It's an annual ordeal for Central Valley movie fans. Hollywood releases a slew of "prestige" pictures with Oscar hopes in the major metro markets during November and December, then allows those titles to slowly trickle down to theaters across the country, including screens in Tulare County.
Many of the Oscar hopefuls won't make it the Visalia-Fresno market until January or February (and even sometimes March), right before the Academy Awards ceremony.
With that in mind, here's a look at some limited-release holiday season titles with no set release date for the Central Valley:
> "127 Hours" — Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting" and "Slumdog Millionaire") directs this harrowing based-on-true events tale about a mountain climber's struggle for survival after he's trapped in a boulder for a week. James Franco stars.
> "Another Year" — Acclaimed British director Mike Leigh's gentle comedy about a year in the life of a working-class British couple. Oscar winner Jim Broadbent stars.
> "Black Swan" -A dark drama set in the world of ballet. Darren Aronofsky ("The Wrestler" and "Requiem for a Dream") directs Natalie Portman, who is getting a lot of Oscar buzz.
> "Biutiful" — Alejandro González Iñárritu's ("Babel" and "Amores Perros") film is about the final days of a petty criminal. Oscar winner Javier Bardem stars.
> "Blue Valentine" — Oscar nominees Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this dark drama about a crumbling marriage.
> "Casino Jack" — Oscar winner Kevin Spacey stars as the disgraced and corrupt political lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
> "Fair Game" — Naomi Watts and Sean Penn star in this political thriller about the lead up to the Iraqi War. It's based on ex-CIA agent Valerie Plame's autobiography.
> "The Fighter" -†Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale star in this based-on-true events tale about boxers and brothers Dickie Eklund and Mickey Ward. Both are getting lots of Oscar buzz for their performances.
> "I Love You Phillip Morris" — Jim Carrey plays a convict who falls in love with his cellmate (Ewan McGregor) in this dark comedy.
> "The King's Speech" -†Coln Firth is getting Oscar buzz for playing King George VI, who battles a life-long stammer with the help of a speech teacher (Oscar winner Geoffrey Rush).
> "Rabbit Hole" — The film adaptation of David Lindsay-Abaire's Pulitzer Prize-winning play about a family dealing with the death of a child. Nicole Kidman and Aaron Eckhart star for director John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch").
> "The Tempest" — An all-star cast led by Helen Mirren brings Shakespeare's play to the big screen. Julie Taymor ("Across the Universe" and "Titus") directs.
> "The Way Back" — Peter Weir ("Master and Commander" and "Witness") directs this epic about a group of men who escape from Siberia during Stalin's brutal rule of the USSR. It stars Jim Sturgess, Colin Farrell and Ed Harris.> "Welcome to the Rileys" — James Gandolfini ("The Sopranos") plays a middle-aged man who befriends a young stripper (Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame) after the death of his daughter. Oscar nominee Melissa Leo ("Frozen River") costars.
YAY! I know it's going to be up for an Oscar.