Three weeks ago, Indiewire suggested 10 things the power trio of the fall festival circuit - Venice, Telluride and Toronto - might reveal about awards season. From new work by Ben Affleck, David O. Russell, Paul Thomas Anderson, Brian DePalma and Terrence Malick, to films that could rocket out of nowhere, these festivals were the first opportunity for awards prognostication to move beyond intelligent (or not) guessing. So what exactly went down?
Expectedly, quite a bit. In the midst of the chaos, IW published this update, which suggested the likes of Ben Affleck's "Argo" and Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" had established themselves as films to watch for, while Roger Michell's FDR biopic "Hyde Park on Hudson" was the biggest disappointment. But since then, there have definitely been a few more major developments.
The most significant of which was "Silver Linings Playbook," which went into Toronto without much buzz and came out of it with the festival's People's Choice Award and near-frontrunner status in a couple of major Oscar categories (particularly best actress for Jennifer Lawrence). Between "Linings," "The Master" and sight-unseen "Django Unchained," The Weinstein Company could have their third triumphant Oscar year in a row.
Further thoughts on both "The Master" and "Silver Linings" are included in the below answers to the 10 questions Indiewire posed three weeks back (as well as in these updated Oscar predictions). Of course, there's still much to come. Among those that weren't on the circuit are the aforemenioned "Unchained," Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," and Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables" (not to mention "Life of Pi" and "Flight," which are both screening at the New York Film Festival in a few weeks).
But for now, there's definitely a considerable amount for Oscar prognosticators to work with. Just perhaps not as much as perhaps thought going into Toronto.
Question: Is "The Master" a sure bet?
Answer: It certainly seems like it. An enthusiastic critical response out of Venice and Toronto (and some killer box office numbers quickly after to boot) has pretty much secured Paul Thomas Anderson's veiled take on Scientology as a fixture in the race. Nominations for best picture, best director, best original screenplay, best actor (Joaquin Phoenix), best supporting actress (Amy Adams) best supporting actor (Phillip Seymour Hoffman) and a couple technical nods seem pretty assured.
But the bigger question is can it go all the way? Its status as a frontrunner was muted a bit by the well-recieved (and more accessible) likes of Ben Affleck's "Argo" and David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook" (which like "The Master," has Harvey Weinstein behind it). Though it seems like its safest bet at an actual statuette comes from Anderson himself, who could very well win his first Oscar in the somewhat thin best original screenplay category (where the likes of "Argo" and "Silver Linings" aren't competing). Best picture and director are much bigger question marks, and how big the inevitable backlash against the film is will be telling as to how possible that is five months from now.
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