As expected, a top stateside specialty distributor, Magnolia Pictures, has scooped up North American rights to German writer-director Fatih Akin’s acclaimed Cannes entry “In the Fade,” in time for 2017 Oscar consideration. German star Diane Kruger (“Inglourious Basterds”) won Best Actress at Cannes for her intense role as a hard-drinking, tatoo-sporting wife and mother who falls apart as she mourns her husband and son after they are killed in a Neo-Nazi bomb attack. She eventually recovers enough to turn to revenge.
The film screened late in Cannes, without much buzz. And then — despite Nicole Kidman being the toast of the Croisette with “The Beguiled,” “Top of the Lake,” and “The Killing of a Sacred Deer” — Kruger took the prize for best actress. Kidman had to settle for a special jury award.
Magnolia is coming off the best release in the distributor’s history with the Oscar-nominated “I Am Not Your Negro,” which grossed over $7 million in North America. The buy also echoes Sony Pictures Classics acquiring “Still Alice” in early September 2014, putting Julianne Moore into the thick of the 2015 Oscar race (which she went on to win). “‘In the Fade’ is my own reflection of current developments in the world,” said Akin. “On different layers it is a very personal film for me.”
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Magnolia will qualify “In the Fade” (which could use some more upbeat reviews on Metacritic) with a year-end theatrical release and reportedly will mount an Oscar campaign. They will have to step up to land Kruger a nomination, as the Best Actress race is shaping up to be as competitive as it was last year, with many top players vying for a slot, from Oscar-winners Meryl Streep (“The Papers”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Mother!”) and Judi Dench (“Victoria and Abdul”) to four-time nominee Annette Being (who plays Gloria Grahame in “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool”), who gets another chance this year after being denied a slot for “20th Century Women.”