Lionsgate is planning to make a big splash in this year’s Oscar race with the Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart drama, Rabbit Hole. According to Deadline, Lionsgate acquired the North American distribution rights for the critically-acclaimed film with hopes to release it before the end of the year.

Rabbit Hole, which is based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Lindsay-Abaire, details the life of a once-happy married couple whose lives are brought to a halt when their son is killed in an auto accident. The unexpected tragedy tests the couple’s marriage, forcing them to confront their grief and figure out a way to move on with their lives.

Lindsay-Abaire personally adapted the play for the big screen. The film, which was shot in under a month on a tight $10 million budget, was directed by John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig and the Angry Inch).

Early reviews from the Toronto International Film Festival cite Kidman’s performance as a highlight of the film, touting her as a likely contender for the Best Actress Oscar. If Kidman is nominated for the award, it will be her third time competing for the honor. In 2001, Kidman was nominated for her role in Moulin Rouge; a year later, she won the Best Actress award for her work in The Hours.

I haven’t read anything specifically, but I would suspect that Aaron Eckhart also gives an excellent performance in the movie. The actor has always been great, but has really raised his profile in Hollywood in the last half-decade, with his excellent turns in Thank You for Smoking and The Dark Knight.

Winning acclaim in front of critics at a film festival is far different than connecting with average moviegoers, though. Could the dark subject matter of the film stop it from drawing the kind of crowd needed to make an impact during awards season? I haven’t seen the film personally, but I would suspect the answer is no.

When a studio commits to a project the way Lionsgate has committed to Rabbit Hole, you can be sure that they will spare no expense in getting the film in front of viewers and Academy Awards voters. Besides, dark dramas are a staple of awards season (though last year’s expansion to 10 Best Picture nominees opened up the field a lot).

If any of our loyal readers are in Toronto and had a chance to catch a screening of Rabbit Hole, let us know what you think of the film in the comments.

Source: Deadline