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TIFF Oscar Scorecard: what this year’s fest tells us about next year’s Academy Awards

It’s still far too early for Oscar pools, but now that the big TIFF movies have screened, it’s high time to get in on the nomination prediction game. Festival buzz, of course, is often the most reliable forecast for Academy Award nominations: Monsieur Lazhar, Slumdog Millionaire and American Beauty are just a few of the films that made a big impression in Toronto before going on to collect Oscar gold. We break down which of the fest’s buzziest films seem bound for a nod come January.

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TIFF Talk

TIFF Press Conferences TIFF Talk

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TIFF PRESS CONFERENCE: Tom Hanks gets everyone laughing (and singing) at the Cloud Atlas presser

TIFF PRESS CONFERENCE: Cloud Atlas
Okay, first things first. The following four thousand people were in attendance at TIFF’s press conference for the epic sci-fi/fantasy spectacular Cloud Atlas: Actors Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Susan Sarandon, Jim Broadbent, Jim Sturgess, Doona Bae, Keith David, Ben Whishaw, Zhou Xun, James D’Arcy, David Gyasi and Hugh Grant, plus the film’s three directors, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski. Oh, and moderator Richard Crouse (the stage was so crowded he had to sit on the floor). It was Grant’s birthday, so Hanks opened the proceedings by leading a “Happy Birthday to Hugh” singalong. “Thank you!” Grant beamed. “That’s the first nice thing the press have done for me!” Grant’s snarking was one of the highlights. But, duh, the star of the show was Hanks, who proved again that he’s the nicest man in Hollywood, if not the whole entire world. (Even though he plays a bad guy, or three, in Cloud Atlas.)

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TIFF Talk

TIFF Red Carpet

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TIFF RED CARPET: The very long Cloud Atlas draws a suitably long list of stars

TIFF RED CARPET: The very long Cloud Atlas draws a suitably long list of stars

Cloud Atlas, based on David Mitchell’s expansive sci-fi tome, attempts nothing less than to prove the existence of love and reincarnation, all in a nine-hour (give or take) sci-fi drama set across time and space (okay, it’s 164 minutes). It’s ambitious, and faintly ludicrous. It also has some major stars, many of whom play several—up to six!—roles across the film’s numerous timelines. So the red carpet premiere was packed, to say the least. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Jim Broadbent, Susan Sarandon, Keith David, Doone Bae, Hugo Weaving, Ben Whishaw and, like, a half-dozen other stars appeared. (Sadly, Hanks arrived without any of the fun facial hair configurations he wears in the film.) Ubiquitous man-about-fest Joseph Gordon-Levitt (not actually in the film) dropped by too. The directing trio of Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski also padded out a red carpet marathon that, as long as it was, was still nowhere near as long as the very, very, very, very long Cloud Atlas.

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Tales from the Elgin, wherein we accidentally attend the premiere of Another Year

Another TIFF, Another Year. From left to right: Mike Leigh, Lesley Manville, Ruth Sheen, Jim Broadbent (Image: Karon Liu)

Sometimes a gala is so highly anticipated that it completely overshadows the preceding special screenings. Last year, while waiting for Precious, we inadvertently attended the gala for Chloe. This year, as we waited carpetside for Nicole Kidman to turn up for the premiere of Rabbit Hole, we were lucky enough to see Jim Broadbent get out of a black Escalade for the premiere of the British dramedy Another Year. The flick follows a middle-aged couple’s life and their circle of eccentric friends throughout the four seasons. It was directed by renowned realist Mike Leigh (Happy-Go-Lucky, Topsy-Turvy), who attended with actors Lesley Manville and Ruth Sheen.

TIFF Talk

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50 Buzziest TIFF Films: what to see, what to skip and how to slice through the hype

Tickets go on sale tomorrow for all the screenings at TIFF 2010, but with over 300 titles, guessing at what film is worth the money (and queuing) is as challenging as ever. Well, fear not: our guide cuts through the hype surrounding the 50 most anticipated flicks to reveal which films are likely to give the most bang for your buck.

See our picks and rejects »

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TIFF Talk

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Official TIFF guest list released: Jon Hamm, James Franco, Javier Bardem, Marion Cotillard, Will Ferrell and more

The young, the old and the fugly

Woot! Woot! The exhaustive official guest list for TIFF has been released (James Franco! Jon Hamm! Uma Thurman!), meaning we can finally provide a definitive stargazing guide to the fest. Here’s a quick primer. See the full list after the jump.

The acclaimed
Clint Eastwood, Robert Redford, Robert De Niro, Helen Mirren, Nicole Kidman, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Woody Allen, Catherine Deneuve, Harvey Keitel, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Spacey, Martin Sheen, William H. Macy, Catherine Keener

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TIFF announces 50 films starring awesome famous people who might come to Toronto

Robin Wright, shown here at TIFF last year, stars in Robert Redford's The Conspirator (Image: James Helmer)

Today’s edition of TIFF celebrity stalking is a little meatier, as co-directors Piers Handling and Cameron Bailey announced 50 films (15 galas, 35 special presentations, including 25 world premieres) and the whackitude of celebrities associated with them. We’ve got two Friends (Lisa Kudrow and David Schwimmer), the Gilmore Girls (Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel), the Mad Men man himself (Jon Hamm), Office favourite Rainn Wilson, the ever-intriguing Winona Ryder, plus Robert Redford, Woody Allen, Helen Mirren, Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem and more. This year might just top 2009’s Oprah-Clooney juggernaut appearances. Too lazy to go through the list? The lowdown, after the jump.

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TIFF 2009

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Celeb spotting warm-up 2: let the speculation begin (again)

Drew Barrymore, seen here with Corey Feldman at the 1989 Oscars, screens her directorial debut, Whip It, at TIFF '09 (Photo by Alan Light)

Drew Barrymore, seen here with Corey Feldman at the 1989 Academy Awards, screens her directorial debut, Whip It, at TIFF 2009 (Photo by Alan Light)

The titles of some of TIFF‘s films (and stars speculated to show up to promote them) have been announced over the past few days. They range from Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut—with a surprisingly star-studded, funny-lady cast—to Michael Moore’s latest documentary. The sequel to Todd Solondz’s Happiness (which we thought was unsequalable), the latest comedy by the Coen brothers and Werner Herzog’s new crime-fest will also be screened. A full run down of the latest flicks to be added to the Toronto International Film Festival schedule, after the jump.

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