson Mandela in this film based on the South African president’s 1995 autobiography, scheduled for November 29.
  • Grace of MonacoNicole Kidman steps into the shoes of the legendary Hollywood star who became a princess in this film, which opens on December 27.

Hit the jump for more on each of the movies, as well as their release dates.

fruitvale-posterBox Office Mojo reports that Fruitvale, which premiered earlier this year at Sundance, will kick off the studio’s awards season on October 18. After this year’s snub of Chronicle, I can’t wait to see star Michael B. Jordan (who played the ill-fated Steve) in the public eye once again.  The film centers on the 2009 police shooting of Oscar Grant (Jordan).  The 22-year-old was shot by a BART police officer (who was later convicted of involuntary manslaughter) at the Fruitvale station in Oakland, California on New Year’s Day.  The violence was caught on cell phones, sparking protests in the days after. The emotional film, co-starring Octavia Spencer, focuses on Grant’s final 24 hours.

Next up is November 8’s August: Osage County.  Much as I love Streep, there’s plenty of other big name actors to be excited for in this stage adaptation, including Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, and Sherlock’s rising star Benedict Cumberbatch.  The story centers on a family that is brought together after their alcoholic patriarch goes AWOL.  Fans of the stage version are in luck: Letts is adapting his own play (which earned the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama) for the big screen.

Elba could be in contention for Best Actor with Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which is slated for November 29.  The Wire star is overdue for some awards recognition (though he did win a Golden Globe for the excellent miniseries Luther in 2012) and I’m excited to see him in what will hopefully be a meaty role (unlike, say, Prometheus).  The movie also stars Naomie Harris, aka Skyfall’s Moneypenny, as Winnie Mandela.  We’re likely to see a lot of them towards the end of 2013 – both actors have been getting some serious awards buzz.

Last but not least is Kidman’s Grace of Monaco, which is scheduled for December 27.  On paper, the movie focuses on Grace Kelly’s involvement with the dispute between Monaco and France over tax laws in the early 1960s, but at heart it’s really more her personal story during a challenging time in her life.  While the biopic doesn’t look like it’s heading for a Best Picture nomination at the moment (admittedly it’s still early), Kidman’s portrayal of the princess seems sure to get her a Best Actress nod.

Which film are you most excited to see?

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