Lion, starring Dev Patel, Rooney Mara and Nicole Kidman got a nice boost in Toronto. Described by many as a tearjerker and a crowd-pleaser all at once, the film got a standing ovation. The coverage, from Anne Thompson to Greg Ellwood was framed around Harvey Weinstein being “back.” That might be because The Weinstein Co did not get a Best Picture nomination last year. That’s the whole dry spell. One year. Their Best Picture streak as follows:
2014 – The Imitation Game
2013 – Philomena
2012 – Django Unchained
2011 – The Artist (won)
2010 – The King’s Speech (won)
2009 – Inglourious Basterds
2008 – The Reader
And their reign as Miramax:
2002 – Chicago (won), Gangs of New York
2001 – In the Bedroom
2000 – Chocolat
1999 – The Cider House Rules
1998 – Shakespeare in Love (won)
1997 – Good Will Hunting
1996 – The English Patient (won)
There is a reason we call him the Oscar Whisperer. But one missed year is not that big a thing, right? Either way, it looks like Lion will put Harvey Weinstein and The Weinstein Co. back in the Best Picture game, if the reception in Toronto is any indication. Nicole Kidman seems strong for a supporting nod, and Dev Patel probably is strongly in the running for a Best Actor nomination.
Sully wasn’t at Toronto but it definitely got a big boost with a $35 million opening weekend. With an A from Cinemascore and rave reviews in the New York and LA Times, Sully looks to be a solid Warner Bros player for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director for the 86-year-old Clint Eastwood.
While the film itself wasn’t seen, a sneak peak of footage was offered and that was enough from a publicity standpoint to keep it in the minds of voters. Lead performance of Taraji P. Henson and supporting for Octavia Spencer seem the most likely nominations outside of a Best Picture nod.
Birth of a Nation
While the film received a standing ovation, the film’s fate remains unclear. Probably it looks like the film could recover in terms of making money at the box office, but in terms of the Oscar race it’s caught in a place where there are still prominent people in the media who are continuing to protest the film’s success in any regard. Needless to say, AwardsDaily disagrees with this kind of punishment. It seems absurd to me to down an entire film and elbow aside the history of Nat Turner because of a accusation and trial from 17 years ago. Still, it’s hard to see where this film and the dozens of talented people who made it will fit by year’s end.
Moonlight and Arrival
Both films continue to dazzle audiences and have only gained momentum in Toronto, setting them up to be major players, along with La La Land, Loving and Manchester by the Sea.
Not in Toronto but in Venice, Natalie Portman’s performance as Jackie Onassis is apparently good enough to push her into the top five. Right now, there are four strong performances vying for Best Actress. Emma Stone, who won in Venice and becomes a force to be reckoned with, Ruth Negga in Loving, Amy Adams in Arrival and now, Natalie Portman in Jackie. Depending on how we look at it, that might mean there is only one spot open and many many names that might get in.
There are several docs that got a boost in Toronto: Amanda Knox; The Ivory Game about elephant poaching; Before the Flood, produced by Leonardo DiCaprio.
Looks like Sing will now join the list of frontrunners, with talent like Matthew McConaughey Reese Witherspoon Scarlett Johansson and Jennifer Hudson.