The Judge looks to be on track to land in the Oscar race, as its positioning at TIFF makes abundantly clear. It stars Robert Duvall and Robert Downey, Jr. The film looks interesting to me but for some reason it doesn’t have the “cool factor” attached to it. That’s fine, though. It doesn’t need really need that if it’s aiming for the Oscar race. It only needs either decent to great reviews or the ability to bypass the critics entirely and go straight to the people/voters, like The Blind Side. One of its biggest problems, Oscar wise, is the director isn’t anyone people know. The job will then be to up his status in the tribe.


The Toronto International Film Festival today announced that David Dobkin’s The Judge will open the 2014 Festival on Thursday, September 4. From Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures, the Big Kid Pictures/Team Downey production stars Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong, Dax Shepard and Billy Bob Thornton.

Big city lawyer Hank Palmer (Downey Jr.) returns to his childhood home where his estranged father (Duvall), the town’s judge, is suspected of murder. Hank sets out to discover the truth, and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

“The stars aligned and we are thrilled to announce that we will kick off the Festival with The Judge,” said Piers Handling, Director and CEO, TIFF. “David Dobkin has delivered a moving, textured story about family, duty and the way we remember our past. We couldn’t have asked for a better start to this year’s event.”

“I brought my first film, Clay Pigeons, to Toronto, so 15 years later to actually be on opening night with The Judge is incredibly special and thrilling,” Dobkin stated. “The Festival audiences are terrific, and I know I speak for everyone involved in the film when I say we are so pleased to be unveiling it there.”

“We always want to deliver for our audience and we can’t think of a better way than kicking things off with The Judge,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director for the Toronto International Film Festival. “Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall are terrific in the film, and David Dobkin guides the entire cast to rich, satisfying performances.”

Sue Kroll, President Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, said, “We are so proud to be taking The Judge to TIFF, and honored to be in the opening night slot. The film is truly deserving and we believe the always-discerning audience in Toronto will appreciate it as much as we do.”