One of Variety’s leads today is the news that Clint Eastwood plans to release the Japanese-language “Letters from Iwo Jima” on Dec. 20, in time for Oscar consideration, from an original date of Feb. 9. The companion to “Flags of Our Fathers,” released in October, will give Eastwood two films in contention for next year’s Academy Awards. Eastwood drew plenty of attention in the lead up to “Flags,” and was particularly outspoken when asked about the comparisons of World War II to the war in Iraq. To sum it up, he talked of the “futility” of war and was critical of the administration’s policies in Iraq. “Letters” is bound to garner plenty of press interest, too, because it is one of the few major studio releases to ever depict WWII from the view of the Japanese.
Meanwhile, the Academy pared down its list of documentary contenders from 81 to 15. Four of them were devoted to Iraq: “My Country, My Country;” “Iraq in Fragments;” “The War Tapes;” and “The Ground Truth.” Also in contention: Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” the Catholic church scandal doc “Deliver Us from Evil,” “Jesus Camp” and the Dixie Chicks’ “Shut Up and Sing.” Among those passed over: “Who Killed the Electric Car?” and “The U.S. vs. John Lennon.”