We may be right in the heart of summer blockbuster season, but Harvey Weinstein is already looking ahead to Oscar campaigns that he will mount this fall and he's dropped dates for a bunch of new films, including four which could be heavy contenders for statues. So let's get started, shall we?
Kicking things off is "The Iron Lady" which stars Meryl Streep as former (and reviled) Brit leader Margaret Thatcher. You can pretty much already slot her in for a Best Actress nomination. Joining Streep in the picture is an extensive cast of British acting talent including Jim Broadbent, Olivia Colman, Alexandra Roach, Anthony Head, Angus Wright, Michael Heseltine, Richard E. Grant, Julian Wadham, Francis Pym, Roger Allam and Michael Pennington. The only question mark is what “Mamma Mia!” director Phyllida Lloyd will bring to the equation, but with the cast she has, we imagine they'll be doing most of the heavy lifting. The film will open on December 16th where it battle for arthouse crowds against Alexander Payne's "The Descendants."
Already earning huge buzz thanks after premiering at the Berlin Film Festival, Ralph Fiennes’ adaptation of Shakespeare’s “Coriolanus" should be one to watch. The contemporary re-up of the play already has Vanessa Redgrave‘s performance as the hero’s mother Volumnia gathering early Oscar talk. Gerard Butler, Jessica Chastain, Brian Cox and James Nesbitt star in the film that is said to be a "Hurt Locker"-style take on the Shakespeare work. At the very least, it should be leagues ahead of Roland Emmerich's "Anonymous." The film hits on December 2nd which shockingly, has nothing else scheduled on it (for now).
After wowing critics last year in "Blue Valentine," Michelle Williams is set to once again do the awards circuit, taking on one of the most iconic actresses of all time in "My Week With Marilyn." The project, directed by TV veteran Simon Curtis (”Cranford”), centers on Marilyn Monroe (Williams) and follows her friendship with young Englishman Colin Clark while in the country shooting “The Prince and the Showgirl,” as well as her tempestuous relationship with director/co-star Laurence Olivier. Rising star Eddie Redmayne plays Clark, with Kenneth Branagh taking on the mantle of Olivier, and a solid supporting cast including Judi Dench as actress Sybil Thorndike, Julia Ormond as Olivier’s wife Vivien Leigh, Dougray Scott as Monroe’s husband Arthur Miller, with Derek Jacobi, Dominic Cooper and Emma Watson rounding things out. The film will wiggle its hips into theaters on November 4th.
Lastly, the Weinsteins big pre-Cannes buy "The Artist" is hoping for some Best Foreign Film glory. Wowing audiences last month at the Cannes Film Festival where we called it "magical" and "a big blast of pure delight," this one will be a tricky sell for Harvey, but should easily build a following thanks to word of mouth. Directed by Michel Hazanavicius, the film centers on a fictional silent movie star George Valentin (played to perfection by Jean Dujardin) who finds his career fading with the advent of the talkies, while an actress he mentors, Peppy Miller (Berenice Bejo) begins a rise to stardom. The twist? Hazanavicius shot the movie in black-and-white as a silent film, but he remarkably finds a wealth of life and energy in the old school format. Believe us, this is one of the most entertaining movies you'll see all year and it will definitely rank on our "best of" in December. The Weinsteins will start getting the word out on November 23rd.
Also slated: "The Bully Project" arrives on November 11th, "Scary Movie 5" comes back on April 20, 2012 and "Halloween 3D" has staked out October 26, 2012. [BoxOfficeMojo]