Reader Joins 2008 Oscar Race

The Weinstein Co. will release Stephen Daldry’s postwar tale “The Reader” this year after all, effectively adding a major potential Oscar contender to 2008’s rather thin race reports the trades.

In a joint statement on Sunday, producers Scott Rudin Rudin and Harvey Weinstein said that the period love story told against the backdrop of a war-crimes trial will open in limited release on December 12th.

For months the Weinsteins had supported and Rudin had resisted such a plan. In the joint statement, the pair say they are “working together, we developed a plan to extend the postproduction schedule in order to give Stephen Daldry the additional time he needs to successfully complete the film.”

Rudin already has two potential Oscar hopefuls in the wings (“Doubt,” “Revolutionary Road”), this adds a third. Competing with himself however is not unusual as it happened last year (he produced both “There Will Be Blood” and “No Country for Old Men”).

The other question is will it hurt the Oscar chances of Kate Winslet who may find her performances in “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader” splitting her vote come awards time.

At present the potential Oscar nominees list according to Hollywood Elsewhere runs rather thin with “Changeling,” “The Dark Knight,” “Happy-Go-Lucky,” “Nothing But the Truth,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The Visitor,” “WALL-E” and “The Wrestler” the only serious candidates screened to media and/or public so far.

Early reaction to the likes of “Australia,” “Brothers,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” “Doubt,” “Frost/Nixon,” “Gran Torino,” “Milk,” “The Soloist,” “The Reader” and “Revolutionary Road” has yet to emerge and a great response could change the landscape dramatically.