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Conventional wisdom about this year's Oscars is that the Best Actress field is the most crowded it's been in years, with at least 8 performances reasonably claiming space in the category, and of course only room for 5. It would be a smart move for an independent project with no set release date to sit things out and try again next year, but when you're former Oscar winner Halle Berry, the rules are a bit different.
According to Deadline, Berry has planned a December release date and full Oscar campaign for Frankie & Alice, a psychological drama she also produced, the true story of a stripper suffering multiple personality disorder that transforms her into a racist white Southern belle and a genius child. The movie was filmed way back in 2008 but resurfaced at the Cannes buyer's market earlier this year, where THR called it "a well-wrought psychological drama that delves into the dark side of one woman's psyche." The review has been removed from the site, but it's available as a Google cache here.
Freestyle Releasing has picked up the film for distribution, and the December 17 release will be a mere qualifying run before a full release on February 4. On top of that they're planning to send 10,000 screeners to Academy voters, critics and everyone else who could possibly support the film; Berry will also be on hand at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles for the November 9 event "A Conversation With Halle Berry."
It's not unusual to see a campaign like this for a tiny film with a recognizable actress, but I'll be honest-- these campaigns are almost always doomed from the start. Halle Berry is due for a career comeback, true, but it would be frankly astonishing to see Frankie & Alice not only return her to prominence, but snag her a second Oscar nomination in the process. If the movie is any good at all, it's far more likely that Frankie & Alice's mammoth Oscar campaign will serve to remind us of her talent and clear the way for her to return to the Oscars, possibly, with a bigger campaign to hang her hat on.