Did Halle Berry just enter the Best Actress race?

Posted by · 3:25 pm · October 25th, 2010

I feel like I’ve been hearing about Geoffrey Sax’s “Frankie & Alice” for over a year now.  The film was on our early charts last year as one of a million possibilities, but it never nailed down distribution.  This year I just kind of forgot about it, but here’s a press release landing this afternoon making sure we’re aware that Freestyle Releasing will be opening the film on December 17 for an Academy qualifying run.

Now, this might mean there is awards potential for Halle Berry’s performance in the true story of Frankie Murdoch, a woman suffering with multiple personality disorder in early 1970s Los Angeles (the release tells me).  Or it might mean, simply, being in that discussion is worth a few more dollars at the box office, which would be seen as a win for an indie.  I can’t say.  I haven’t seen the film.  And this is a fiercely competitive lead actress line-up as it is.  But hey, there’s always room for one more…as long as you’ve got the goods.  (Of course, I wrote something similarly titled about Michelle Monaghan last year, so you never know.)

Chalk it up to one more contender (maybe) in an uncharacteristically strong field.  The film opens wide February 4, 2011.  It will also have a presence at AFI Fest in the form of a “Conversation on Acting.”

Berry, by the way, served as producer on the film.  Her comments and more from the full press release below.  (FYI, the film screened for buyers and press at Cannes this year, which is where the Hollywood Reporter quote comes from):

Los Angeles, CA, October 25, 2010 – FRANKIE & ALICE, starring Academy Award ®-winning actress Halle Berry, will have an awards season qualifying run on December 17, 2010, in New York and Los Angeles before its regular theatrical release, which is set for February 4, 2011, it was announced today by Freestyle Releasing.

FRANKIE & ALICE, for which Berry also served as a producer, is a moving psychological drama based on the harrowing true story of Frankie Murdoch (Berry), a woman suffering with multiple personality disorder in early 1970s Los Angeles. Directed by Geoffrey Sax, and shot by by Newton Thomas Sigel (Valkyrie, X-Men, Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind, The Usual Suspects), the film also stars Stellan Skarsgård (upcoming The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Phylicia Rashad (upcoming For Colored Girls) and Chandra Wilson (“Grey’s Anatomy”).

In anticipation of the release of FRANKIE & ALICE, AFI Fest 2010 will feature Berry in a “Conversation on Acting with Halle Berry” on November 9th at 7pm at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Tickets will be available at: http://www.afi.com/afifest.

“Bringing this story to the big screen has been a challenging, yet very satisfying, filmmaking experience,” stated Berry. “Frankie’s struggles with mental illness came at a time when the medical community and the public were still grappling with the veracity of multiple personality disorder, and I approached this role with feelings of humility, yet great responsibility.”

Producer Vincent Cirrincione stated, “We are thrilled to have this film finished, completed and ready for release. FRANKIE & ALICE was a real labor of love for Halle and me, and we look forward to sharing this very personal and gripping true story with audiences.”

Producer Hassain Zaidi stated, “Halle Berry was a real driving force to help bring this story to light, and gives one of the best performances of her career.”

The Hollywood Reporter lauded the film, with praise for Berry, Skarsgård, Rashad and the director: “Berry is spellbinding as Frankie…Sax’s astute guidance and the intelligent, nuanced performances of Berry and Skarsgard…the supporting performances are rock-solid, particularly Phylicia Rashad’s steadfast portrayal of Frankie’s supportive but enabling mother.”

Berry won the Academy Award® for Best Actress in 2001’s Monster’s Ball, in addition to the SAG Award, National Board of Review and the Berlin Silver Bear Award. Berry also earned an Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG and NAACP Image Award for her performance in HBO’s “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” which she also produced. She made her feature film debut in Spike Lee’s groundbreaking 1991 film, Jungle Fever, and has gone on to appear in projects as diverse as Bulworth, opposite Warren Beatty, Losing Isaiah, also starring Jessica Lange, the James Bond film Die Another Day, the boxoffice smash X-Men series, Swordfish with John Travolta and Hugh Jackman, and Things We Lost in The Fire, opposite Benicio Del Toro.

