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Could “Hemingway” cost Javier Bardem an Oscar nomination?

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Is Roadside Attractions biting off more than it can chew when it comes to this year’s Oscar race?

The growing film distributor hasn’t yet had a major taste of Oscar pie, having nibbled around the edges with Morgan Spurlock’s nominated doc “Super Size Me” back in 2004. All of a sudden, the company has a full plate of Oscar contenders heading into the annual awards season, and it just shifted everything around a little bit to make room for one more acquisition.

According to a release, Roadside Attractions picked up the rights to John Irvin’s “Hemingway’s Garden of Eden,” a feature-film adaptation of the cherished author’s last novel, which was posthumously published. Wasting no time, Roadside announced it will release “Eden” on Dec. 10.

Does that suggest awards aspirations for “Eden” cast members Mena Suvari, Caterina Murino, Matthew Modine or Carmen Maura? Maybe the studio smells technical potential for this Jazz Age-set romance? It’s possible, though the film only has a 5.4 grade (out of 10) on IMDb as it was released in Europe in 2008.

Roadside didn’t need to fill its December release schedule. The company already has Alejandro González Iñárritu’s gut-wrenching “Biutiful” and the oft-delayed comedy “I Love You Phillip Morris” with Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor on its December slate.

And both films harbor Oscar hopes. Buzz swirls around Javier Bardem’s brilliant turn in “Biutiful,” while Jim Carrey has earned raves for Morris. The former seems like a lock, while the latter is a distinct possibility. But will “Eden” divide Roadside’s attentions? Could this new addition also cut into some of the campaign time that’s needed to boost Roadside’s “Winter’s Bone” into deserved categories like Best Actress (for Jennifer Lawrence) and the Best Picture race? Or is this the distributor’s bold way of announcing itself as a serious Oscar player after years of standing on the outside looking in.

Either way, it makes an already interesting race more competitive. I can’t wait to see how it all plays out.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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One Comment

  • October 20, 2010 | Permalink |

    This shouldn’t affect Bardem’s chances. Roadside has alreayd put out a new, official domestic trailer. It has been on the web for the last few days. So their campaign for Bardem has already begun.

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