Did Michelle Monaghan just enter the Best Actress race?

Posted by · 9:11 pm · August 24th, 2009

Michelle Monaghan in TruckerI haven’t seen James Mottern’s “Trucker,” which had a world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival and was praised in many quarters, most agreeing that Michelle Monaghan’s lead performance was awards caliber.

Ironically, the press release (published in part after the jump) quotes The Hollywood Reporter’s Roger Friedman front and center just a few days after he bemoaned what he perceived as a weak year for Best Actress contenders.

The strongest contenders right now look to be Meryl Streep in “Julie & Julia,” Carey Mulligan in “An Education” and, sight unseen, Hilary Swank in “Amelia.”  If enough voters see “The Burning Plain,” Charlize Theron certainly has a shot.  But the bubble is big on this race, I’ll give Friedman that.

Monterey Media has decided to release the film up for an October 9 release, right in the middle of the awards season.  We all know surprise contenders show up sooner or later.  Maybe we’re looking at our first one right here.

A snippet of the press release after the jump.

California based-Monterey Media, which acquired U.S. rights to writer/director James Mottern’s TRUCKER starring Michelle Monaghan, has set an October 9 release date for the film, putting it right into the middle of the Fall awards season. Produced by Plum Pictures (The Great World of Sound, Grace is Gone) and Scott Hanson, and executive produced by Hart-Lunsford Pictures and Monaghan, the film also stars Nathan Fillion, Benjamin Bratt, Jimmy Bennett and Joey Lauren Adams. The film will open exclusively in New York theaters and then roll out nationally.

TRUCKER tells the story of Diane Ford (Monaghan), a vivacious young truck driver, who leads a carefree life of long-haul trucking, one night stands and all-night drinking until the evening her estranged 11-year-old son shows up at her door.

“I tried to make Trucker for a few years..one problem I was always faced with was finding a lead actress that really spoke to me on a gut level. I looked for a long time,” says Mottern. “Then I saw Michelle Monaghan in a movie called North Country. Her performance in that film is outstanding. But there’s this one scene where the character she plays is standing outside her trailer saying good bye to Charlize Theron’s character and the camera holds on Michelle for a beat, not saying a word; I saw that and it hit me like a freight train – “There she is. Diane.”

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23 responses so far

  • 1 8-24-2009 at 9:21 pm

    Georgie said...

    Her son is played by the kid who played young Kirk in Abrams’ Star Trek reboot…

    Is it normal for movies released at film festivals over a year ago (Tribeca 2008 for Trucker) to be in the Oscar race? I’m noticing it more this year with The Hurt Locker, which I’d be hearing about for what seemed like a year before it actually came out.

    And minus Swank and with, say, Marion Cotillard (if she is going lead for Nine), I like the Best Actress slate you have predicted.

  • 2 8-24-2009 at 9:35 pm

    Glenn said...

    Well, it happened with “Crash”. Screened at Toronto in 2004, but didn’t get a release until mid-2005 and didn’t get Oscar buzz until the DVD release later in the year (if I’m remembering correctly).

  • 3 8-24-2009 at 9:35 pm

    Gustavo H.R. said...

    I’ve always thought she’s gorgeous, and an interesting actress. It’s great to see she’ll have her dramatic breakthrough now.

  • 4 8-24-2009 at 10:22 pm

    Georgie said...

    The performance is giving me a Wendy & Lucy vibe, except a little more flashy. As someone who was a big fan of Michelle Williams in W&L last year, Michelle Monaghan in Trucker definitely caught my interest with that trailer.

  • 5 8-24-2009 at 10:24 pm

    Derek 8-Track said...

    An October 9 release?

    “9” strikes yet again!

  • 6 8-24-2009 at 10:40 pm

    Alana Smithee said...

    The Burning Plain is not eligible. It is on pay per view BEFORE theatrical release. No go with Academy rules.

  • 7 8-24-2009 at 11:36 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    No, VOD hasn’t been ruled a deal breaker yet because it could be perceived as within the parameters of acceptable release patterns with the influx in similar cases.

  • 8 8-24-2009 at 11:53 pm

    Brooke said...

    I’ve loved Michelle Monaghan since her lively role on Boston Public, and would love for her to get some cred finally!

  • 9 8-25-2009 at 12:12 am

    Robert Hamer said...

    Wait, I’m confused, Kris. You say that VOD does not make it ineligible, but wasn’t Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction disqualified for exactly that reason?

  • 10 8-25-2009 at 12:45 am

    Glenn said...

    Robert, I believe “Last Seduction” was aired on regular cable TV. I don’t know how American TV works, but I believe “Last Seduction” aired at a certain time and was basically a TV movie whereas these VOD releases are different. Er, sorry, that really didn’t clear anything up.

  • 11 8-25-2009 at 12:53 am

    parker said...

    Did you love me?

    If she answers “no” then it might be interesting. Might.

  • 12 8-25-2009 at 1:01 am

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Hamer: VOD is different than an actual cable/network debut. Last Seduction premiered on HBO.

  • 13 8-25-2009 at 1:37 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    Quite so. The Last Seduction’s HBO debut led it to be branded — however unfairly — as a TV movie in the Academy’s eyes. Nobody is making that argument in the case of VOD releases.

    As for Monaghan, it looks like she might be rather good in this, though she’s not helped by this trailer, which over-explicates the character arc to the point of parody. Still, like Theron, she’s reasonably well-positioned for the gritty Amerindie vote in the Best Actress race — whether it results in a nod (as it did for Melissa Leo) or not (Michelle Williams, Maggie Gyllenhaal).

  • 14 8-25-2009 at 2:29 am

    Ali E. said...

    I remember this film and Monaghan’s performance had some positive (but minor) buzz since last year… I’d like to see her in the race…

  • 15 8-25-2009 at 6:34 am

    Scott Feinberg said...

    I saw this movie at Tribeca in ’08 and she is EXCELLENT… if they can put some money behind her campaign and get the movie seen, she’s got a real shot.

  • 16 8-25-2009 at 2:20 pm

    Tal said...

    There’s a website for Trucker if anyone wants to find out more, including some reviews from various film festivals and more images too. http://www.truckermovie.net

  • 17 8-26-2009 at 1:55 am

    John said...

    Doesn’t matter if The burning plain is elegible or not because Charlize Theron won’t be nominated for a pretty supporting performance. Kim Basinger (who plays her mother) is better than her and more deserving of awards praise.

  • 18 8-26-2009 at 2:51 am

    Robert Hamer said...

    Whoa, Scott…where the hell have you been?!?

  • 19 8-26-2009 at 10:26 am

    billybil said...

    I’d love to see Monaghan nominated. A new, vital, fresh American actress with award recognition would be a welcome sight about now! (As long as she doesn’t steal Streep’s position! She can have Swank’s!) Any chance Pfeiffer is going to get nominated?

  • 20 9-14-2009 at 1:29 pm

    Lubertus said...

    Между нами говоря, я бы обратился за помощью в поисковики.

  • 21 9-14-2009 at 5:01 pm

    Ed of LA said...

    Meryl Streep- Julie & Julia

    That’s all!