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A small indie drama getting released in the fall isn't really news. But when the very press release for that film shouts "Nominate me for an Oscar!", it's at least an oddity. The Michelle Monaghan drama Trucker hit the festival circuit last year, and now has been picked up by Monterey Media, which will release the film October 9.

The press release crows that the date puts the film "right into the middle of the fall awards season," which is a pretty clever way of getting people to say "Could Michelle Monaghan be nominated?" before most people have even seen the film. To be fair, the pulled press quotes in the release are positive; the words "unforgettable" and "star-making are tossed around freely." Looking at Erik Davis' full review at Cinematical, you may notice they conveniently left out the part where he suggests that "I'm not sure there's enough hurt and dirt in the part to get her a[n Oscar] nod."

Still, it looks like they'll be doing their damnedest to get her there anyway, starting the Oscar talk now and seeing how far it can get them. There's the Melissa Leo in Frozen River precedent suggesting that such a long-shot nod is possible, but... I'm skeptical until a solid amount of rave reviews start supporting this cause.

Read the full press release below:

New York (NY) (August 24, 2009) – California based-Monterey Media, which acquired U.S. rights to writer/director James Mottern’s TRUCKER starring Michelle Monaghan, has set an October 9 release date for the film, putting it right into the middle of the Fall awards season. Produced by Plum Pictures (The Great World of Sound, Grace is Gone) and Scott Hanson, and executive produced by Hart-Lunsford Pictures and Monaghan, the film also stars Nathan Fillion, Benjamin Bratt, Jimmy Bennett and Joey Lauren Adams. The film will open exclusively in New York theaters and then roll out nationally.

TRUCKER tells the story of Diane Ford (Monaghan), a vivacious young truck driver, who leads a carefree life of long-haul trucking, one night stands and all-night drinking until the evening her estranged 11-year-old son shows up at her door.

“I tried to make Trucker for a few years..one problem I was always faced with was finding a lead actress that really spoke to me on a gut level. I looked for a long time,” says Mottern. “Then I saw Michelle Monaghan in a movie called North Country. Her performance in that film is outstanding. But there’s this one scene where the character she plays is standing outside her trailer saying good bye to Charlize Theron’s character and the camera holds on Michelle for a beat, not saying a word; I saw that and it hit me like a freight train - “There she is. Diane.”

The film, which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, received a strong response with Roger Friedman calling it “a star-making performance for Monaghan, much the same as "Working Girl" once put Melanie Griffith on the map;” Ed Douglas at Coming Soon noted an “unforgettable performance” by Monaghan; and Erik Davis at Cinematical said that “the performances (specifically Monaghan and Bennett) are so good that you almost forget where, how and when you've seen this story before.…Trucker is like Sherrybaby-lite; this is quite obviously Monaghan's ‘Oscar’ role.”

“We bought this film because we just fell in love with it, with Michelle’s amazing performance, and with the beauty of James’ script,” says CFO and Managing Partner Jere Rae-Mansfield. “Our hope is that both audiences and voters will fall in love all the same.”

Monaghan’s previous credits include Ben Affleck’s Gone Baby Gone with Casey Affleck and Amy Ryan, Shane Black’s Kiss Kiss Bang Bang with Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer, Niki Caro’s North Country with Charlize Theron and Sissy Spacek.

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