Clint EastwoodIn a rather surprising move, Warner Bros. has decided to release Clint Eastwood'sLetters from Iwo Jima in New York and L.A., and possibly San Francisco, on December 20 instead of its original date of February 9. The film is a sort of companion piece to the director's WWII drama Flags of Our Fathers, which is currently playing in theaters around the world, and tells the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima from the Japanese point of view. Considering the expectations for Oscar recognition for Flags, the schedule shift is a bold strategy. Now, it is possible that Eastwood will either receive two directing nominations, one for each of the two movies, or voters will be torn and he will receive none.

The motives may lie in the fact that each film has a different distributor. Flags was released by Dreamworks and Letters will reportedly be put out by Warner Bros. Of course, they were each produced by Steven Spielberg, along with Eastwood and Robert Lorenz, and each was co-produced by Dreamworks (Paramount) and Warner Bros., so the whole thing is a bit complicated and confusing, to say the least.

If Letters can gain enough momentum with such short notice, Eastwood could join Steven Soderbergh and Michael Curtiz as one of only three directors to earn two directing noms in the same year. Currently he's a front-runner for the award, which would liken him more to Soderbergh if he wins (Curtiz didn't win for either of his two 1938 noms). However, I don't imagine that like Soderbergh, Eastwood will see both of his films in the best picture category (this would put him with Curtiz on that note). Guess which one I think will be left out.