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Oscars 2016 Predictions: Could Patricia Riggen Be First Mexican Female Director to Get Nominated?

First Posted: Apr 30, 2015 05:30 PM EDT
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"The 33" has been acquired by Alcon Entertainment and will be released by Warner Bros. in the fall.

After having been in the market for a while, Warner Bros. will release the film on Nov. 13, signaling it as a potential awards contender. The movie is based on the 2010 Chilean mine disaster, which was highly publicized. The film will tell the story of the longest underground survival story in which 33 Chilean miners are trapped for 69 days more than 200 stories underground, enduring heat of 100 degrees Fahrenheit beneath a megaton boulder twice the size of the Empire State Building.  The film was shot in in Colombia and Chile in 2014.

The film was directed by Patricia Riggen, who is known for her work on "Girl in Progress" and "Under the Same Moon."Meanwhile the screenplay was written by Mikko Alanne, Craig Borten and Michael Thomas and was based on the screen story by Jose Rivera and the book "Deep Down Dark" by Hector Tobar.

The movie stars Antonio Banderas, Juliette Binoche, Mario Casas, Lou Diamond Phillips, Rodrigo Santoro, Gabriel Byrne and James Brolin.

The release date is by no means a surprise as Warner Bros. lacked a true Oscar contender in its upcoming slate of films which was recently revealed at the CinemaCon convention. Aside from the Ron Howard release "In the Heart of the Sea" and Scott Cooper's "Black Mass," the company had no real drama. The movie has an A-list cast and a high profile director who has made acclaimed films.

Warner Bros. has been on a roll with awards season, as the company has not missed a single Best Picture nomination since 2009. Among its Best Picture nominees include "American Sniper," "Gravity," "Her," "Argo," "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," "The Blind Side" and "Inception." The company has also picked up nominations for "Michael Clayton," "The Departed" and "Good Night and Good Luck."

"The 33" comes out in a time when the Academy is more willing to accept diversity. The last two years has seen two Mexican directors win the Best Director award. Additionally, the last time a Best Director award went to an American was in 2009. In 2012, Ang Lee, from Taiwan, won the Best Director award while in 2011 French auteur Michel Hazanavicius won for his work on "The Artist."

Riggen is a female director and while she is not as well-known as other helmers, her work on this upcoming film could bring her profile up. Additionally, it could be a way of the Academy redeeming itself after having snubbed Ava DuVernay in the Best director category last year.

It is still too early to know how the film will actually turn out. Warner Bros. will most likely open the film in the festival circuit to see how it plays and if it really is an awards contender. Last year, the company premiered "The Good Lie" at Toronto and after a mixed reception, the company released the film in a limited release and quickly took it out of theaters. 

"The 33″ opens against Open Road's comedy-drama "Rock the Kasbah" and Paramount's horror sequel "Rings."

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