Toronto: Pitt’s ‘Moneyball’, Madonna’s ‘W.E.’, Clooney’s ‘The Ides Of March’ Make Cut
Stillman’s ‘Damsels In Distress’ To Close Venice
With today’s announcement of the 36th annual Toronto International Film Festival lineup (or at least the first phase of titles) and the imminent announcement Thursday of the Venice International Film Festival lineup, the buzzing about Oscar possibilities — at least as far as the all-important Fall Festival circuit is concerned — is off and running, even with five weeks to go before Venice and Telluride’s increasingly important Labor Day weekend festival get the six-month season off to its official launch. As for that latter fest, we will have to wait until Sept. 1, the day before it opens, to find out what potential Oscar goodies it might have in store.

There is indeed a pecking order in the way these announcements are made, and the reason Telluride does not go the splashy weeks-in-advance press conference route like Toronto (this year’s dates: Sept. 8-18) and Venice (Aug. 31-Sept. 10) do — as well as October’s New York Film Festival — is because it doesn’t mind keeping its lineup secret and not labeled as “World” or “North American” premieres in return for actually getting the movies and their filmmakers to attend the oh-so-cool movie geek fest (my fave) high in the Colorado mountains. Studios and distributors who participate in Telluride are sworn to secrecy as to their plans as usual (one publicist was even afraid to admit to me they weren’t going for fear of retribution), but that can’t keep us from some informed speculation which Oscar hopefuls will be making the trip there as well as to the other fests. Last year, you may recall Telluride was the first North American stop for The King’s Speech, 127 Hours and Black Swan among other big Oscar titles.

Strategies abound as to which festival is right for your film, and jockeying will continue long after these announcements and right up to festival time. A wrong decision can be deadly for a film’s potential marketing and awards campaign, which is why studios and distributors are so cautious about jumping into the early fall festival waters, particularly, as in many cases this year, where the film isn’t even scheduled until the holiday season. (more…)