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Christian Bale officially enters Oscar race as Hostiles finds distribution

Entertainment Studios nabs North American rights to Scott Cooper’s western

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The best actor Oscar race just gained another contender, as Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios has acquired Scott Cooper’s $50 million Christian Bale-fronted western Hostiles for North American distribution.

Also starring Rosamund Pike, Jesse Plemons, Ben Foster, Q’orianka Kilcher, Wes Studi, and Timothée Chalamet, Hostiles — about a hardened Army captain with a bloody past tasked with escorting a Cheyenne war chief and his family through the violent plains of the American west — is looking at a December release date to qualify for the 90th Academy Awards, with expansion slated for January 2018.

The film held its world premiere sans distribution deal at the awards-positioning Telluride Film Festival in September before traveling to the Toronto International Film Festival shortly thereafter, where its brutal tone divided critics, though Bale and Pike received standout notices for their performances.

Lorey Sebastian, Le Grisbi Productions/Waypoint Entertainment

Bale enters a field in the awards race that has been largely dominated by Gary Oldman and his portrayal of Winston Churchill in the Joe Wright-helmed Darkest Hour, which has seemingly floored pundits on the fall festival circuit in recent weeks.

Other contenders fleshing out the best-actor category competition include Bale’s Hostiles costar Chalamet, who leads Luca Guadagnino’s searing adaptation of Andre Aciman’s 2007 novel Call Me By Your Name, Roman J. Israel, Esq.’s Denzel Washington, and Jake Gyllenhaal for Stronger. Other contenders whose performances have yet to be seen by critics and festival audiences include Tom Hanks for Steven Spielberg’s The Post and Daniel Day Lewis for Paul Thomas Anderson’s currently untitled upcoming 1950s-set drama about high society couture fashion in London.