The Long Shots
"Seven Psychopaths" (dir. Martin McDonagh)
Cast: Colin Farrell, Sam Rockwell, Christopher Walken, Woody Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Gabourey Sidibe
Martin McDonagh was already a much lauded playwright, and Oscar-winning director of a short film, when he made his 2008 feature debut "In Bruges," which premiered at Sundance to glowing reviews, and has only become more loved in the time that's passed since. CBS Films are putting out his starry follow-up "Seven Psychopaths" in November, but could it make it to Venice beforehand? We think it's probably a long shot -- the festival generally leans towards more serious fare than even Cannes -- but it's not totally outside the realm of possibility. A Toronto appearance feels like a near-certainty, though.
"The Silver Linings Playbook"/"Django Unchained" (dir. David O Russell/Quentin Tarantino)
Cast: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Chris Tucker, Jacki Weaver
It's clear from their showing of footage at Cannes that The Weinstein Company have high hopes for both the new comedy of romance and mental illness from David O. Russell and for Tarantino's slavery spaghetti western. Neither seem to be obvious awards fare, so could possibly use an boost at prestigious festival like this, and Tarantino was jury president two years ago. But he's still filming 'Django,' which surely rules it out, and while Russell's further along with 'Playbook,' we'd be surprised if that made the trip too, especially with the company looking after "The Master" at the same time. We'd wager that 'Django' will end up skipping the festival route entirely, while Telluride/TIFF seem more likely for 'Playbook'.
Cast: Jeremy Renner, Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard
Although he only begun on his latest film -- a period tale of an immigrant (Cotillard) caught between a sleazy pimp (Phoenix) and a magician -- at the beginning of the year, when we spoke to James Gray a few months back, the helmer told us the film could conceivably be finished for Venice or Toronto. So why isn't this much higher up the list? Well, The Weinstein Company snapped it up last week, and are planning a 2013 release for the film, which make a Venice bow unlikely. With the company already overflowing with awards season possibilities, and Gray a French favorite, we'd guess that this should crop up on the Croisette next year.
"The Grandmasters" (dir. Wong Kar-Wai)
Cast: Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Chang Chen
Ah, "The Grandmasters," Wong Kar-Wai's ever-delayed movie. The film has been shooting on and off for almost three years, and has been rumored for virtually every festival between then and now, but it looks like there's finally light at the end of the tunnel for the project, with the film now slated for a December release in China. But an August date in Venice? Highly unlikely. The project was still filming last month, and we sincerely doubt it'll crop up at any festivals before it opens in China. The best bet for an international showing is at Berlin in February before an eventual stateside release.