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Anyone trying to get a grip on the ongoing Oscar season is going to have to wait a little bit longer for all the pieces to fall in place. Rob Marshall's Nine, an adaptation of the Broadway musical, has been pushed back from a November 25 release date to a December 18 limited release, going wide on Christms Day.

The movie's only competition on the November date was the Weinstein Company's own The Road, which wouldn't pose much of a threat coming from another studio-- glitzy musical vs. gritty post-apocalyptic drama-- but the Weinsteins need to spread the profits as much as possible. But Lord did the Weinsteins just step in a much bigger heap of trouble-- Variety notes that Nine will now be the only film opening against Avatar, albeit in a limited release in New York and L.A., meaning the old people who hate aliens will have somewhere to go to escape the blue-painted hordes.

It's not a huge shift in dates, and still keeps Nine firmly in the 2009 Oscar race, but it's a bummer that now virtually every major Oscar movie is holding off until a December release. I'm planning to start my Oscar column next week; what the hell am I supposed to write about now?

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