Friday, September 18, 2009

Ten Toronto Tidbits

The Toronto International Film Festival - where the Oscar season unofficially starts - has come to a close. This year wasn't really revolutionary. Most of the big hits already had a substantial amount of buzz going in. There were a few great bits to come out of the fest, though. Here are the ten headlines that I'm most excited about.

10. An Education still getting great reviews. Carey Mulligan is the one I'm most excited to see make the rounds this awards season.
9. Drew Barrymore can direct! Whip It debuts to positive reviews and is a commercial success. Not an awards contender, but it proves Barrymore is a fun new talent to watch behind the camera, and Ellen Page is one phenomenal young actress.
8. Chloe is greeted favorably. Amanda Seyfried is touted as an up-and-coming actress who is pleasantly surprising as a call girl hired to tempt a woman's philandering husband.
7. Mother & Child star Annette Bening is getting great reviews for her role as a woman who gave a child up for adoption when she was 14. Ten years after her acclaimed performance in American Beauty lost to Hilary Swank, and five years after her turn as Julia Lambert lost to Swank again, Bening could be up against her if she gets a nomination for Mother & Child and Swank scores a nod for Mira Nair's Amelia. If I were her I'd be packing heat at the Kodak, just in case.
6. Ricky Gervais's The Invention of Lying does well. I will always root for whatever Gervais does. Can someone please book this man to host the Oscars?
5. Up in the Air continues to bowl people over. I've got a good feeling about this one and director Jason Reitman. For some reason they're striking me as the film and director to beat, so far.
4. The Coens' A Serious Man was really the only featival takeoff. Lots of talk of the film being their most personal and best film to date.
3. Tom Ford's A Single Man, which recently won Colin Firth Best Actor in Venice, gets picked up by The Weinstein Company. Currently looking at a December 4th release date, it's looking to be the actor's first big awards vehicle.
2. Precious is not showing any signs of slowing down. It doesn't seem like anyone has a negative thing to say about it. While Mo'Nique drew most of the praise earlier this year at Sundance, it was Gabourey Sidibe stunning Toronto audiences. Both actresses now seem on track for Academy Award nominations next March.
1. Robert Duvall delivers another stunning performance in Get Low. His turn as a Tennessee hermit who throws his own funeral was the talk of the festival. The film hasn't found a distributor yet, but if it does we'll be looking at a Best Actor campaign for Duvall, which I'd love to see.

What were you most excited about in Toronto? What Toronto films are you most excited to catch this year? Any major disappointments?


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