Oscar contenders get early start

Sept. 26, 2006 at 5:34 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Sept. 26 (UPI) -- The move of the Academy Awards presentation to February has made sure that most weekends this fall are packed with at least one or two film debuts.

The switch was supposed to make the Oscars more current but instead of limiting films' campaign time, the move seems to be doing the reverse as Oscar hopefuls are extending their campaign's to last months instead of weeks, The Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

Several big-ticket films, including Clint Eastwood's Iwo Jima story, "Flags of Our Fathers," will premiere before Halloween this year.

"When you start looking at the release schedule, even in September and October there are no weekends in which there are not at least one or two Oscar aspirants," James Schamus, chief executive of Focus Features, told the Times.

Focus released "Hollywoodland," the film about the death of TV's "Superman" actor George Reeves on Sept. 8 and will release the South Africa drama "Catch a Fire" on Oct. 27.

Some prominent award contenders will still premiere in December, including Peter O'Toole's "Venus" on Dec. 15, the musical "Dreamgirls" on Dec. 21 and "Blood Diamond," a Leonardo DiCaprio drama on Dec. 15.

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