In Contention

OFF THE CARPET: The great, appreciated unknown

Posted by · 5:47 pm · September 19th, 2011

As we move out of the Toronto fray, Venice and Telluride already a memory, we look to the season ahead. The starting gun echo of those three early fall festivals is beginning to fade away, and with the dust settled or settling, it’s interesting to note the lack of an inarguable emerging player. In fact, […]

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Lebanese foreign film submission ‘Where Do We Go Now?’ wins Toronto’s People’s Choice Award

Posted by · 11:24 am · September 18th, 2011

I can’t say I’m all that aware yet of Nadine Labaki’s “Where Do We Go Now?,” which Guy recently called “a serious-minded comedy with musical elements that premiered to warm reviews in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section, where it earned a special mention from the Ecumenical Jury.” But the film has swooped in and nabbed […]

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OSCAR TALK: Ep. 61 — Wrapping up Toronto, ‘Moneyball’ and Brad Pitt’s Oscar positioning, Roland Emmerich’s ‘Anonymous,’ ‘Rampart’ and turning out the lights

Posted by · 8:53 am · September 16th, 2011

Welcome to Oscar Talk. In case you’re new to the site and/or the podcast, Oscar Talk is a weekly kudocast, your one-stop awards chat shop between yours truly and Anne Thompson of Thompson on Hollywood. The podcast is weekly, every Friday throughout the season, charting the ups and downs of contenders along the way. Plenty […]

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9/16 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Scientists vouch for ‘Contagion,’ Refn breaks down ‘Drive,’ Toronto takeaways

Posted by · 7:46 am · September 16th, 2011

• Scientists say “Contagion” is for real. [Associated Press] • James Rocchi talks “The Ides of March” with Best Supporting Actress hopeful Evan Rachel Wood. [MSN Movies] • Nicolas Winding Refn breaks down a scene from “Drive.” [Arts Beat]

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9/15 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Flamboyant ‘Drive’ strategy, Oscilloscope nabs ‘Heights,’ eight minutes of ‘Dragon Tattoo’

Posted by · 7:45 am · September 15th, 2011

• John Horn talks to FilmDistrict honcho Bob Berney about the flamboyant advertising of Nicolas Winding Refn’s “Drive.” [24 Frames] • Dana Harris chats with “Albert Nobbs” stars Glenn Close and Janet McTeer. [indieWIRE] • Oscilloscope picks up Andrea Arnold’s “Wuthering Heights” in Toronto. [Variety]

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Cohen Media Group nabs Besson’s ‘The Lady’

Posted by · 5:22 pm · September 14th, 2011

Everyone’s just been waiting to see who would pick up Luc besson’s “The Lady” out of Toronto, just for an excuse to go ahead and shuffle Michelle Yeoh over to the pile of likely Best Actress contenders. Yeoh stars in the film as Burmese opposition politician Aung San Suu Kyi and David Thewlis has a […]

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Moverman’s expressive ‘Rampart’ offers tour de force performance from Woody Harrelson

Posted by · 8:26 am · September 14th, 2011

Oren Moverman’s “Rampart” is absolutely fantastic. Top to bottom, it’s a considerable directorial achievement, and an exciting, brazen departure from his excellent 2009 debut, “The Messenger.” The film — from an original screenplay by James Ellroy, re-written by Moverman — uses the 1999 Los Angeles Police Department Rampart corruption scandal as a frame, a state […]

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Clooney on ‘Descendants’ at Telluride, with clips

Posted by · 7:40 am · September 14th, 2011

Via our new partners at HitFix, specifically Greg Ellwood’s Awards Campaign blog:

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9/14 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Plays storm the screen in Toronto, Liddell acquires ‘Killer Joe,’ Barker on Calley

Posted by · 7:30 am · September 14th, 2011

• Michelle Kung writes up Toronto from the perspective of plays taking to the screen en masse, like Tracy Letts’s “Killer Joe”… [Speakeasy] • …which Liddell Entertainment, by the way, picked up at the fest. [Variety] • Sasha Stone on life after the 2011 fall festival circuit. [Awards Daily]

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9/13 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Madonna in Toronto, SPC’s would-be ‘Shame’ plan, Clooney overexposed?

