In the 2007 awards season, Fox Searchlight had two strong films in the mix with Juno and The Savages, and then in 2008, they dominated with Slumdog Millionaire and The Wrestler. As many other indie arms were folding (Paramount Vantage, Warner Independent, Picturehouse), Searchlight managed to keep things up on their end.

2009, however, hasn't been so kind to them. January's Notorious didn't do bad actually, though March's Miss March was indeed D.O.A. June's My Life in Ruins similarly underperformed, while July's Adam failed to catch on as that same month's (500) Days of Summer had. Post Grad was dumped in the doldrums of August, while Whip It failed to find a crowd in October.

Cut to now: Amelia has been effectively neutered as a ready-made Oscar contender, while Gentlemen Broncos (from the director of Napoleon Dynamite, which did particularly well for the same studio) is being pulled from wider release after this weekend after posting modest numbers on two screens and earning savage reviews for the most part.

With Miramax also facing tough times, it's a shame to see studios like these have an off-year, though there's time for a turn-around yet so far as Searchlight is concerned. Summer's summer release means the timing could work out to earn a push for Original Screenplay as a happy-go-lucky alternate to many dour contenders. This month's similarly light Fantastic Mr. Fox is an Animated Feature candidate at the very least, and -- according to THR -- the Jeff Bridges drama Crazy Heart is getting a last-minute test run of sorts at the moment to see if it can merit a move to be positioned for this year's race instead of next year's.