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The last news we'd heard about Kate Winslet's post-WWII drama The Reader was less than reassuring: While the film ultimately got its first choice of leading lady after a pregnant Nicole Kidman backed out, the successive passings of co-producers Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack left Scott Rudin on his own with the broke-ass Weinsteins to maneuver the Oscar push everyone had in mind. Then, as recently as last month, Defamer operatives whispered that The Reader wouldn't make it to 2008 at all, instead landing somewhere of TWC's choosing in 2009 — if it could afford to release it at all. Today, however, brings renewed optimism from Harvey, who planted a sigh of relief in Variety that The Reader has legs:

After a successful screening in New York of The Reader, the Weinstein Co. has decided to release the film for Oscar contention this year. ... [G]iven the strong reaction to the test screening, the Weinstein Co. has decided to go full throttle on securing a release date and mobilizing the marketing materials.

We can't say we're holding our breath, but along with Revolutionary Road, Rudin's got both of Winslet's Oscar turns for '08 — plus a wealth of Minghella/Pollack memorial goodwill to spare within the Academy. It's a no-brainer, but still — is this the same "full throttle" that so, ahem, mobilized the Weinsteins' Grace is Gone and Factory Girl? And who would survive a New Year's death-match between Harvey and Rudin if the throttle dies, anyway? So many questions! [Photo Credit: Flynet Online]