Mike Mills’ ’20th Century Women’ Lands Oscar-Friendly Slot via A24

Oscar trackers: A24 will shepherd another likely fall festival contender.

Annette Bening

Annette Bening

Rex Shutterstock

Awards-watchers have been wondering where Mike Mills’ dramedy “20th Century Women,” starring perennial Oscar nominee Annette Bening (“American Beauty,” “The Kids Are All Right”), would land in the fall line-up.

Well, rising indie distributor A24, which is having a strong 2016, has picked up U.S. rights to the film from Annapurna’s Megan Ellison (“Her,” “Joy,” “Everybody Wants Some!!,” “Zero Dark Thirty”). A24 started out winning Oscars for three films (“Room,” “Ex Machina” and “Amy”), took smart horror flick “The Witch” wide to great success, and now with “The Lobster ” and “Swiss Army Man,” boasts the two highest per theater average limited openings of the year.

READ MORE: Daniel Radcliffe and His ‘Swiss Army Man’ Dummy: What We Learned From This Dynamic Duo On A24’s NYC Bus Tour

Writer-director Mills’ last film “Beginners” won one Academy Award, for Christopher Plummer. “20th Century Women” is a portrait of three women played by Bening, Greta Gerwig and Elle Fanning. Billy Crudup and rookie Lucas Jade Zumann costar. The film is produced by Megan Ellison of Annapurna Pictures, Anne Carey of Archer Gray, and Youree Henley. As A24 is planning an awards-friendly fourth-quarter 2016 release, expect the film to screen at one or more fall festivals.

Set in Santa Barbara in the summer of 1979, “20th Century Women” shows how this trio from different eras teach Jamie, a teenage boy, about life and love.

According to Mills, the film “is in many ways a portrait of the real women who raised me.” A24 had been been “rooting for this film for a long time,” he stated. “I’ve always admired how brave, smart and innovative they are about bringing their films to the world — finding diverse new audiences for films that don’t follow the rules.”

READ MORE: ‘Beginners’ Director Mike Mills’ Next Film Is ‘20th Century Women,’ Annapurna Pictures Will Produce

Annapurna has scored 31 Oscar noms since 2012. The company is in post-production on Ana Lily Amirpour’s “The Bad Batch,” and Greg Tiernan and Conrad Vernon’s animated “Sausage Party,” written by Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg, Kyle Hunter and Ariel Shaffir. Annapurna is also currently in pre-production on Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s untitled Detroit project, starring John Boyega, and is developing the film adaptation of Maria Semple’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette,” to be directed by Richard Linklater. Additionally, Annapurna is partners with Mark Boal on the company Page One, where they produce season two of the hit podcast “Serial.” Bigelow also directed and partnered with Annapurna on the animated documentary anti-poaching short “Last Days.”

A24’s upcoming titles include Andrea Arnold’s Cannes jury-prize winner “American Honey,” Sundance debut “Morris from America,” which stars Craig Robinson and took home two prizes from the festival, and Barry Jenkins’ sophomore feature “Moonlight.”

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James M.

Could be Bening’s year at the Oscars. Let’s just hope Hillary Swank doesn’t have any movies coming out between now and December.

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