Inside Movies and Pop Culture with Gregory Ellwood

Contender Countdown: It's already hard out there for a best picture player

New Feature: Rank the top 10 best picture contenders as you see them

<p>Julia Roberts at a press conference for &quot;August:&nbsp;Osage County&quot;&nbsp;at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.</p>

Julia Roberts at a press conference for "August: Osage County" at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

It's going to be one of those years, a season where so much is at stake that the back-biting begins very, very early. In fact, too early. We saw signs of these behind-the-scenes shenanigans last season when "Zero Dark Thirty" and "Les Misérables" lost their legit Best Picture-contending statuses in pressure-filled PR takedowns. It's only September and competing consultants and publicists already appear to be trying to influence the media to do their bidding. A few disparaging quotes heard across Toronto…

Jay Baruchel on 'Goon' sequel, when Batman met Commissioner Gordon on 'Robocop' and more

Plus: Does he really dislike Los Angeles?

<p>Jay Baruchel at the &quot;This Is The End &quot;&nbsp;premiere in June.</p>

Jay Baruchel at the "This Is The End " premiere in June.

Credit: AP Photo/Chris PIzzello

TORONTO - Let's just call it as it is: Jay Baruchel is a freakin' cool dude. The self-described movie nerd took the train into Toronto Tuesday to help promote "The Art of the Steal," a new heist comedy that premiered at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. And, thankfully, the 31-year-old Montreal resident is still as blunt and friendly as ever when talking to the press.

Daniel Radcliffe admits it would 'break' him to never act again

Plus: How did Amanda Bynes come up in conversation?

<p>Daniel Radcliffe at the Toronto International Film Festival press conference for &quot;The F Word.&quot;&nbsp; Two other films of his, &quot;Kill Your Darlings&quot;&nbsp;and &quot;Horns,&quot;&nbsp;are being screened at the festival this year.</p>

Daniel Radcliffe at the Toronto International Film Festival press conference for "The F Word."  Two other films of his, "Kill Your Darlings" and "Horns," are being screened at the festival this year.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

TORONTO - Things are going well for Daniel Radcliffe.

It isn't easy transitioning from playing one of the most iconic figures in recent literary and cinematic history for over half your life to seemingly less magical roles. Or, perhaps that should be edited to note the transition is about an industry and not the actor himself. Because, as you'll learn, even Radcliffe has had to fight for roles in independent films you'd assume would kill to have someone with his notoriety on board. 2013, however, has seen the fruits of his labors. In January, he received strong reviews for his portrayal of Allen Ginsberg in the period drama "Kill Your Darlings." Sony Classics acquired the picture and it screened at the Venice Film Festival last week. It plays the Toronto International Film Festival this evening.

Hugh Jackman reveals how Denis Villeneuve pushed him to another level in 'Prisoners'

Plus: He shares his adoration for cinematographer Roger Deakins

Hugh Jackman reveals how Denis Villeneuve pushed him to another level in 'Prisoners'

TORONTO - One of the more intense scenes in Denis Villeneuve well respected new thriller "Prisoners" features stars Hugh Jackman, Terrence Howard and Paul Dano.  And it's a visceral, cinematic moment you'll likely remember the rest of the year.

Review: Matthew Weiner has a mad miss with 'You Are Here'

It's a comedy, it's a dramedy, it's a mental health movie and more

HitFix
C-
Readers
n/a
<p>Owen Wilson and Zach Galifiankis in Matthew Weiner's &quot;You Are Here.&quot;</p>

Owen Wilson and Zach Galifiankis in Matthew Weiner's "You Are Here."

TORONTO - Matthew Weiner has proven himself to be an incredible writer and director on the small screen. He's earned critical acclaim and numerous awards for his landmark series "Mad Men." On Saturday afternoon, Weiner unveiled his screenwriting and feature directorial debut at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival with the dramedy "You Are Here." It was not his finest two hours.

Toronto: Best Actor contenders McConaughey and Elba debut back-to-back

Which one is now the frontrunner for Oscar?

