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TIFF: Lionsgate Snares Oscar-Bait ‘Rabbit Hole’

Nicole Kidman drama will be released in 2010, just in time for this year’s awards cycle

Lionsgate has acquired North American distribution rights to "Rabbit Hole," TheWrap has confirmed. The drama stars Nicole Kidman as a grief stricken mother mourning the death of her young son.

Lionsgate plans to release the movie in 2010 and will likely mount an awards push for both the picture and Kidman's performance. Aaron Eckhart also stars as Kidman's husband.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the sale was negotiated by CAA, and Lionsgate's Wendy Jaffe, Jason Constantine, and Eda Kowan.

Directed by John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig and the Angry Itch"), "Rabbit Hole" received strong reviews after debuting at the Toronto Film Festival.

The movie is based on David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitizer Prize-winning play. Cynthia Nixon scored a Tony Award playing Kidman's role when the show premiered on Broadway in 2006.

The searing drama is a step apart from the genre fare that is Lionsgate's bread and butter, but the studio has had some success at the awards game in recent years. Lionsgate scored a 2004 Best Picture trophy for "Crash" and a "Best Supporting Actress" statue for Mo'Nique last year.

Prior to this purchase, however, Lionsgate did not seem to be fielding any true awards contenders. The "Rabbit Hole" purchase clearly announces that they will very much be a player in the Oscar chase.

The project had been considered one of the plums of the Toronto Festival, and with this acquisition and a series of high-profile buys earlier this week, the initially frosty sales market has begun to heat up.