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Continued: At Toronto film fest, Oscars buzz gets underway

  • Article by: COLIN COVERT , Star Tribune
  • Last update: September 20, 2013 - 3:31 PM

The last decade’s TIFF People’s Choice Awards went to the best picture winners “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The King’s Speech,” the midrange hits “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Precious” and minor entries “Where Do We Go Now?” “Hotel Rwanda,” “Bella,” “Eastern Promises,” “Tsotsi” and “Zatoichi.”

Oscars are five months off

Whether McQueen’s harrowing film can retain its lead over the next 3½ months of Oscar campaigning remains to be seen. There are 14 opening weekends before year’s end. And history shows that’s plenty of time for today’s front-runner to become an Oscar-night also-ran.

In recent years Academy voters have favored lighter fare such as “The King’s Speech,” “The Artist” and “Argo” over weightier pictures such as “Lincoln,” “The Social Network” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

What’s more, potent challengers are waiting in the wings. Alfonso Cuaron’s 3-D astronaut survival thriller “Gravity” also was met rapturously by Toronto audiences, who cheered its next-generation special effects and relentless, nerve-shredding jeopardy. The Somali piracy drama “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks, opens the New York Film Festival on Sept. 27. Director Paul Greengrass (“United 93”) is in relentlessly pulse-pounding form here, leaving no doubt that his film will be a major contender.

Also in the race is “Inside Llewyn Davis,” the Coen brothers’ sendup of beardy 1960s folk-music types, which won the grand prize at Cannes. Multiple Oscar winner George Clooney wrote, directs and heads the cast of the World War II epic “Monuments Men,” about stealing art back from the Nazis. And don’t count out Martin Scorsese’s darkly comic “The Wolf of Wall Street” with Leonardo DiCaprio as a bad-boy tycoon, or David O. Russell’s con-man caper “American Hustle,” with Christian Slater, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.

The Oscar race is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s five months until the last envelope will be ripped open on the stage of the Dolby Theater. What will be remembered then is the last person standing on Hollywood’s red carpet, not who made the best impression on Toronto in September.


Colin Covert • 612-673-7186

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