Rachel McAdams in 'Morning Glory': The Return of Annie Hall?

Could Rachel McAdams be an upset contender for best actress as the scrappy TV producer in Morning Glory, a chipper, slapdash update of Broadcast News?

An Oscar nomination is a longshot given the competition, but she could well pop up in the comedy/musical actress category when the Golden Globe nominees are announced Dec. 14.

The Paramount release won a reasonably warm reception at a Century City AMC preview Monday night and opens Wednesday. But three-time New York Film Critics Circle chairman Marshall Fine isn't buying it.

Though he likes McAdams' performance, as well as Diane Keaton's and Harrison Ford's turn as bickering anchors, Fine scowls like Harrison's curmudgeon character at Aline Brosh McKenna's rom-com script. While McKenna had a hit with her The Devil Wears Prada script, Fine argues she took all the good parts from Lauren Weisberger's book. He points to her original screenplay for 27 Dresses as the real McKenna. 

But blogger Jeff Wells, defending the movie, strikes back hard: "It's a film with chuckles, chortles, screamers, amusing banter, straight-ahead laughs, titters," he argues. Jeff likes Morning Glory so well he compares it to some of his favorite things, headlining his item "Breasts and Buttocks." Wells isn't talking about Rachel's naughty bits -- though her underwear scene is splendid. He's making an odd metaphor, saying that calling a good comedy not funny enough "is like meeting a bright and soulful and beautiful woman and saying her tits aren't big enough and that her ass needs to be rounder."

Wells' spirited argument propelled McAdams to the "UP" list on Vulture blog's Oscar Futures report -- at the expense of Anne Hathaway, placed opposite McAdams on the "DOWN" list because Love and Other Drugs got zero Gurus o'Gold votes. Rachel's awards hopes could be affected by Glory's box office. It hasn't been exactly tracking spectacularly, but if it does click with older females, it could settle in for a lengthy run.

My take: McAdams is partly channeling waspishly amusing costar Diane Keaton's Annie Hall, quoting Annie's disarming "Hi … hi!" stammer upon meeting the man of her dreams and Annie's fluttery fluster.

Annie Hall earned Keaton both an Oscar and a Globe. Diane Keaton once told me this about the Annie Hall character: "She's stupid." Blogger Kim Morgan says "Diane Keaton IS Annie Hall, only smarter." I wouldn't go quite that far. But McAdams' Morning Glory role is like a smarter Annie Hall, while Keaton's role captures some of the wised-up wit that she displays in person.