Magazine article Screen International

Strong Titles in Telluride, Venice Signal Big Competition

Magazine article Screen International

Strong Titles in Telluride, Venice Signal Big Competition

Article excerpt

There have been a lot of rave reviews at the autumn festivals so far, before we even get to Toronto.

Telluride and Venice have each had especially strong years, without any real duds so far - signaling a very crowded playing field for awards season.

In Telluride, Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave was the most triumphant, and Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners also went down a storm. British indie Starred Up also earned raves (it hasn't confirmed a US distributor yet). Slave now looks like a major contender across all major categories including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor).

In Venice, Gravity, Philomena, Tracks and Locke were among the standouts.

Gravity should be a lock for a best picture nom, and includes an especially strong performance from Sandra Bullock, as well as likely landing best director recognition for this long-simmering passion project from Alfonso Cuaron. Its crafts categories contention should be very strong.

Philomena will be a shoe-in for a nomination for Judi Dench as Best Actress. This will be a crowdpleaser along the lines of The King's Speech, and is better directed than that film so Frears could be in the mix for Best Director. I'd also like to see Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope's script get a nod.

Tracks also played well in Venice, and was quickly acquired by The Weinstein Company. Even in a competitive year for Best Actress, Mia Wasikowska could make the cut for her first grown-up leading lady role. The cinematography also deserves recognition. …

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