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I’m a gamer, always have been.

Twenty Titles to Watch for the Oscars at Toronto

Over at EW, Dave Karger has put together a nice list of ten titles he’ll be watching for Oscar this September.  The festival that happens between then and now is Telluride, where many of the cream of the crop tend to pop up for Oscar scouts.   Here is Dave’s list:

Anna Karenina
Cloud Atlas
Hyde Park on Hudson
The Impossible
The Place Beyond the Pines
The Sessions
The Silver Linings Playbook
To the Wonder
Rust and Bone

His list is formidable. A veteran awards wonk, Dave Karger is gifted with keen Oscar instincts. This year, though, I’m hoping there will be less sheep herding and more focus paid to genuinely good movies, rather than those that are “Oscar movies.” Dave’s list, I think, features a good variety of quality films. He’s looking a little deeper, I think, at what will be coming our way.

I’d just like to add a few more from the Toronto list.  There isn’t much crossover between this and Venice, except the Mira Nair film. There aren’t so many titles at Venice that, sight unseen, scream Oscar.  Or even those worth pushing towards Oscar. But that might change once the fest is afoot.

We’ll keep an eye on all ten from Dave’s list and I’ll include ten more.

Great Expectations — directed by Mike Newell, starring Ralph Fiennes and Helena Bonham Carter. Like Les Miz, I feel that this Dickens film, if done right, could be just the right kind of medicine for our somber and frustrated times. Leave it to Charles Dickens to set it us right again.
Quartet — Dustin Hoffman as director,  from a Ronald Harwood play and screenplay.  It stars Maggie Smith.  I’m going to take a guess that it has to be pretty good for Hoffman to go and direct the thing.
The Hunt — directed by Thomas Vinterberg. Saw this film at Cannes and it’s a winner.  It is about a man accused of molesting a child and how a village turns against him. He’s innocent, of course.  It is very difficult subject matter but so tightly directed and brilliantly written it shouldn’t have trouble with buzz and finding an audience.  Where will it land with Oscar? It’s tough to say. But it is not our job to dumb it down for them, not this early anyway. Let’s aim high.
The Sapphires — I didn’t see this in Cannes but I’m going to bet that it, being the only feelgood movie in the Weinstein lineup, will get some kind of attention for being an uplifting film in a sea of darkness.
Jane Mansfield’s Car — this is a period film about two families that clash, directed by Billy Bob Thornton.
Much Ado About Nothing — directed by Joss Whedon, he might just be on a roll, a peak career groove where he can do no wrong.
Imogen — directed by Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini.  True, their American Splendor has the distinction of being one of the most critically acclaimed films to earn nothing but a single Oscar nod (screenplay).  Annette Bening and Kristen Wiig though? Written and co-directed by a woman, an added bonus.
The Reluctant Fundamentalist — directed by Mira Nair and starring Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland. I know, I know, the Mira Nair movies never get close to Oscar but am keeping an open mind.
Thanks for Sharing — directed by Stuart Blumberg, co-writer of The Kids Are All Right. It’s about sex addiction and it stars Gwyneth Paltrow but on Blumberg’s cred it deserves attention.
Frances Ha — a black-and-white film by Noah Baumbach, co-written by Greta Gerwig, who also stars.

Eagerly awaiting the Telluride lineup. So far, there is no sign of Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master,  Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty or any of the Big Oscar Movies.  Maybe Telluride will get their hands on some of those.