UK distributor Momentum Pictures is planning an ambitious 100-screen release for Steve McQueen’s Shame and will be pushing the film hard for BAFTA and other awards consideration.

Xavier Marchand, MD at Momentum, has outlined the details of what is shaping up as a very aggressive campaign for Shame. Marchand, who is promising “a very strong, upmarket release,” also discounted the idea that the film’s graphic sexual content [it is the story of a man’s sex addiction] could prove problematic to its awards prospects.

“In the UK, we are going to have a major push in all categories for the film in the BAFTAs,” Marchand stated. “The subject matter might be a bit tough but the film I think is a masterpiece and I hope the BAFTA members will acknowledge that. The reviews so far are all pointing in the right direction and the reaction after the London Film Festival is great.”

The release date is set for Jan 13, 2012, when Shame will be counter-programmed against Steven Spielberg’s War Horse.

Marchand is hopeful that Shame could be “the Black Swan (or) The King’s Speech for this year.”

The film has just been submitted to the BBFC for rating. It is yet to receive a certificate but Marchand doesn’t anticipate any censorship problems. He pointed out that, last year, Blue Valentine, which also had strong sexual content and was originally given an NC-17 rating in the US before receiving an R on appeal, was rated 15 in the UK.

Steve McQueen’s second feature stars Michael Fassbender as a New York executive struggling with a sex addiction; his life is further complicated when his sister (Carey Mulligan) comes back into his life.

The film premiered at Venice, where Fassbender won the Best Actor prize, and it has since screened in Telluride, Toronto, New York and at the LFF. Fox Searchlight acquired the film in Toronto and will release in the US on Dec 2, and HanWay has international sales.