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Looking like a ‘Million’ bucks

Eastwood pic generating Oscar buzz

After success during last year’s Oscar race with “Mystic River,” director Clint Eastwood looks likely to have another potential major awards contender on his hands with an equally dark and uncompromising pic.

Though raising some eyebrows, with some folks saying that the campaign is late to the dance, Warner Bros. is quietly mobilizing a major awards push for Eastwood’s latest, “Million Dollar Baby,” which according to buzz is likely to garner attention for star Hilary Swank and possible nominations for best pic and director.

Studio and reps for Eastwood remained tight-lipped about the marketing plans for the pic, hoping that as with “River” audiences and critics will decide its fate, not campaigning and hype.

Nonetheless, studio is understood to be following Eastwood’s wishes to quietly build awareness of pic with a slow-growth screening program and a restricted ad campaign for pic.

The laid-back Eastwood is presently resting in Hawaii, but, in his own quiet way, he has shown mastery in the art of Oscar campaigning. Given his longevity, he will summon up some heavy-weight Academy screening and will preside over celebrity screenings in Gotham.

“Clint can press the fless like no one else in the business,” marvels one long-term associate.

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