By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood October 14, 2011 at 6:24AM
Fox Searchlight bravely took on the release of Telluride and Toronto Fest sex-addict shocker Shame (December 2), which reunites Brit director Steve McQueen with his Hunger star Michael Fassbender. Hunger was not an easy shoot, nor was Shame, and McQueen may well have directed Fassbender to his first Oscar nomination. And that's in a film likely to be rated NC-17. With Fassbender's overall heat--with four well-reviewed films to his credit this year, from X-Men: First Class and Jane Eyre to the upcoming A Dangerous Method directed by David Cronenberg--contributing momentum for award season consideration, it will be up to Searchlight to present the film just right for Academy voters, many of whom may find the elegant art film's full-frontal content too provocative. Remember, Searchlight turned intense performances by Mickey Rourke and Natalie Portman in Darren Aronofsky's gritty dramas The Wrestler and Black Swan into Academy contenders--and Portman won. Co-star Carey Mulligan is less likely to register with the actors' branch.