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Having spent much of 2009 turning its searchlight toward the ocean of filmdom and seeing little more than inky blackness, Fox Searchlight is suddenly going all in, advancing 'Crazy Heart' to a limited December release -- just in the nick of time for serious consideration by Uncle Oscar. Having spent much of 2009 turning its searchlight toward the ocean of filmdom and seeing little more than inky blackness, Fox Searchlight is suddenly going all in, advancing 'Crazy Heart' to a limited December release -- just in the nick of time for serious consideration by Uncle Oscar.

'Crazy Heart' stars Jeff Bridges in a good role: Bad Blake, an alcohol-swilling country music singer long past his warble-by date. Not only is Bad pretty bad at sobriety, he's ripe for rescuing -- courtesy of a goodhearted journalist played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. Robert Duvall and Colin Farrell also star.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Searchlight latched onto the film last July and planned to release it wide next spring. With the studio reflecting on its on-again, off-again year, however, and realizing that perhaps only '(500) Days of Summer' might joust in Oscar battle next year, perhaps 2010 is meant to be Bridges' year.

After all, the actor has been Oscar-nominated four times -- in 1971 ('The Last Picture Show'), 1974 ('Thunderbolt & Lightfoot'), 1984 ('Starman') and 2000 ('The Contender') -- but returned home without a statuette each time.

Bridges also pops up in the newly released 'The Men Who Stare at Goats,' but George Clooney is expected to receive the bulk of the attention from that kicky flick.

Searchlight has set 'Crazy Heart' screenings to start December 16 in New York and L.A. Scott Cooper penned the screenplay, based on Thomas Cobb's same-name novel, and with this film is also making his directorial debut.