<p>Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba</p>

Matthew McConaughey and Idris Elba

TORONTO - As is often the case during the first weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival, two potential awards season contenders debuted within hours of each other Saturday night. In fact, "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" premiered in theaters literally across the street from one another. And, happily, both have something to add to our long road to Oscar.

Review: 'Enough Said' featuring a fine James Gandolfini in one of his last roles

Holofcener's dialogue is great, but the end result feels lacking

HitFix
B
Readers
n/a
<p>James&nbsp;Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Nicole Holofcener's &quot;Enough Said.&quot;</p>

James Gandolfini and Julia Louis-Dreyfus in Nicole Holofcener's "Enough Said."

Credit: Fox Searchlight

TORONTO - Over the course of her four previous pictures, Nicole Holofcener has proven to be one of the most observant and insightful American filmmakers working today. Her latest endeavor, "Enough Said," would be noteworthy just based on the fact that its star, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, hasn't appeared in a live action movie since 1997's "Deconstructing Harry." Sadly, what has put the film on the radar of many moviegoers is the fact its features one of the last performances of the late, great James Gandolfini.

Review: 'Bad Words' is a dirty, hilarious smash for Jason Bateman

Spelling Bee farce proves Bateman is a director to watch for

HitFix
B+
Readers
n/a
<p>Jason Bateman in &quot;Bad Words.&quot;</p>

Jason Bateman in "Bad Words."

TORONTO - In hindsight, no one should be surprised that Jason Bateman turned out to be a very smart and talented movie director. The Hollywood veteran has had a lifelong lesson in what works and what doesn't whether it was on the set of TV's "Silver Spoons" when he was a teenager, amongst the creative ensemble of "Arrested Development" or any number of hit comedies he's starred in over the past five years such as "Identity Thief" or "Horrible Bosses." And did we mention he's been directing TV sitcoms since he was 20? With "Bad Words," which premiered at the 2013 Toronto Film Festival Friday night, Bateman will make many wonder if some of his recent flicks might have actually been even better if he'd been behind the camera instead of just in front of it.

Contender Countdown: 'Gravity' and '12 Years A Slave' storm out of the gate

Who's ready for some Best Picture predictions?

<p>George Clooney, Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuaron at the world premiere of &quot;Gravity&quot;&nbsp;at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.</p>

George Clooney, Sandra Bullock and Alfonso Cuaron at the world premiere of "Gravity" at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.

Credit: AP Photo/Denis Poroy

And we're back! Yes, it's your favorite weekly rundown of Best Picture contenders. A snapshot of who's up, who's down, who's got it in the bag and who's a big whiny pretender.

With Venice almost completed, Telluride in the books and Toronto opening her red carpets to the world, the 2013-2014 awards season is in full swing. Last year, "Silver Linings Playbook" was the surprise at Toronto as "Argo" kept its Telluride momentum going. "Lincoln's" debut was over a month away and many pundits were getting smoke signals that "Zero Dark Thirty" might not even make its expected end-of-year release. So, yep, a lot can happen between now and Dec. 1st. Telluride, however, was quite, um, telling this year (as it increasingly steals Venice and Toronto's thunder). A number of films proved their worthiness (or not) there. With that in mind, let's review the countdown as it stands today, Sept. 5, 2013.

Telluride Roundup: 'Prisoners,' 'Palo Alto,' 'Gravity'

Looking back at some of the major films at Telluride's 40th

<p>Sandra Bullock in &quot;Gravity.&quot;</p>

Sandra Bullock in "Gravity."

Credit: Warner Bros.

TELLURIDE, Colo. - The 2013 Telluride Film Festival has come to a close and, overall, the quality of the slate was befitting the event's 40th anniversary. Granted, you might have expected more celebratory moments, but Telluride has always been about the movies first. Parties? Special ceremonies?  Eh, they'll stick with the annual Thursday "feed" and Labor Day picnic thank you very much.

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