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Telluride 2018 Report Card: Critics Pick the Best Films of the Festival

IndieWire's annual survey of the best films at Telluride often points to Oscar frontrunners. This year is no exception.




Each year, IndieWire polls critics and journalists at the Telluride Film Festival, where Oscar season kicks off with some of the most anticipated movies of the fall. While the survey doesn’t ask participants to predict the Oscars, the outcome is often a pretty accurate window into the race: Last year, future best picture winner “The Shape of Water” tied with fellow nominee “Lady Bird” in the survey’s best film category, and surprise best picture winner “Moonlight” won the category the year before that.

Based on that history, Netflix should feel pretty confident heading into the fall. Alfonso Cuaron’s black-and-white “Roma,” which the streaming platform will release in December, topped the survey for best film and best director by a landslide.

In “Roma,” Cuaron revisits the Mexico City neighborhood of his childhood, exploring the plight of a young housemaid (Yalitza Aparicio) in a middle-class family. Cuaron shot the movie on 65mm film and used a Dolby Atmos sound mix that has been generating as much acclaim as the filmmaking, a return to the intimacy of dramas like “Y Tu Mama Tambien.” Following its initial wave of acclaim at the Venice Film Festival, “Roma” was celebrated at Telluride throughout Labor Day weekend, as Cuaron was the recipient of a festival tribute and stills from the film were displayed at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art. Netflix will take the movie to the Toronto International Film Festival and the New York Film Festival, where it will play as the festival’s centerpiece.

With 25 critics and journalists participating in IndieWire’s poll, “Roma” received 44% of the vote for best picture and Cuaron received 50% of the vote for best director. However, the best film category was filled with other popular titles from the weekend festival. Damien Chazelle’s “First Man,” an explosive and personal chronicle of Neil Armstrong’s journey to the moon, landed in second place for best film and best director. The third place for best film went to Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite,” another Venice hit, which also topped the best screenplay category.

"The Favourite"

“The Favourite”

Fox Searchlight

In “The Favourite,” Lanthimos enters period drama territory with the twisted 18th century story of two women (Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz) attempting to infiltrate the British kingdom headed by Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). The project, co-written by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara, marks the first time Lanthimos directed a movie he didn’t script himself. Fox Searchlight next takes the movie to NYFF, where it will screen in the opening night slot.

Head to the next page for a full breakdown of voting percentages and a list of participating critics.

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