With Venice still underway, Telluride wrapped and TIFF kicking off tomorrow, the award rumor mill is in overdrive. As Peter Knegt writes in the third edition of his column For Your Consideration: “In the past seven days or so, there have probably been more developments in the awards race than will be seen during any time period this year. Except for maybe the next seven days. With the Telluride Film Festival over, the Venice Film Festival entering its eighth day, and the Toronto Film Festival a day away from opening, a lot has gone down and roughly just as much is about to.”
According to Knegt, the film making the biggest impression on the fest circuit up to this point is Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech.” “Reviews have been across-the-board glowing, with most Oscar prognosticators agreeing this is very much up the Academy’s alley,” writes Knegt. “Nominations for picture, director and actors Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter all seem pretty likely.” Of other possible award contenders, Knegt singles out Danny Boyle’s “127 Hours,” Darren Aronofsky’s Venice opener “Black Swan,” and Mark Romanek’s “Never Let Me Go.”
Eugene Hernandez, who was in Telluride over Labor Day weekend, meanwhile offered up his picks from the festival. At the top of his list was Denis Villenueve’s “Incendies.” Of the film Hernandez writes: “‘Incendies,’ unfolds like a great novel. It’s a true page-turner that explores a brother and sister who, in the wake of their mother’s death, embark on a revelatory journey to the Middle East to unearth their family tree. It’s a journey marked by tenderness and horror as the siblings follow the roots of their family to unexpected (and at times unbelievable) places.”
Hernandez was also mightily impressed with Aronofsky’s “Swan,” writing: “Sound and image collide wonderfully in ‘Black Swan.’ The continuously moving handheld camera work (cinematography by Matthew Libatique) matched with swelling music from Tchaikovsky and a complementary original score (by Clint Mansell).”
But like Knegt, Hernandez felt the pull of “The King’s Speech” during his time at Telluride. “Beyond ‘Incendies’ and ‘Black Swan,’ it was Tom Hooper’s ‘The King’s Speech’ that seemed to stir a lot of folks,” observes Hernandez. “Its star Colin Firth was honored by the festival and additional screenings were added to accommodate demand, including a free outdoor showing as the festival came to a close on Monday night.”
– For those of you in Toronto for TIFF be sure to check out indieWIRE’s annual Toronto City Guide to know where to eat, drink and shop. You’ll be lost without it.
– U.S. genre event, Fantastic Fest, unveiled its second round of titles. Big titles include the U.S. debut of Guy Moshe’s “Bunraku,” and the world premiere of “Agnosia,” from Fantastic Fest 2005 alumnus Eugenio Mira.
– “Never Let Me Go” will serve as the opening night film for the British Film Institute London Film Festival, while “127 Hours” will close the fest. “Black Swan” will also play, as will Olivier Assayas’ epic “Carlos,” and Peter Mullan’s “Neds.”
– Fresh off her heralded performance in “Black Swan,” Natalie Portman has been offered the lead role in Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity” following Angelina Jolie’s drop out, according to Anne Thompson at Thompson on Hollywood.
– Over at The New York Times, A.O. Scott tackles a question that’s been plaguing many a film lover’s mind: are films bad, or is TV just better? In his essay, Scott looks over this fall’s roster of films to offer his thoughts on what audiences can expect in terms of quality entertainment.