Sharma Life Of Pi
"Life Of Pi" (dir. Ang Lee)
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Tobey Maguire, Gerard Depardieu, Irrfan Khan, Tabu
Ang Lee is a serious favorite at Venice: he won the Golden Lion twice in three years, for "Brokeback Mountain" and "Lust, Caution," and headed the jury in 2009. Ordinarily, we'd say that would make his new film a lock, but given that it's not due for release until Thanksgiving, and the extensive visual effects work involved, it might be a stretch. And Fox may prefer to start the awards season campaign at a more populist fest like TIFF where audience buzz will be more loudly heard.

"The Place Beyond The Pines" (dir. Derek Cianfrance)
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, Eva Mendes, Rose Byrne, Dane DeHaan
Hotly tipped, and reportedly even screened for the Cannes selection committee, our understanding is that Derek Cianfrance's follow-up to "Blue Valentine" simply wasn't ready in time, particularly Mike Patton's score. One would assume that the extra few months might have done the trick for the generational crime saga, with Gosling as a motorcycle stunt rider who comes into conflict with a cop-turned-politician (Cooper). That being said, with a plenty of other U.S. fare in competition, our gut says that this will probably end up bowing at Toronto or Telluride, but you never know.

Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charlie Swan III

"A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III"/"The Bling Ring" (dir. Roman Coppola/Sofia Coppola)
Cast: Charlie Sheen, Bill Murray, Jason Schwartzmann/Emma Watson, Leslie Mann
As the (controversial) winner of the Golden Lion in 2010, Sofia Coppola certainly has every reason to come back to Venice with her latest film, which investigates the true-life gang of Beverly Hills burglars. That being said, it only wrapped recently, and Coppola would have to turn it around quickly in order for it to be ready for the festival, and the subject matter seems to be anathema to the new "less glitzy/more serious" approach. Perhaps more likely is her brother Roman's long-awaited return, which shot last year, and should be in a better place. Again, would the presence of Charlie Sheen in the year bring the wrong kind of attention for the festival? Or is there no such thing as bad publicity? We'd peg it as a more likely TIFF premiere, but don't count it out.

"Camille Claudel" (dir. Bruno Dumont)
Cast: Juliette Binoche
French helmer Bruno Dumont only started filming his latest -- which stars Juliette Binoche as a sculptor confined to an asylum during the First World War -- at the beginning of this year, which meant that it was likely too late for his more regular home of Cannes, and surely Barbera would snatch up the opportunity to showcase the film. That being said, Dumont's also a regular at Toronto, and the extra couple of weeks might suit the director's schedule better, whereas he'd be a Venice first timer if he did make it in this year. This one could go either way, or it might not even surface until Berlin or Cannes next year.