Yes, the Academy Awards are still almost five long months away, but the

first Oscar screener is already showing up in voters’ mailboxes this

week. Sony Pictures Classics kicked off the awards-mailing blitz with Frozen River,

the Sundance prizewinner that features a terrifically subtle lead

performance by veteran character actress Melissa Leo. Critics

unanimously praised Leo’s work when the film opened earlier this

summer, but its middling box office showing means it needs the extra

boost, particularly when such high-caliber Best Actress competitors

like Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie, Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett and

Kristin Scott Thomas still have films coming out this year. The good

news: Sony Classics went the early-campaign route with Junebug a few years ago and it resulted in a Best Supporting Actress nomination for Amy Adams.