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One of the many X factors of the Oscar race this year has been "Foxcatcher," the new true-crime feature from "Moneyball" director Bennett Miller. Now, with its release date solidified, the film is teed up to be a major contender come awards season.
Sony Pictures Classics, not Columbia Pictures, will be handling the film's just-announced December 20 release, right in the heart of awards season. This is a very good sign for the movie, which was co-financed by Columbia and Megan Ellison's Annapurna Pictures: Sony Pictures Classics has a history of ensuring little golden statues, and December 20 is a big date.
"Foxcatcher" concerns the real-life case of multimillionaire John du Pont (Steve Carell), who murdered an Olympic wrestling champion (Mark Ruffalo) at his home. Channing Tatum stars as the victim's younger brother. Such heavy-duty stuff is familiar territory for Miller, whose previous true-life films -- "Moneyball" and "Capote" -- proved to be critically and commercially successful, both earning Best Picture Oscar nominations. With "Foxcatcher's" cast and built-in prestige, it will undoubtedly do quite well.
Both Sony and Sony Classics have a number of potentially Oscar-friendly movies coming out in the next few months, including John Krokidas's "Kill Your Darlings," David O. Russell's "American Hustle," Paul Greengrass's "Captain Phillips," and George Clooney's "Monuments Men." Arguably, Sony Pictures Classics also has the frontrunner so far this year -- Richard Linklater's universally adored "Before Midnight." But at this point it's still anyone's game.