Oscar Alert: Meryl Streep & Julia Roberts + Judi Dench

Meryl Streep August: Osage County Julia RobertsMeryl Streep and Julia Roberts in August: Osage County: Duel of the Oscar winners

[See previous post: “Oscar 2014 Watch: Harvey Weinstein Cannes Film Festival Coming Attractions.”] More Oscar 2014 bait: August: Osage County, directed by John Wells, and starring three-time Oscar winner Meryl Streep (Kramer vs. Kramer, Sophie's Choice, The Iron Lady) and Oscar winner Julia Roberts (Erin Brockovich). Is it mere coincidence that Streep's seventeenth Oscar nomination and third win was for her portrayal of British prime minister Margaret Thatcher in Phyllida Lloyd's The Iron Lady – distributed by The Weinstein Company two years ago? Either way, Streep's Oscar 2014 competition should be fierce, as Julia Roberts doesn't seem to be wearing any make-up in the family drama. (Image: Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in August: Osage County.)

Adapted by Tracy Letts from his own play, besides Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, August: Osage County also features Oscar nominee Juliette Lewis (Cape Fear), Dermot Mulroney, Star Trek: Into Darkness' Benedict Cumberbatch, Oscar nominee Sam Shepard (The Right Stuff), Ewan McGregor, Oscar winner Chris Cooper (Adaptation), and Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine). Ewan McGregor has never been nominated for an Oscar, but he brings luck to his co-stars: Oscar nominee Brenda Blethyn (Little Voice), Oscar nominee Nicole Kidman (Moulin Rouge!), Oscar nominee Naomi Watts (The Impossible), Oscar winner Christopher Plummer (Beginners).

Oscar 2015 alert

Harvey Weinstein also announced that he has bought North American and Spanish distribution rights to Stephen Frears' Philomena for $6 million (some sources state $6.5 million). That shouldn't come as a surprise, considering that the indie mogul has had quite a bit of luck with Frears (The Queen) and Philomena star Judi Dench. In fact, five of Judi Dench's six Academy Award nominations have been for films distributed by either Miramax or The Weinstein Company: Mrs. Brown, Shakespeare in Love (Best Supporting Actress winner), Chocolat, Iris, and Mrs. Henderson Presents. The one exception was the Fox Searchlight release Notes on a Scandal.

In Philomena Judi Dench plays an Irishwoman looking for the son (Steve Coogan), who, decades earlier, she had been forced to give up for adoption after going to live at a convent. Co-written by Coogan and Jeff Pope (TV's The Black Widower, The Security Men), the screenplay is based on BBC correspondent Martin Sixsmith's book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee.

Harvey Weinstein Cannes Coming Attractions Show: Oscar Predictor

Of note: Among Harvey Weinstein's previews screened at last year's Cannes Film Festival were those for David O. Russell's Silver Linings Playbook, which earned 22-year-old Jennifer Lawrence this year's Best Actress Academy Award (instead of veteran Emmanuelle Riva for Amour); Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master, a box office disappointment that, even so, earned Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams Oscar nominations; and Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, which earned the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award to Tarantino, while Christoph Waltz waltzed away (sorry) with his second Best Supporting Actor Oscar. (Waltz's first victory was for Inglourious Basterds.)

August: Osage County Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts photo: The Weinstein Company.

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