Posted by · 9:12 am · September 13th, 2011

• Michael Cieply reports from the “W.E.” press conference in Toronto, where Madonna is doing slightly better than she did over in Venice. [Arts Beat] • Speaking of Toronto, Tilda Swinton keeps hitting the press rounds at the fest. [Speakeasy] • Pete Hammond hears that Sony Classics wanted to lay the groundwork for a Michael […]

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9/12 OSCARWEB ROUND-UP: Clooney on self-competition, Woodley ready for her close-up, genre movies at the Oscars

Posted by · 8:03 am · September 12th, 2011

• Bill Desowitz calls “The Lion King 3D,” which hits theaters Friday, “a noteworthy achievement for post-converting hand-drawn animation.” Agreed. He also talks to those responsible for it. [Thompson on Hollywood] • Clooney: Clooney vs. Cooney just hype. [Variety] • Shailene Woodley, meanwhile, is ready for her close-up in Toronto. [The Guardian]

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Mixed reaction to Moverman’s ‘Rampart’ in Toronto, some measured praise for Woody Harrelson

Posted by · 6:04 pm · September 11th, 2011

One of the more anticipated Toronto bows, for me, is Oren Moverman’s “The Messenger” follow-up, “Rampart.” I was a big fan of his last effort and have been intrigued by the possibility of Woody Harrelson bubbling up in the Best Actor race (assuming a studio bites on the film). But things aren’t looking stellar for […]

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Venice awards make a stand

Posted by · 11:05 am · September 11th, 2011

To judge from the press reaction to yesterday’s Venice Film Festival awards, you could be forgiven for thinking that Michael Fassbender won every single one of them, plus an extra certificate for full attendance. That’d hardly be surprising in any circumstances, given Fassbender’s growing celebrity and the media’s reliable aversion to world cinema. Best Actor […]

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‘Take Shelter’ and Jessica Chastain win in Deauville

Posted by · 12:42 am · September 11th, 2011

In the midst of early-season festival madness (and sometimes lost in the clutter) is the Deauville Film Festival, which concluded this weekend. Top honors went to Jeff Nichols’s “Take Shelter,” a film of which I’m a big proponent. To start the festival, though, one of the film’s stars, Jessica Chastain, shared the “New Hollywood” award […]

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Plummer threatening to break into lead actor race

Posted by · 5:07 pm · September 10th, 2011

I’ve been hearing for a little while about “Barrymore,” Erik Canuel’s adaptation of a one-man show featuring Christopher Plummer as the great actor John Barrymore. Assuming a distributor gambles on the film in Toronto (it’s tough to sell a one-man show, no doubt), it’s entirely likely Plummer will be thrust into the Best Actor field […]

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‘Anonymous’ draws mixed reaction in Toronto

Posted by · 11:52 am · September 10th, 2011

I’ve had a sharp eye on thoughts on and reviews of Roland Emmerich’s “Anonymous” out of the Toronto film fest. I had expected to be alone in my appreciation for the film (having heard of quite a few detractors), but I must say I was relieved to see that some are reacting in the positive. […]

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VENICE: ‘Faust’ wins Golden Lion, Fassbender takes Volpi Cup for Best Actor

Posted by · 10:53 am · September 10th, 2011

Guy is currently in transit from Venice (where, once again, he offered some bang-up coverage throughout — much appreciated). I’ll let him address the bulk of this when he touches down, but for now, a big win out of the festival for “Shame” in Michael Fassbender’s Volpi Cup victory. In accepting the award, Fassbender tipped […]

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VENICE: Delicious ‘Damsels’ breaks the Closing Night curse

Posted by · 9:57 am · September 10th, 2011

“Oh, Christ, that means it’s going to be shit,” wailed a friend of mine, an ardent devotee of long-dormant American auteur Whit Stillman, when the director’s new film, “Damsels in Distress,” was announced as the Closing Night film of this year’s Venice Film Festival. I consoled him that it needn’t be the case, but only […]

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