"Snowpiercer" (dir. Bong Joon-Ho)
Cast: Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, John Hurt, Jamie Bell
A few weeks ago, we'd have had this as one of the surest of possibilities -- Joon-Ho is one of the most celebrated filmmakers working at the moment, and his starry English language debut was tipped widely for Cannes, though ultimately wasn't ready. But it's been announced that the film will open back in Korea in August, and with Venice's insistence that virtually all of its films are world premieres, that would seem to rule "Snowpiercer" out. Look for it at TIFF instead.
"Out Of The Furnace" (dir. Scott Cooper)
Cast: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Zoe Saldana, Woody Harrelson
This much-anticipated crime tale from the "Crazy Heart" director has been in the can for a while (it was nearly released in 2012), but is finally close to seeing the light of day. A fall festival premiere makes a lot of sense, even now the release has moved back to November, but there haven't been many rumors linking this to Venice so far, and with the English-language line-up already stacked, Telluride feels more likely.
"Philomena" (dir. Stephen Frears)
Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Simone Lahbib
With so many Oscar potentials on his books this year, you'd think Harvey Weinstein would want to launch one at Venice, and perhaps the most likely bet is that he tries to follow the passage of Stephen Frears' "The Queen" for Frears' new picture -- the one that led from the Lido to the Oscar podium. The film's a relatively recent pick up for Weinstein, and Frears is a familiar face at Venice -- but could his recent run of subpar product hurt his chances?
Cast: Hideaki Anno, Jun Kunimura, Mirai Shida, Hidetoshi Nishijima
Given its near-complete status, and that the Japanese animator's last film "Ponyo" was in competition at Venice, you'd again have figured that Miyazaki's latest would be a shoo-in. But again, the movie opens in Japan next month, which makes Venice much less likely. The chances of a special out-of-competition screening are a little higher than with "Snowpiercer," but unless Alberto Barbera is loosening his rule, look for Miyazaki to get its Western premiere elsewhere.
"Her" (dir. Spike Jonze)
Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Scarlett Johansson, Chris Pratt, Rooney Mara
Spike Jonze managed a Competition slot first time at bat with "Being John Malkovich," and won a pair of awards there. Since then, Jonze has pretty much skipped the festival circuit ("Adaptation" went to Berlin after opening in the U.S., and "Where The Wild Things Are" went straight to wide release), but many thought that 14 years on, he might return to Venice with new film "Her." But Variety have indicated that while it was once a possibility, it's probably not happening. We reckon it'll either play at NYFF or, maybe more likely, just find its way to theaters (though, the high concept may need some good festival buzz to give it a leg up).
"A Pigeon Sat On A Branch Reflecting On Existence" (dir. Roy Andersson)
Cast: Nisse Vestblom, Holger Andersson
The latest film from cult Swedish helmer Roy Andersson has been patiently waited on by many, and was even seen as a possibility for Cannes this year by some. But word is that the film won't be ready until the Croisette in 2014, so Venice seems very unlikely at this point.
Cast: Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Ryan Gosling
It's always hard to know when a new Terrence Malick movie is going to show up, especially given that he's working on several projects simultaneously at the moment. But given it's only a year since the first part of his linked double-header shot, and given that the (unfairly) tepid reception to "To The Wonder" at Venice last year helped to make it his least successful and well received picture, we'd be very surprised if he was back on the Lido so soon. That said, never count it out.
"Foxcatcher" (dir. Bennett Miller)
Cast: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller
One of our most anticipated of the rest of the year, this was apparently eying a potential Venice premiere at one point, but it now looks unlikely. "Capote" bowed at Telluride, and "Moneyball" at TIFF, so look for one of those two, or NYFF, to provide the premiere (if it's ready in time, as filming is still ongoing).
Southcliffe" (dir. Sean Durkin)
Cast: Eddie Marsan, Sean Harris, Kaya Scodelario, Rory Kinnear
While they haven't been as high-profile as some of Cannes' HBO premieres, Venice has highlighted some long-form TV work in the last few years, with "Mildred Pierce" and Kiyoshi Kurosawa's "Penance" featuring. Maybe it's wishful thinking, but we wonder if this four-part UK miniseries from "Martha Marcy May Marlene" helmer Sean Durkin could end up getting some kind of screening. Last we heard, it's set to air in August or September in the UK, so a Venice screening could set that up nicely. A long-shot, probably, but worth considering.
Cast: Naomi Watts, Naveen Andrews, Douglas Hodge, Geraldine James
With a UK release at the end of September, and the success of "The Queen" as a precedent, many were tipping royal biopic "Diana" for a Venice slot, but Variety have suggested that it ain't happening. We'd like to point to the lousy trailer as a reason why, but it's not like a lack of quality stopped "W.E." from screening there a few years back.
"The Assassin" dir. Hou Hsiao-Hien
Cast: Shu Qi, Chang Chen, Satoshi Tsumubaki, Jack Kao, Nikki Hsieh
A veteran of preview pieces like this, Hou Hsiao-Hien makes his first entry into the martial arts genre "The Assassin." After years of delays, filming finally got underway last October, wrapping up in April, but that's no guarantee that the film's done by now. And given that he's a six-time Cannes entrant, it'd be a surprise to see him in Venice, though he did win the Golden Lion in 1989 for "A City Of Sadness," and more recently premiered "Cafe Lumiere" on the Lido. Cannes 2014 is probably the better bet.
Cast: Kyle Catlett, Helena Bonham Carter, Callum Keith Rennie, Judy Davis
A new film from the director of "Amelie" is certainly an event, not least his return to English-language filmmaking. But while the film was apparently due to be completed in time for the fall festival season, we're just not sure that it's likely to be at Venice; it's high-profile enough that word might have leaked out by now, and Jeunet has little history with Venice besides an appearance on the jury in 1995. Our money's on a "Life Of Pi"/"Hugo" style debut at NYFF for the 3D movie. Or perhaps at TIFF to give a nod to the Canucks who helped shoot the movie in Montreal.
Cast: Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgard, Shia LaBeouf, Willem Dafoe
One of the most hotly anticipated films of the year, and touted by some for Cannes despite Von Trier's controversy the last time he was at the festival, people still have an eye on the potential of "Nymphomaniac" premiering in Venice. But the producer has already made clear that extensive visual effects mean that the film won't be ready much before its December release in Denmark.
Technically Possible, But More Likely To Turn Up Elsewhere: "The Family," "Grace Of Monaco," "Le Weekend," "How I Live Now," "The Counselor," "Lilting," "The Fifth Estate," "Two Faces Of January," "August: Osage County," "Labor Day," "Monuments Men," "You Are Here," "Dallas Buyer's Club," "Dom Hemingway," "Calvary," "Can A Song Save Your Life," "Frank," "God Help The Girl," "Beauty & The Beast," "Chavez," "33 Dias," "The Butler."
Thoughts? Anything you want to see in Venice, or any titles you think will surprise? Let us know below!