Roundup: Putting the brakes on '12 Years a Slave'
The Toronto Film Festival always showers Oscar buzz on a critical and audience favorite, but I can't remember the last time a film was quite so aggressively elevated to frontrunner status as "12 Years a Slave" -- which had many rational critics and pundits going so far as to declare the Best Picture race over before it's begun. So just wait a minute, says Mark Harris: "It's a long road to the Oscars, and even if '12 Years a Slave' ends up crossing the finish line first, no movie makes it from September to February without hitting some speed bumps — other movies, backlash, op-ed page harrumphing, hype fatigue." "Argo" stealthily weathered those obstacles after emerging as the ordained frontrunner at Toronto last year; will "Slave" do the same? [Grantland]
Well, whaddaya know -- the "op-ed page harrumphing" starts here. "12 Years a Slave" and "The Butler" are "created for a white, liberal audience to engender white guilt," says Orville Lloyd Douglas. It'd help if he saw the films. [The Guardian]
Anyway, Toronto's all well and good for major titles like "12 Years a Slave," but what about its 146 other world premieres? Wendy Mitchell wonders if the festival is just too big. [Screen Daily]
Larry Rohter on the recent boom of the Canadian film industry. Can they nab a fourth consecutive nod for Best Foreign Language Film? [New York Times]
On the more mainstream end of the box office conversation, why low-budget horror continues to be a good investment. [LA Times]
Joss Whedon? Benedict Cumberbatch? J.J. Abrams? Michael Cusumano wonders who cinema's current King of the Nerds is. [The Film Experience]
On the tension between long titles and hashtag marketing in the modern cinema. Are you looking forward to Ben Stiller's "#Mitty?" [Ultraculture]