Will Oscar winners return to the race next year?
Lead actor winner Sean Penn ("Milk") has completed production on "The Tree of Life." This new film from Oscar-nominated writer/director Terrence Malick ("The Thin Red Line") tells the tale of a boy growing up in the Midwest of the 1950s. As a framework to that, Penn plays the grown-up version of the character coming to grips with his past. Rival lead actor nominee Brad Pitt ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button") also stars in this drama that has no definite release date as of yet.
Today Variety is reporting that the politically minded Penn may play another real-life character — Ambassador Joseph Wilson, whose wife Valerie Plame (Naomi Watts) had her CIA cover blown by the Bush administration — in "Fair Game" from helmer Doug Liman ("Mr. and Mrs. Smith").
After back-to-back filming of grueling roles in both "The Reader" and "Revolutionary Road," lead actress winner Kate Winslet is taking a well-earned rest. However, there is no stopping supporting actress winner Penelope Cruz ("Vicky Christina Barcelona") who just wrapped production on the highly anticipated "Nine," which is due out at Thanksgiving.
This movie version of the 1982 Tony Award-winning musical (which was inspired by Federico Fellini's 1963 Oscar-winning "8 1/2") is loaded with Oscar winners: Daniel Day-Lewis as a wayward film director, Marion Cotillard as his faithful wife, Cruz as his mistress, Nicole Kidman as his protege, Judi Dench as his mentor and Sophia Loren as his mother. All are under the direction of Oscar nominee Rob Marshall ("Chicago").
And Cruz recently reunited with her good friend and mentor Pedro Almodovar to make "Los Abrazos Rotos" ("Loose Embraces"). Almodovar directed Cruz to a 2006 lead actress nomination for "Volver." For their fourth film together, they have made a modern-day film noir about a love square that will be released stateside in the fall.
Photo: Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press