Toronto Line-up Launches Oscar Race; What Will Show Up in Venice? Fantastic Fest?

Festivals
by Anne Thompson
July 24, 2012 7:32 PM
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Ben Affleck's 'Argo'
Many likely Oscar contenders are spoken for in the Toronto line-up, from Ben Affleck's "Argo" to FDR tale "Hyde Park on Hudson." "Looper" may seem like an odd TIFF fest opener--the festival has stepped away from having to book Canadian films--unless you consider Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis walking the red carpet.

What films are missing, that might turn up somewhere else? Well, late-breaking year-end titles presumably skipping fests this year include Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," Tom Hooper's big-budget musical "Les Miserables" (Universal), Baz Luhrmann's "The Great Gatsby," and Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained."

Also unbooked at fall fests so far is Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," which has picked an awards-friendly November 26 release date. Spielberg doesn't usually take the fest circuit, but I have a hunch if he did this year it would be New York. Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" doesn't need help from fest exposure, nor does Ang Lee's "Life of Pi," unless it scores an opening night at NY.  And Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master" could well turn up alongside Tim Burton's "Frankenweenie" at Tim League's Fantastic Fest in Austin this September, which also debuted "There Will Be Blood" in 2007. Anderson was reported hanging with League in Austin. And PTA hates doing press rounds.

Now that we know the Toronto line-up, we can figure out what will premiere first at the Venice Film Festival (August 29 - September 8). We already know, for example, that Mira Nair's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" will open Venice. Eliminate Toronto World Premieres and films that have already opened (Hidecki Takeuchi's "Thermae Romae") or debuted at another festival like Cannes (Pablo Larrain's "No"), Berlin (Billy Bob Thornton's "Jayne Mansfield's Car"), Sydney ("Lore," a German film from Aussie "Somersault" writer-director Cate Shortland), or is coming up at Locarno ("A Few Hours of Spring," Stephane Brize's follow-up to "Madame Chambon"), and what's left?

Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder" marks a likely Venice debut (or Telluride, which dodges the premiere issue by not announcing its titles until Labor Day Weekend), along with Robert Redford's "The Company You Keep," starring Shia LaBeouf, Ramin Bahrani's "At Any Price," starring Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid, Ariel Vroman's serial killer thriller "The Iceman," starring James Franco, Chris Evans and Michael Shannon (Millennium), and Takeshi Kitano's "Outrage Beyond."

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