‘Jackie’ joins the Oscar race: Fox Searchlight picks up biopic starring Natalie Portman

Fox Searchlight has bought the American distribution rights for “Jackie” with plans to release it on December 9. That means it officially enters this year’s Oscar derby. Do you think it will make the cut? It has just been added to our predictions center, so click here to make or update your predictions.

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“Jackie” screened at the Toronto Film Festival and stars Natalie Portman as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the days following the assassination of her husband, President John F. KennedyOf course we know how much Oscar voters love fact-based films. Just look at recent Best Picture champs like “Argo” (2012), “12 Years a Slave” (2013) and “Spotlight” (2015), as well as acting winners who have played biographical roles, including Meryl Streep (as Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady”), Matthew McConaughey (as Ron Woodroof in “Dallas Buyers Club”) and Eddie Redmayne (as Stephen Hawking in “The Theory of Everything”), just to name a few.

Portman already has a strong Oscar track record thanks to her Best Actress-winning turn as an unbalanced ballerina in “Black Swan” (2010). Before that she earned a bid for Best Supporting Actress for the stage-play adaptation “Closer” (2004).

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In addition to Portman, the film stars Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig and Peter Sarsgaard as Robert Kennedy. It’s directed by Pablo Larrain, himself a past Oscar player. His film “No” earned a nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 2012, representing Chile. And the screenplay is by Noah Oppenheim, who was just awarded for the script at the Venice Film Festival.

Darren Aronofsky is on-board as a producer. He directed Portman to her Best Actress win in “Black Swan,” for which he picked up a nomination of his own as Best Director. He has also helmed acclaimed films including “Pi” (1998), “Requiem for a Dream” (2000) and “The Wrestler” (2008).

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