U.S. Director Paul Thomas Anderson (L) and actor Joaquin Phoenix (R) pose with executive producer Harvey Weinstein during a photocall for the movie "The Master" at the 69th Venice Film Festival September 1, 2012.
(Photo : REUTERS/Tony Gentile)
The Toronto Film Festival, Venice Film festival and the Telluride Film Festival are regarded as the start to Awards season. Most of the Oscar contending films strive to be screened in search for early attention and buzz. As always this year was not the exception. The following is a list of films which I predict will in contention for the Best picture at the Oscars.
Venice Film Festival Films
Out of the Venice Film Festival a couple of films have emerged as big contenders including "The Master," "To the Wonder," "Passion," "The Company you Keep, " "The Iceman" and "The Reluctant Fundamentalist." While the Venice Film Festival limited the number of films it accepted, audiences still saw incredible quality.
At the top of the list is "The Master" which is being raved as a masterpiece and seems to be destined to get actor Joaquin Phoenix his first Oscar with critics saying that he gives his best performance to date.
"The Company you Keep" which premiered on September 6th in Venice was recently acquired by Sony Classics. The reviews say that Redford is back in form as director and actor.
As for the other films, Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder" received mixed reviews and boos at its screening. This is of course is no surprise as his Oscar nominee "The Tree of Life" received the same treatment last year in Cannes and later won the Palme d'Or. However the film has no distributor and based on last year's box office results it will have a hard time getting one.
Brian De Palma's "Passion" and Mira Nair's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" both will both be hard sells, especially after receiving mixed reviews.
As for "The Iceman", the film is going to Toronto and with good reviews for Michael Shannon it is bound to get a distributor to promote the film for the best actor award.
Telluride Film Festival
Out of Telluride which saw "Slumdog Millionaire," "The King's Speech," "The Artist," "Black Swan" and "A Separation" emerge as big Oscar films, "Hyde Park Hudson" has been the early winner. It received great reviews for Bill Murray but did not see enough buzz for the film itself.
"Argo", Ben Affleck's latest movie got an unexpected Oscar push as audiences and critics loved the film and called it intense, comic and solid.
Finally, "The Iceman" continued getting buzz and solidified it's status as a major Oscar contender.
Telluride also presented "Rust and Bones" starring Marion Cotillard who is has been recieving buzz for her performance since Cannes. It also presented Palme d'Or winner "Amour" directed by Michael Haneke. However because these films are foreign films it will be hard to place them in the best picture contention unless the Oscars decide this is the year to honor a foreign film.
Aside from that Telluride did not offer the Oscar hype it usually does as it decided to show more foreign fare and small independent films usually not known as Oscar contenders.
Toronto Film Festival
Toronto is the place where the stars align and this year is no exception. Films such as "Looper", "The Silver Linings Playbook", "The Place beyond the Pines," "On the Road," "Quartet," "The Sessions," "Seven Psychopaths," "Cloud Atlas," "The Impossible" and "Great Expectations" will seek Oscar buzz.
Additionally some Venice films such as "To The Wonder," "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," "The Iceman" and "At any Price" starring Zac Efron will seek distributors in search of Oscar hopes.
Still the three festivals seemed to lack the quality or the amount of films that previous years had. It does not seem like a strong year and it seems that neither festival brought the Oscar winning film of past years.
As these festivals are under away "Anna Karenina," which is screening at Toronto on the the 6th of September, opens in the UK seeking early attention on the home front before it opens in the US in November. The film has already garnered mixed reception but scored points for its central performance by Keira Knightly and for its costumes and art direction. It will be interesting to see if voters will respond to its artsy and stylish filmmaking.
Outside of these festivals, various films have already opened and won acclaim such as "Moonrise Kingdom" which did solid business over the summer as well as Sundance winner "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
"The Dark Knight Rises" also gained acclaim and looks to redeem Christopher Nolan's snub from "Inception."
As for the films not released yet Spielberg's "Lincoln" is garnering attention even though it has not been seen. The same goes for Robert Zemeckis' "Flight" and Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" which make their World Premieres at the New York Festival.
"Les Miserables" and "Django Unchained" as well as "The Hobbit" and "Zero Dark Thirty" are films that must not be discounted. As it stands there is no clear favorite for the race.
Here are my are my first predictions based on buzz, what I have seen and on the reviews out of festivals.
2 The Master
3 Beast of the Southern Wild
4 Moonrise Kingdom
6 Les Miserables
Life of Pi
The Dark Knight Rises
The Silver Lining s Playbook