Oscar Update: ‘Betty Anne Waters’ Gets a New Title and Release Date

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Hilary Swank in Conviction

Photo: Fox Searchlight

I’d heard Fox Searchlight was searching for title changes for their upcoming Hilary Swank feature Betty Anne Waters and today it was announced a change had been made along with a release date. Betty Anne Waters will now be known as Conviction and will be released on Friday, October 15 on a limited platform.

The film is directed by Tony Goldwyn (The Last Kiss) and is based on the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Swank) a high school dropout who spent nearly two decades working as a single mother while putting herself through law school, tirelessly trying to beat the system and overturn her brother’s (Rockwell) unjust murder conviction. Conviction is described as an exploration of the profound bond between a brother and sister – a love so deep, so unequivocal, so complete that it becomes a force that will not be denied or defeated.

This will certainly serve as Swank’s Oscar vehicle of 2010 after the unfortunate end result of Amelia last year. However, with Sam Rockwell in tow and the rise in attention he has received from all corners thanks to last year’s Moon this may be an opportunity to receive his first Oscar nomination. Don’t get me started listing all the films he should have been nominated for in the past, but it would be nice to finally see him get rewarded with a nom at the very least.

In other Oscar related corners, The Weinstein Co. has picked up distribution rights for Julian Schnabel’s Miral starring Hiam Abbass, Freida Pinto, Willem Dafoe, Alexander Siddig and Makram Khoury. This was a film many were hoping would land at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, but now it’s looking like it will debut in Venice in September, but I’m hoping it will also find its way to Toronto later that same month as I will be there for that festival.

Miral serves as Schnabel’s follow-up to the four-time Oscar-nominated film The Diving Bell and the Butterfly in 2007, which was nominated for Director, Cinematography, Editing and Screenplay. The film is an adaptation of Italo-Palestinian Rula Jebreal’s book about the real-life Palestinian woman Hind Husseini, who started the Dar Al-Tifl orphanage in Jerusalem in the wake of the 1948 partition of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. Pic will span the years 1948-94.

Miral is just one more for the pile of solid Oscar features the Weinsteins have accumulated this year including the documentary The Tillman Story, Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine (which I wasn’t a huge fan of; my Cannes review The Company Men.

In other news I finally saw Aaron Schneider’s Get Low yesterday and you can pretty much chalk up Robert Duvall for a Best Actor nomination. Not that me saying that is any surprise, but wow, oh wow does he knock it out of the park. Bill Murray and Lucas Black are also very solid in the film as well. I will have a full review for the July 30 release date.

Finally, if you’ve been tuning in to my “The Contenders” section you’ve seen the news that the National Board of Review will hold their annual awards gala on Tuesday, January 11, 2011, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City and the 2010 Broadcast Film Critics Awards will be held on January 15, 2011.

To stay up-to-date on everything Oscar stay tuned to my “The Contenders” section throughout the year.

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