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Christmas movies vying for Oscar voters' attention
Christmas movies vying for Oscar voters' attention

For a four-year stretch at the turn of the 21st century, December was the most wonderful time of year to be a best picture Oscar contender. From 2002 to 2005, the film academy gave its best picture prize to movies debuting in December. Starting with "A Beautiful Mind" and continuing through "Chicago," "The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King" and "Million Dollar Baby," Oscar voters rewarded movies that broke late and were, presumably, fresh in their minds. In fact, Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby," shot in the summer of 2004, didn't even land on Warner Bros.' release calendar until the fall. "We caught...

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