The first two of the major fall film festivals are e
Some need to reinforce the pos
It's worth mentioning at this point that the Toronto audience can't make or break a movie's Oscar chances -- that comes when Academy members actually begin to see the film in sizeable numbers. But TIFF provides the biggest, broadest audience of the fall festivals, and the largest contingent of international press;
Among the films that have a lot at stake in Toronto:
Alexander Payne's film is part comedy, part sci-fi tale, part social commentary saga of a man who shrinks himself to five inches tall to better survive in a world of disappearing resources. When
"The Shape of Water"
Guillermo del Toro's fantasy also won raves in Venice, w
If there's a movie that seems tailor-made for the older, more conservative Academy members,
"Battle of the Sexes"
"First They Killed My Father"
Nobody will think Angelina Jolie's drama set in Cambodia during the murderous Khmer Rouge regime is too light -- the question is whether
"Roman J. Israel, Esq."
Dan Gilroy's drama
Greta Gerwig has yet to receive an Oscar nomination, which is something of an injustice considering the performances she's given in films like "Frances Ha" and "20th Century Women." Judging from the Telluride buzz for her directorial debut, in which Saoirse Ronan plays a disaffected teen from Sacramento, she might have a real shot at being recognized on the other side of the camera.
"mother!" and "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Why put these two films together? Because both are far outside the Academy's usual comfort zone: the former by all reports a hugely over-the-top horror extravaganza from Darren Aronofsky, the latter a blackly humorous but very violent mid-American tale from Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. Both seem awfully bloody and extreme for AMPAS, "mother!" perhaps more than "Three Billboards," but a couple of raucous TIFF receptions could point the way for a more open-minded Academy.
"Victoria & Abdul"
The last time director Stephen Frears teamed up with Dame Judi Dench, the result was "Philomena," which landed Oscar nominations for Dench and for Best Picture. This lush period piece, in which Dench plays an aging Queen Victoria who scandalizes her court by befriending a young Indian man, is another potential pick of old-school Academy members.
"Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool"
Everybody at the previous festivals assumed this drama will get some attention for Annette Bening's performance as the old-Hollywood star Gloria Grahame, but not much more than that.
"Call Me By Your Name" and "Mudbound"
Ever since Sundance, Luca Guadagnino's rapturous romance "Call Me By Your Name" has drawn devotees who insist it's a strong Best Picture candidate, and Dee Rees' "Mudbound" has done the same. They could both use a strong Toronto showing to start the transition into awards season.
Since the Academy's Actors Branch apparently won't ever accept that Andy Serkis' brilliant motion-capture performances are awards-worthy acting, will they accept this period-piece drama about man (Andrew Garfield) who turned his disabil
The question here isn't whether Scott Cooper's dark Western is awards-worthy -- the consensus out of Telluride is that
George Clooney's 1950s drama has some damage control to do. The film, which stars Matt Damon and was based on a true story of racially motivated violence in a well-groomed suburb, was not particularly well-received in Venice. In the more welcoming screening rooms in Toronto,
"Molly's Game" and "Woman Walks Ahead"
Jessica Chastain seems to have this problem every couple of years: Which performance should get the awards heat? She had "Interstellar" and "A Most Violent Year" in 2014, and most memorably six different movies, including "The Tree of Life," "Take Shelter" and "The Help," in her breakthrough 2011.
She's already appeared in "The Zookeeper's Wife" this year, but her two biggest awards shots are premiering at TIFF: Aaron Sorkin's "Molly's Game," in which she plays the real-life woman who ran an underground, star-studded poker game for years, and Susanna White's "Woman Walks Ahead," the story of a woman who became one of Sitting Bull's chief confidantes.
"The Leisure Seeker," "The Mountain Between Us," "Kings" and "Mary Shelley"
Directors Paolo Virzi, Hany Abu-Assad, Deniz Gamze Erguven and Haifaa al Mansour are more acquainted with the Oscar foreign-language race than any other categories: Abu-Assad was nominated for "Paradise Now" and "Omar" and Erguven for "Mustang," while Virzi and al Mansour were in contention with the well liked "Human Capital" and "Wadjda," respectively.
Now they're all at TIFF with English-language films featuring movie stars: Virzi with the Donald Sutherland/Helen Mirren road trip "The Leisure Seeker," Abu-Assad with the Kate Winslet/Idris Elba survival story "The Mountain Between Us," Erguven with the L.A. riots film "Kings," with Halle Berry and Daniel Craig, and al Mansour with "Mary Shelley," a drama starring Elle Fanning as "Frankenstein" author Mary Shelley.
The last film about the Boston Marathon bombing, "Patriots Day," meant a lot to its star and producer, Bostonian Mark Wahlberg, but didn't register with awards voters. This one, directed by David Gordon Green, has the advantage of past nominee Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead.
When the French comedy "The Intouchables" failed to make
Maybe this isn't really a movie w