Five Movies That Could Go from Toronto to Oscar

Although film festivals like Sundance, Venice, and Cannes have gradually been showing that they are strong indicators of the Awards season, there is still one definitive film festival when it comes to gauging the Oscar race – the Toronto International Film Festival (affectionately known as TIFF). In 2009, 4 films that played Toronto went on to receive Best Picture nominations at the Oscars, more than any other film festival (An Education, Precious, A Serious Man, Up in the Air). With this week’s announcement of the 2010 Toronto Film Festival lineup it got me pondering which films could be starting their Oscar campaign with a strong opening.

Five Movies That Could Go
from Toronto to Oscar

1) Another Year (Special Presentation)
Directed By: Mike Leigh

Last year 3 out of the 4 films that went  from Toronto to Oscar came out of Special Presentations including A Serious Man, An Education, and Up in the Air. This adult comedy from Mike Leigh received rave reviews at the Cannes Film Festival particularly for its excellent performances. Good buzz at Toronto could be just what it needs to turn it into a serious Oscar contender.

2) Miral (Special Presentation)
Directed By: Julian Schnabel

This is Schnabel’s third film to appear at the Toronto International Film Festival and each subsequent time he has inched closer to an Oscar nomination. He’s an incredibly talented director and it looks as though Miral might be his most accessible film and his most appealing to the Toronto crowd and possibly the Academy.

3) The King’s Speech (Gala Presentation)
Directed By: Tom Hooper

This period film will be getting its North American premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and positioning itself for a staggered release starting in late November. It sounds like the perfect trajectory for a great Oscar campaign that many Toronto Films are aiming to replicate. What gives this film the leg up is its fantastic cast including Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Michael Gambon, Guy Pearce.

4) Rabbit Hole (Special Presentation)
Directed By: John Cameron Mitchell

Unlike the Cannes Film Festival where they value the auteur over the star, the Toronto International Film Festival is all about the actors. This performance-driven film starring Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart, Dianne Wiest, and Sandra Oh could become a major contender if the acting is strong.

5) The Conspirator (Gala Presentation)
Directed By: Robert Redford

Interesting that The Conspirator will be opening at the Toronto International Film Festival instead of the Sundance Film Festival, which its director, Robert Redford, helped found. Redford won’t find any special favor in Toronto, which means if this potentially great film gets good reviews it could be destined for Oscar glory.

Keep in mind that TIFF can just as easily derail a film’s Oscar campaigns. Take a look at the 50+ entries in this year’s festival and let me know which ones you think are headed for Oscar glory.

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  • Personally, I can’t see most of these films placing on the list. I think they’ll end up missing out.

  • raguabros

    I agree with Duncan, none of these stands out. Miral’s trailer wasn’t the big deal. And Rabbit Hole may finish up being a Doubt or a Nine.

  • “Another Year” is going to make it, I think. The rest: who knows?

  • I agree on “Another Year”. That has potential to be something great, but there’s also the possibility that it won’t full register with viewers.

  • If I could make my predictions on films that could go from Toronto to Oscar, they’d be, in no specific order:

    -Another Year (Alex said it all)
    -Black Swan (If it’s Darren Aronofsky, there’s a good chance it’s a possibility)
    -Biutiful (I still have great faith in this project.)
    -Never Let Me Go (Not totally sure on this one, but I don’t have much to dislike about the trailers)
    -The Illusionist (Although it’s animated, it still makes my five because reviews have already backed it up.)

    I’m still not sure that many, if any of these films will snag a nomination. We’ll have to wait and see how it plays out.

  • Brandon Cooley

    I’m not sure if it’s at Toronto, but I’m predicting that Coen Brother’s True Grit will win Best Picture. I have a very good feeling about it.

  • I seriously doubt that. It’s way too early to predict a Best Picture winner, but at this point I’ll go with “Black Swan” or “Inception”.

  • Renard

    For the BP winner, I’d go with “TOY STORY 3”.

  • If that happens, I’d be thrilled (even though I think “Inception” is a better movie).

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