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Toronto Wrap: Winners, Oscar Contenders and Also-Rans

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 18, 2012 at 4:29PM

I started out Toronto 2012 with my first Jason Reitman screenplay read-through--his first in Toronto--Alan Ball's Oscar-winning "American Beauty." I'd missed his series of live reads at LACMA, from "The Breakfast Club" to "The Apartment." In a way "American Beauty" was apt preparation for the festival's crowning glory, David O. Russell's ultimate audience award winner, "Silver Linings Playbook." They are in the same vein--a flinty-edged picture of who we are now, laced with dark comedy and self-recognition, with romance and hope still a possibility. That's why "American Beauty" won best picture.
Kristen Stewart in "On the Road"
Comme au Cinema Kristen Stewart in "On the Road"

IFC introduced the shorter (by 15 minutes) version of "On the Road" in Toronto, complete with its most formidable asset, Kristen Stewart, who charmed the fest media like a pro. The company picked up Venice opener "The Reluctant Fundamentalist," directed by Mira Nair, as well as Neil Jordan's stylish take on the vampire thriller, "Byzantium." IFC also pushed Cristian Mungiu's Romanian Cannes and Oscar entry "Beyond the Hills."

Fox Searchlight, which already has plenty on its plate, did not make any buys, allowing "What Maisie Knew," from frequent collaborators David Siegel and Scott McGehee, to go to Millennium, a strange home for a lovely but tricky-to-market film starring Julianne Moore and Steve Coogan as narcissistic and neglectful parents. Instead the distributor stcuk to promoting its Oscar-contender "The Sessions," starring John Hawkes and Helen Hunt.

Focus Features had a mixed bag of tricks. On the one hand Working Title's "Anna Karenina" scored well with audiences and Oscar-watchers, and the company scooped up arguably the biggest title available: Derek Cianfrance's "A Place Beyond the Pines," starring Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper. On the other, "Pines" is a tough watch and may prove a hard sell, and "Hyde Park on Hudson," starring Bill Murray and Laura Linney, was a dud on all fronts.

HBO scored a win with Alex Gibney's hard-hitting assault on the Catholic Church, "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God," and acquired, not surprisingly, frequent HBO documentarian Liz Garbus's entertaining feminist take on Marilyn Monroe, "Love, Marilyn."

Here's a summing up of the fest's winners, awards contenders and also-rans. I saw some, missed some, interviewed some (many are still-to-be-posted) and will catch up with many in the months ahead.


  • "Silver Linings Playbook" (Russell, USA, TWC)
  • "Argo" (Affleck, USA, WB)
  • "Anna Karenina" (Wright, UK, Focus)
  • "The Sessions" (Lewin, USA, Fox Searchlight)
  • "The Master" (Anderson, USA, TWC)
  • "The Impossible" (Bayona, USA, Summit/Lionsgate)


  • "Amour" (Haneke, Austria, SPC)
  •  "Barbara" (Petzold, Germany, Adopt Films)
  •  "Pieta" (Kim, South Korea)
  • "No" (Larrain, Chile, SPC)
  • "Beyond the Hills" (Mungiu, Romania, IFC)
  • "A Royal Affair" (Arcel, Denmark, Magnolia) or "Love is All You Need" (Bier, Denmark, SPC)
  • "Reality" (Garrone, Italy, Oscilloscope)


  • "The Gatekeepers" (Moreh, Israel, SPC)
  • "Stories We Tell" (Polley, Canada, Roadside)
  • "Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God" (Gibney, USA, HBO)
  • "West of Memphis" (Berg, USA, SPC)
  • "Love, Marilyn" (Garbus, USA. HBO)
  • "The Central Park Five" (Burns, USA, PBS)
  • "Venus and Serena" (Baird & Major, USA/UK)


  • "Rust and Bone" (Audiard, France, SPC)
  • "Looper" (Johnson, USA, Sony)
  • "End of Watch" (Ayer, USA, Open Road)
  • "Cloud Atlas"(Wachowskis, Tykwer, WB)
  • "What Maisie Knew" (Siegel/McGehee, USA, Millennium)
  • "Ginger and Rosa" (Potter, UK)
  • "The Hunt" (Vinterberg, Denmark, Magnolia)
  • "On the Road" (Salles, USA, IFC)
  • "The Sapphires" (Blair, Australia, TWC)
  • "A Hijacking" (Lindholm, Denmark)
  • "Seven Psychopaths" (McDonagh, UK, Lionsgate)
  • "The Place Beyond the Pines" (Cianfrance, USA, Focus)
  • "Sightseers" (Wheatley, UK, IFC)
  • "The Bay" (Levinson, USA, Roadside)
  • "The Attack" (Doueiri, Libya/France/Qatar/Egypt/Belgium)


  • "The Paperboy" (Daniels, USA. Millennium)
  • "At Any Price" (Bahrani, USA, SPC)
  • "Hyde Park on Hudson" (Michell, UK, Focus)Passion (DePalma, France/Germany, TK)
  •  "To the Wonder" (Malick, USA)

MUST-SEES BASED ON BUZZ (alphabetical)

  • "The Act of Killing" (Oppenheimer, Denmark/Norway/UK)
  • "Bad 25" (Lee, USA, ABC)
  • "Byzantium" (Jordan, UK, IFC)
  • "The Company You Keep" (Redford, USA, SPC)
  • "Ernest & Celestine" (Aubier, Patar & Renner, France/Belgium, GKIDS)
  • "Frances Ha" (Baumbach, USA)
  • "Greetings from Tim Buckley" (Algrant, USA)
  • "Here Comes the Devil" (Bogliano, Mexico/USA)
  • "Imogene' (Pulcini/Berman, USA, Roadside)
  • "Kon-Tiki" (Sandberg, Norway/Denmark/UK)
  • "Lore" (Shortland, Australia)
  • "Midnight's Children" (Mehta, Canada)
  • "Much Ado About Nothing" (Whedon, USA, Roadside)
  • "No Place on Earth" (Tobias, USA/UK/Germany, Magnolia)
  • "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (Chbosky, Summit/Lionsgate)
  • "Paradise: Love" (Seidl, France/Germany/Austria, Strand)
  • "Quartet" (Hoffman, USA, TWC)
  • "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" (Nair, India/Pakistan/USA, IFC)
  • "Song for Marion" (Williams, UK, TWC)
  • "Thanks for Sharing" (Blumberg, USA, Roadside)

This article is related to: Toronto International Film Festival, Festivals, Festivals, Academy Awards, Awards, Awards, Oscars

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.