EW does the Best Actress Shuffle
Did North Country‘s Oscar chances just go south? Despite strong reviews and Charlize Theron’s extensive PR push, Country premiered with a paltry $6.4 million, placing it behind Dakota Fanning’s horse-racing flick Dreamer and even the second weekend of The Fog. (By comparison, the recent Oscar- baiting drama The Constant Gardener grossed $8.7 million in its first three days, and it played in about half the theaters.) Academy history shows that box office flops often have difficulty scoring nods in major categories (Laura Linney, for example, ended up as a Supporting Actress nominee for the commercially soft Kinsey last year, but the film and Liam Neeson were shut out). Theron is still a likely nominee, but her one-to-beat status has taken a nasty hit. Perhaps Warner Bros. should have platformed North Country as Disney did Shopgirl: Premiering in only eight theaters, it averaged almost $30,000 per theater, boosting Claire Danes’ hopes. In any case, all eyes are now on Walk the Line, opening wide Nov. 18. It stars brand-new frontrunner Reese Witherspoon.