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Rediff.com  » Movies » Much Oscar buzz for Mira Nair's Amelia

Much Oscar buzz for Mira Nair's Amelia

August 21, 2009 15:16 IST

Oscar buzz for the Mira Nair's biopic Amelia is brewing fast, with distributor Fox Searchlight focusing heavily on the film.  At least one publication says the film -- about the mysterious disappearance of aviation pioneer, feminist and author Amelia Earhart -- will compete with James Cameron's eagerly awaited Avatar which is distributed by Fox. It is his first film since the mega hit, Titanic, released in 1997.

Though the nominations are several months away and Amelia opens in late October, several prominent publications including Los Angeles Times and Seattle PI.com are betting on Amelia playing big at the nominations.

'Only three times in history has a woman been nominated for Best Director,' wrote Seattle PI. Com which expects Nair's David go after Cameron's Goliath. 'Mira Nair and Jane Campion (Bright Star) look to make that number five this year.'

The Times expects the Nair film to bag a number of acting nominations.

Fox also distributed Nair's acclaimed The Namesake. Though the film did not get Oscar or Golden Globe nominations, it had a healthy run at the box office grossing $14 million. Hollywood insiders say that Amelia could soar to a $100 million run in North America and a handful of foreign territories, given the intense interest in Amelia Earhart, and the film's good pacing and intensity.

The film, which opens October 23 in USA, has an excellent cast of actors including two-time Oscar winner (Boys Don't Cry, Million Dollar Baby) Hilary Swank, Richard Gere, Ewan McGregor, Virgina Madsen, and Christopher Eccleston.

Earhart disappeared  in 1973 over the Pacific Ocean in an attempted circumnavigational flight across the globe. The American government spent $4 million searching for her but her body was never recovered.

McGregor portrays her lover Gene Vidal (father of the novelist Gore Vidal). Gere is the publisher George Putnam, who had an unhappy marriage with Amelia.

Coincidentally a novel On Borrowed Wings, inspired by Earhart's life, will also be in the bookshops soon -- and its author Chandra Prasad is the daughter of an Indian immigrant.

"Two women with Indian roots working on two different Amelia projects the same year," Prasad says. "Isn't it interesting?"

Los Angeles Times started the Oscar buzz for Amelia saying that Swank is a heavy contender. Her Oscar success 'is even more striking when you recall that she -- like another star often dismissed as lightweight, Sally Field -- has never lost. Both gals have gone two for two.'

Fox Searchlight has released in recent years many hit films which were either nominated for the Oscars or won the coveted award. The list includes The Wrestler, Slumdog Millionaire and Juno.

'Maybe all of this Oscar clout will help Swank's costars Ewan McGregor and Richard Gere land their first-ever Academy Award nominations,' Los Angeles Times added.

Arthur J Pais