Imelda Staunton’s highly-touted performance in

Imelda Staunton’s highly-touted performance in Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake (New Line) is falling off the screen as a Best Actress hopeful. One observer opined last night that Staunton and Drake peaked at the Venice Film Festival and just after, and have been fading ever since. One problem is that after Staunton’s Drake character gets popped for performing abortions, she goes into what amounts to a one- note emotional state of shock…eyes glazed over, look of horror on her face…and nothing more. Another problem is that no one has seen it. New Line is “having a hard time keeping it in theatres,” says one Academy pulse-taker. “In Los Angeles it’s currently hanging on at the Westside Pavilion and it’s already playing at the Pasadena Academy, a slightly discounted art house. Next they’ll probably send it to the Beverly Center, where movies go to die….”