Paramount Drama The Fighter Rings Oscar Buzz Bell

Typically, a potential Oscar awards season entry like the Mark Wahlberg-Christian Bale boxing drama The Fighter is launched in Toronto in September, not Hollywood in November. So kudos must first go to AFI Fest for securing the David O. Russell directed entry as a November 9th “surprise” screening.

Following yesterday’s unveiling, Oscar watchers are off and running with an early scorecard that encompasses a couple of unanimous decisions and various wins on points. Here’s a quick sampling of the December 10th release’s Mann’s minted buzz:

Steven Zeitchick, LA Times: “Those thinking the [Oscar boxing ring] well had run dry were pleasantly surprised on Tuesday night, and it’s likely others will find themselves thinking the same in the weeks to come.”

Anne Thompson, indieWIRE: “Will the movie make the Best Picture top ten? If all goes right, it’s possible.”

Kristopher Tapley, “The star of the show, however, might well walk away with the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor this year. Christian Bale is mercilessly precise.”

Jeff Sneider, The Wrap: “Best Picture is a more a probability than a possibility now that most of the contenders have been screened for critics… Give the studio credit for a shrewd marketing move with its AFI surprise.”

Gregory Ellwood, “Can Russell steal a Best Director nomination or receive some love from his Director’s Guild peers?  Eh, he’s got a shot.”