Congratulations to Sony Pictures Classics for acquiring Tommy Lee Jones’ The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada…and I’m sure everyone concerned is breathing a huge sigh of relief. A film as good as this one (which everyone saw in Cannes last May) deserves to be released during Oscar season, but the clock was ticking all summer long and no distribution deal. In her story about the pickup, the Hollywood Reporter‘s Anne Thompson said that Europa Corp., the film’s producer, had been asking $6 million for the film but that Sony did not meet that price. However, SPC did agree that Jones would not have to make any changes to his cut. Directed by Jones and written by the great Guillermo Arriaga (21 Grams), Burials has been called “the best Sam Peckinpah film since Peckinpah died,” or words to that effect. It stars Jones as a Texas cowboy who forces a border-patrol cop (Barry Pepper) who has not-quite-intentionally killed his good Mexican buddy to dig up the body and carry it across the Rio Grande and down to a final resting place in Mexico, as a gesture of respect.