Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Sunday, 7 March 2010

Cast of Coen Brothers comedy mull Oscar chances

By Tim Masters
Entertainment correspondent, BBC News, in Los Angeles

A Serious Man
In A Serious Man Michael Stuhlbarg plays a nice guy to whom bad things keep happening

With all the Oscar headlines about the battle between Avatar and The Hurt Locker for best picture, it's easy to forget there are eight other films in the race.

One of the less talked about nominees is Joel and Ethan Coen's A Serious Man, a dark comedy centred around a dysfunctional Jewish family.

Lead actor Michael Stuhlbarg, who plays beleaguered college professor Larry Gopnik, told the BBC that up until this week none of the cast had been invited to attend the Oscars ceremony.

"They found a couple of tickets for me last night at the last second," he said.

"There are so many films nominated this year, and so many producers involved, they are trying to cram in as many people as possible. I don't know where they found my tickets from, but I'm representing our team."

Asked if it bothered him that Avatar and Hurt Locker were dominating the headlines, he said: "We are a part of it, we're here and we're proud and we're a very different kind of movie to those movies."

In A Serious Man, Stuhlbarg's character moves out of the family home into a motel when his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) announces she wants a divorce.

Jewellery feud

Stuhlbarg said he hoped the new Oscars voting system might give the Coen Brothers film a shot at the top prize.

"I think it raises our chance in some way - it drops down to the most votes," he said.

The Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men won the best picture Oscar in 2008.

Richard Kind, who plays Gopnick's brother in A Serious Man, told the BBC: "I'm gonna to say Hurt Locker is going to win."

And co-star Sari Lennick had a light-hearted dig at another Oscar favourite, Precious.

"I have a backlash," she said. "Everywhere I go I pick out jewellery and they go: 'Back off - that's Mo'Nique's.' She has no idea who I am, but I have a bone to pick with Mo'Nique. It's been happening for about 10 months now. It started out as funny - now it's not funny any more!"

A Serious Man was given the Robert Altman ensemble cast award at the Independent Spirit Awards on Friday.

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