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For Your Consideration: 10 Things The Fall Fests Might Tell Us About Awards Season

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire August 30, 2012 at 12:59PM

The Venice Film Festival is off and running and that's as good as a starting gun: It means the awards season is here. Over the next three weeks, Venice, Telluride and Toronto are the first opportunity for awards prognostication to move beyond intelligent (or not) guessing.

Ben Affleck's 'Argo'
Ben Affleck's 'Argo'
7. Can Ben Affleck finally make the big category?
Ben Affleck has certainly managed a successful directorial career thus far, with his "Gone Baby Gone" and "The Town" each earning strong reviews and Oscar nods for acting (Amy Ryan and Jeremy Renner, respectively).

But with "Argo" -- a political drama  about the rescue of six U.S. diplomats from Iran during the 1979 Iran hostage crisis -- he's made his most ambitious effort yet, and surely Affleck hopes it can propel him into the best picture and director categories for the first time. He also might have a shot at his first acting nod (potentially going up against BFF Matt Damon, whose "Promised Land" -- which co-wrote and stars in -- just got set for a December release).

"Argo" premieres in Toronto, followed by a October 12th theatrical release care of Warner Brothers.

8. Is "Anna Karenina" another "Soloist," or more like an "Atonement"?
For a bit there, Joe Wright had a near-perfect track record with Oscar. His first two films -- "Pride and Prejudice" and "Atonement" -- received 10 nominations between them, the latter making the best picture cut. But then came "The Soloist" and "Hanna." The latter did receive strong reviews but the former definitely did not, and neither brought Wright's work back into the Academy's shortlists. Perhaps a return to literary adaptations -- and Keira Knightley -- will change that trend?

"Anna Karenina" -- adapted from Leo Tolstoy's classic novel -- re-teams Wright with his "Pride" and "Atonement" star Keira Knightley (who stars alongside Jude Law, Aaron Johnson, Kelly Macdonald, Olivia Williams, Matthew Macfadyen and Michelle Dockery). Like "Atonement" and "Pride," "Anna" is also having its North American premiere at TIFF (just after making its theatrical debut in Wright's native UK), which should let us know where "Anna" potentially fits in the Oscar's relationship with Joe Wright.

9. Is Kristen Wiig about to get a second Oscar nomination, but this time for acting?
Kristen Wiig managed a well-deserved Oscar nomination earlier this year for co-writing "Bridesmaids," the film that propelled her into the A-list and paved the way for her to leave "Saturday Night Live" and focus her career on film full-time. While the first test of that trajectory comes with Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini's "Imogene," which premieres at the Toronto Film Festival. The film sees Wiig star as a playwright who stages a suicide in an attempt to win back her ex (Matt Dillon), only to wind up in the custody of her gambling-addict mother (Annette Bening).

It sounds like a great premise, but even if TIFF audiences agree, the film has one final hurdle before Oscar talk is even possible: It does not have U.S. distribution.

10. Is any other film without distribution about to enter the Oscar race?
Beyond "Imogene," there's loads of films that could get picked up out of Venice or Toronto for awards season contention.

Some examples: The aforementioned "To The Wonder," Brian DePalma's "Passion," Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Behind The Pines," Scott McGehee and David Siegel's "What Maisie Knew," Dante Ariola's "Arthur Newman," Joss Whedon's "Much Ado About Nothing," Neil Jordan's "Byzantium," Mike Newell's "Great Expectations," Nick Cassavetes's "Yellow," Henry Alex Rubin's "Disconnect," Noah Baumbach's "Frances Ha," and Sally Potter's "Ginger and Rosa."

One of these could be the next "The Wrestler," "Rabbit Hole" or "A Single Man." Though one of them could just as easily be the next "Trust." (Remember that film? I didn't think so.)

Check out Indiewire's latest chart of Oscar predictions here.

Peter Knegt is Indiewire's Senior Editor and awards columnist. Follow him on Twitter and on his blog.

This article is related to: Academy Awards, Toronto International Film Festival, Venice Film Festival, Awards, Features

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