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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.

Argo
Ben Affleck’
s thriller has been name-checked by just about everyone. Vanity Fair calls it the most universally beloved film at the fest, while the Washington Post hailed it as a “taut, superbly crafted film” that’ll surely attract Oscar attention. Indiewire listed it as a potential best picture contender, as did Canada.com and the Hollywood Reporter (which laid out the case pretty thoroughly). Even Roger Ebert jumped on the Best Picture bandwagon. This is pretty much a lock.

The Master
Chronicling the genesis of a new cult religion (which may or may not be inspired by Scientology), The Master is second only to Argo in terms of Oscar buzz in festival coverage. Variety notes “anyone would be surprised to see it absent come nominations day” and Vanity Fair and Indiewire both pick Joaquin Phoenix as “most likely to be a best actor contender.” The film also made Indiewire’s best picture list.

Silver Linings Playbook
The star-studded comedy-drama features Robert DeNiro, Bradley Cooper and Julia Stiles, but it-girl Jennifer Lawrence’s performance has awards-watchers in a tizzy (she was the second-youngest best actress nominee ever in 2010 for Winter’s Bone). Crowned “most likely to be a best actress contender” by Vanity Fair, Lawrence was touted as a frontrunner by Indiewire and the Hollywood Reporter too.

Cloud Atlas
Adapted from a cult novel that was reputed to be un-filmable, the multiple plots and special effects of the movie garnered Cloud Atlas plenty of early admiration (The New Yorker’s Aleksandar Hemon is a believer). Reviews of the screen adaptation have been mixed, to be sure, but Variety suggests the flick’s themes “are poised to capture the same Oscar vote that pushed Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close into the last Oscar finals” (whether that’s a good thing, we’re not sure). Canada.com believes Jim Broadbent’s various turns in the movie could also translate into a best actor nod.

Rust and Bone
Marion Cotillard has already collected an Academy Award as Édith Piaf in La Vie en rose, but Indiewire, Vanity Fair, the Washington Post and Canada.com all seem fairly confident she’ll get another nomination for her role as an orca whale trainer. The French-language flick could also have a shot at best foreign language film, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Hyde Park on Hudson
This one is just nutty enough to be possible. In 2003, Bill Murray got a best actor nod for his melancholy, nuanced portrayal of an aging actor in Lost in Translation (i.e., for playing a sad-sack version of himself). Most reviews of Hyde Park on Hudson are already lauding Murray’s take on Franklin Delano Roosevelt (even Conrad Black admitted that “Bill Murray is not as good an FDR as Ralph Bellamy in Sunrise at Campobello, but is better than most others there have been”), with The Daily Beast and Indiewire predicting a nod (and pretty much everyone is comparing the film to last year’s big winner The King’s Speech, what with both of them being costume dramas prominently featuring King George VI).

Toronto pics line up for awards season [Variety]
2012 Toronto International Film Festival Superlatives [Vanity Fair]
In Toronto, the Oscar campaign starts in earnest [Washington Post]
2013 Oscar Predictions [Indiewire]
TIFF 2012: Love from around the world for film fest [Toronto Star]
Inside the Early Awards Race: ‘Argo,’ ‘The Master,’ ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ Among Contenders [The Hollywood Reporter]
• Oscar buzz hovering over TIFF [Canada.com]

(Images: film stills, TIFF; Academy Award statuette, Jamie McCarthy/WireImage/Getty Images)

 

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