FRANKIE & ALICE was produced by Halle Berry, Vincent Cirrincione, Hassain Zaidi, and Simon DeKaric. The screenplay is by Cheryl Edwards and Marko King & Mary King & Jonathan Watters and Joe Shrapnel & Anna Waterhouse; story by Oscar Janiger & Philip Goldberg and Cheryl Edwards. Original music is by Andrew Lockington. Film editing is by David M. Richardson. Production design is by Linda Del Rosario and Richard Paris. Costume design is by Ruth E. Carter.

About Freestyle Releasing:

Freestyle Releasing is a full-service, theatrical motion picture distribution company that specializes in representing independent producers and production companies.

→ 18 Comments Tags: , , | Filed in: Daily

18 responses so far

  • 1 10-25-2010 at 3:41 pm

    matsunaga said...

    Well, what can I say? The category is open for everyone, I guess the more the merrier?

    Berry is a very good actress and she’ll be very welcome to join the contenders this year… As long as the performance is really good and not just pushed by the box-office performance of the film and the charms of the actor/actress, then why not?

  • 2 10-25-2010 at 3:44 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    This sounds like an insanely (no pun intended) Oscar-baiting project, but whatever. I’m glad Halle Berry has finally moved on from the Gothika/Perfect Stranger ghetto and is challenging herself with a juicy role.

    Fingers crossed it does a little better business than Things We Lost in the Fire.

  • 3 10-25-2010 at 3:48 pm

    Loyal said...

    Provides some much needed color and good publicity for the AMPAS. No one wants a lily white Oscars coming off a record amount of minorities being nominated and awarded over the past 10 years.

    Assuming she has the goods, I think she’ll get in.

  • 4 10-25-2010 at 4:00 pm

    Paul said...

    I’m suddenly reminded of Sandra Bullock and “The Blind Side”… But that’s just me.

  • 5 10-25-2010 at 4:02 pm

    Mr. F said...

    This movie was on last year’s list of qualifying films, so I don’t think it will be able to compete this year.

  • 6 10-25-2010 at 4:04 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    I don’t understand — I definitely recall seeing the title on last year’s official Academy list of eligible films. What gives?

    (Update: I’m not imagining things. It’s on p17 of the Academy’s 2009 reminder list:


    Is it possible to qualify two years running?)

  • 7 10-25-2010 at 4:46 pm

    markus said...

    Kris, I think Michelle Monaghan did show up on many lists as a possible BA nominee. Is that what you are referring to when you reference last year’s article?

  • 8 10-25-2010 at 4:49 pm

    Mike said...

    She could add some colour to the acting races that has apparently been missing. I would be happy to see her nommed. I always like it when people who win for their first nomination are nominated again. It proves that they aren’t one hit wonders, and helps me not to begrudge them their Oscars in favour of someone else.

  • 9 10-25-2010 at 4:54 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    “… and helps me not to begrudge them their Oscars in favour of someone else.”

    That’s just silly — the only reason to begrudge someone their Oscar is if you think they were undeserving of it in the first place. What they do with their careers after the fact shouldn’t enter the equation.

    Mo’Nique could never make another film again, for example, and I’d still not begrudge her the Oscar she deservingly won.

  • 10 10-25-2010 at 5:40 pm

    Graysmith said...

    You can’t be eligible two years in a row (unless you’re a foreign film submission/nominee one year and eligible elsewhere the next).

    Someone messed up, though it remains to be seen if it’s the Academy last year or Freestyle this year.

  • 11 10-25-2010 at 6:15 pm

    JFK said...

    Very curious about eligibility, let us know when you have an answer Guy.

  • 12 10-25-2010 at 6:19 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Whoa, didn’t realize that about last year’s contenders.

    Markus: Point being, the buzz went nowhere.

  • 13 10-26-2010 at 3:03 am

    Angry Shark said...

    uh…no. The pictures alone make this look terrible. And the Actress race is jam-packed right now. This seems like a miscalculation for whoever made this call.

  • 14 10-26-2010 at 12:19 pm

    A.J said...

    If it makes you feel any better, Michelle Monaghan should have been in the race.