The race for Oscar is akin to a political campaign, and the first three Fall film festivals have made a significant impact on all the major races. Consider that Venice, Telluride and Toronto take place within three weeks of each other and you have a huge indicator of how the season will progress. With that in mind, here are eight major takeaways that are still buzzing in our heads as the Oscar race begins.
After dominating a lot of the on-the-ground chatter at the Telluride Film Festival and then transitioning to the Toronto fest with a headwind, The Weinstein Company's Alan Turing biopic "The Imitation Game" has won Toronto's coveted People's Choice Award.
Another edition of the Toronto International Film Festival is effectively over and the powers that be have a lot to ponder before the planning for 2015 begins. Yes, there were famous faces such as Robert Downey Jr., Benedict Cumberbatch, Jennifer Aniston and Channing Tatum strutting their stuff on the venues' red carpets. Yes, the festival got extremely lucky with five buzzworthy world premieres ("Still Alice," "The Theory of Everything," "Nightcrawler," "Top Five" and, no joke, "Tusk"). Yes, they made some unexpected awards season noise with Julianne Moore and, in some people's eyes, Jennifer Aniston. And yes, they had a lot of fun with Bill Murray Day. But…
What else can you really say about Susanne Bier's "Serena?" We're still waiting. "Silver Linings Playbook" and "American Hustle" have come and gone (the latter having begun and ended production with "Serena" wrapped) and still the Depression Era drama has yet to come out and play. The cards will be on the table next month, though, as the film premieres at the London Film Festival ahead of an Oct. 24 UK bow. Will it be worth the wait?
It may not yet have a release date here in the United States, but we're still getting our first look at the new Matthew McConaughey film, "Sea of Trees." Directed by Gus Van Sant, the upcoming movie also stars Naomi Watts and Ken Watanabe.
TORONTO — It’s quite remarkable that up until now there has never been a biopic on the life of Bobby Fischer, arguably the greatest chess player of the 20th Century. Yes, his name was used in the acclaimed 1993 film “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” but that referenced his potential successor. Fisher’s life and his greatest moment, a dramatic match against his Russian counterpart, are finally depicted in the new drama “Pawn Sacrifice,” which screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival.
TORONTO — If it's September, not only is it fall film festival time, but it's also time for the return of the Contender Countdown. Yes, your weekly snapshot of the Best Picture race is back and who knew 2014 might actually deliver another real race?
Most eyes were on Sony Pictures Classics for a potential suitor for Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland's "Still Alice." They have a lot of dogs in a lot of hunts, but the lead actress race was something left lacking on their awards slate. That's all changed now, as they've just made the first steps toward potentially securing Julianne Moore her long-elusive first Academy Award.
The 2014 Toronto Film Festival is winding down, so we should probably take a look at the sales that have come out of the market there. I've kept an eye on it over the last week, and for the most part, major studios are taking a pass. It's the smaller distributors that are cutting the most checks. But that didn't stop one massive bidding war from happening, leaving Paramount standing proud with a new Chris Rock comedy to show for it.
If Telluride carried over the Cannes buzz for Steve Carell and Timothy Spall while extending the Venice pop for Michael Keaton and announcing the arrival of Benedict Cumberbatch to the hugely competitive 2014 Best Actor race, Toronto has brought a new wave of serious contenders in the ever-expanding field. Eddie Redmayne, Bill Murray and Jake Gyllenhaal: welcome to the party.