As previously noted, this is an unusually strong year for best actresses. Serious contenders for an Academy Award nomination include Natalie Portman, Annette Bening, Julianne Moore, Jennnifer Lawrence, Nicole Kidman, Tilda Swinton, Anne Hathaway, Lesley Manville, and Michelle Williams, to name not even all of the women in the running. Given the unusual depth of field, some actresses might hold on tight to their small passion projects until next year, when they would have a better chance of getting attention, rather than making a last-minute play for awards consideration — but not Halle Berry! Nope, Berry is diving right on into a crowded pool with plans to release her indie Frankie & Alice for an Oscar-qualifying run on December 17, before its regular release in February. Set in the seventies, Frankie & Alice stars Berry as a woman with multiple personality disorder — hey, it worked for Joanne Woodward — and at least one personality is a total racist. The part is apparently her most serious work since her Oscar-winning turn in Monster’s Ball — which, given the stuff she’s done since Monster’s Ball, isn’t saying much — but does explain why she’s so keen to get the film out there. Deadline is reporting that 10,000 screeners will be sent out to the “entire Academy, critics groups, SAG Nominating Committee and others,” in the hopes that Berry can make like Jeff Bridges last year and secure a naked gold man off an under-the-radar, late-screening, small film. We wish her luck, but humbly suggest that if Berry’s really intent on getting to the big show this year, she might want to figure out a way to get nominated as a Best Supporting Actress in her own movie — that field, at least, is wide open.
OSCAR: Halle Berry’s Last-Minute Entrance Into Race [Deadline]