Who’s ready to think about next year’s Oscar race? Paramount has just announced a November 15 release for Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Street, putting the crime drama right in the thick of prestige pic season. It already has some stiff competition lined up for that day, including Ridley Scott’s The Counselor, Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate, Grudge Match, and The Best Man Holiday. Don’t be surprised to see that lineup shift again before we get there.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as real-life stockbroker Jordan Belfort, chronicling his dramatic rise and fall on Wall Street in the ’90s. Jonah Hill, Matthew McConaughey, Kyle Chandler, and Jean Dujardin also star.

After the jump, find out release dates for The Bling Ring and The Spectacular Now.

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A few days after the kickoff the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, deal-making is in full swing. The well-reviewed drama The Spectacular Now, by Smashed director James Ponsoldt, is headed to newish distributor A24, while the crowdpleasing comedy Austenland, from Napoleon Dynamite writer Jerusha Hess, is nearing a deal with FilmDistrict. Michael Winterbottom and Steve Coogan‘s The Look of Love had a mixed reception, but that’s not stopping IFC Films from closing in on a deal; the distributor also released the pair’s last comedy together, The Trip. Meanwhile, Anchor Bay has picked up two narrative features so far, the Dermot Mulroney-starring The Rambler and Leland Orser‘s Morning. (The latter is not playing at Sundance.)

Over in the world of documentaries, music-centric films seem to be doing quite well. Showtime has acquired the broadcast rights to the two-part documentary History of the Eagles, which will air on the channel February 15 & 16. Also headed to television is Pussy Riot — A Punk Prayer, which has been snapped up by HBO Documentary Films. Finally, Twenty Feet From Stardom, which follows some of popular music’s greatest backup singers, will get a theatrical release by RADiUS-TWC. And in non-music news, AMC’s Sundance Selects has grabbed Dirty Wars, about America’s covert wars, and The Summit, about climbers scaling the most dangerous peak in the world.

Hit the jump to read descriptions of the films mentioned above.

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At the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, I was blown away by a film called (500) Days of Summer. When I interviewed director Marc Webb in Park City that year, he exclusively revealed that he was working with the 500 Days writing team of Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber on a adaptation of Tim Tharp‘s The Spectacular Now. Then, hot off the success of Summer, Webb got pulled away to do some little superhero movie reboot.

Cut to the 2010 Sundance Film Festival: Smashed became one of the top buzz films of the festival with a critically acclaimed tour de force performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead and an incredibly raw filmmaking style that put director James Ponsoldt on our must-watch list. So when it was announced that Ponsoldt would be taking over as director on The Spectacular Now, we were excited. And the movie does not disappoint.

The Spectacular Now is everything I hope a Sundance movie to be. It has heart, many laughs, story twists that will jolt you from your seat, and most importantly, the film speaks to a deep truth. It is an honest coming of age film about growing up and facing the great unknown that comes after high school, something we can all remember and relate to. But it tells that story without the forced nostalgia of other Hollywood films.

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There are actors one suspects can do a lot more than what they’ve been given at any particular point. People might have thought that about Aaron Paul before Breaking Bad gave him the chance to stretch. And Mary Elizabeth Winstead has been a bright spot in several projects so far, but we’ve suspected that she’d eventually get a chance to really do something great.

Smashed features both actors, as a married couple that hits a wall with their drinking and partying, and based on reactions out of Sundance it is Winstead’s big breakout turn. Check out a newly released trailer below to see a taste of her performance. Read More »

Although its limited rollout starts in just six weeks, James Ponsoldt‘s Sundance fave Smashed has yet to offer a traditional trailer. Instead, Sony Pictures Classics is rousing some buzz with four new clips that showcase star Mary Elizabeth Winstead‘s acclaimed performance.

Winstead and Breaking Bad‘s Aaron Paul star as a young married couple united by their love of booze. When their habit spirals out of control, however, the wife decides to seek help. The stellar supporting cast includes Octavia Spencer and Parks & Recreation‘s Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. No wonder the drama won the Special Jury Prize at Sundance this year. Watch the scenes after the jump.

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Three festival favorites have just gotten U.S. distribution. The most exciting piece is confirmation that Sony Pictures Classics has, indeed, picked up James Ponsoldt‘s Sundance hit Smashed starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul. Also, IFC Midnight acquired the Sundance horror comedy Grabbers (above) and Cinema Guild will release Rotterdam Film Festival winner Neighboring Sounds, by Mendonça Filho. Read more about all films, two of which I’ve seen, after the jump. Read More »

Sundance has been over for a week, but a few films are still being picked up by distributors. One of the more acclaimed Sundance hits this year was a picture called Smashed, starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Aaron Paul as an alcoholic married couple. When Winstead’s character sobers up, she has to deal with a few lingering issues from her drunk life.

The film, directed by James Ponsoldt (Off The Black), is being showered with praise for the performance from Winstead, which Pete called “powerful, moving — a must see. It will bring you to verge of tears.” Sony Pictures Classics picked up the film over the weekend in a deal said to be worth about $1m. If that price seems low, consider that several of the big Sundance faves from 2010, such as Like Crazy, Take Shelter, Another Earth and Martha Marcy May Marlene, all scored relatively low box-office grosses. All those films will have a strong post-theatrical life, but none managed to break out as a mainstream crossover hit. We don’t yet have a release date for Smashed, but when SPC decides on a date and releases a trailer we’ll pass them along. [The Wrap]

Filmmaker James Ponsoldt‘s feature debut Off The Black premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. It was met with a lackluster response, but everyone seemed to praise the performances despite the troubled screenplay. After seeing last year’s heavily buzzed-about film Like Crazy, Mary Elizabeth Winstead contacted producer Jonathan Schwartz and Andrea Sperling because she wanted to be in a film like the one they produced. This year, Ponsoldt, Schwartz and Sperling returned to Park City Utah with Smashed, which features a must-see tour de force performance from Winstead.

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