Warner Bros.' Oscar stable only has two entries this year -- Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar" and Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" -- and if we had to put our money on one to be a serious heavyweight, with all due respect to Clint, we'd have to back Daldry's flick. Why? Well, he's repeating a formula that has worked very well for the director of "The Hours" and "The Reader" in the past.
The film boasts an adaptation by an A-list screenwriter (in this case, “Forrest Gump” writer Eric Roth), of a literary bestseller—the sophomore novel from “Everything Is lluminated” writer Jonathan Safran Foer—that focuses on Oskar Schell, a nine-year-old boy from Manhattan whose father died on 9/11. Two years later, the boy discovers a key belonging to his father, which sends him on a search through the city. Newcomer Thomas Horn will play Oskar, with Sandra Bullock and Tom Hanks as his parents and John Goodman as a doorman who aids Schell on his quest. Viola Davis, Jeffrey Wright, Max Von Sydow and James Gandolfini round out the cast. You can't really ask for better set of talent in front and behind the camera than this. Best-selling and critically acclaimed book + three-time Best Director Oscar nominee + five-time nominee and two-time Oscar winning actor + Best Actress winner = instant awards horse. They would have to screw the pooch pretty hard to mess this one up.
Filming started earlier in the year, so no surprise the flick will be coming in under the wire with a Christmas Day limited (and Oscar qualifying) release set and a wide launch to follow on January 20, 2012. [Box Office Mojo]