Thursday, August 29, 2013

What will the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals mean for this Years Oscar Hopefuls?

At this point numerous films are being shown, some for the first time, some as repeats from Cannes at both the Venice and Telluride Film Festivals.  How do both of these festivals shape the Oscar crystal ball?  One thing is for sure, both festivals now provide a huge boost for strong contenders to gain even more momentum.

Venice Film Festival

Here is a graph from Wikipedia on the winners from the 2000s:
2000The Circle (Dayereh)Jafar Panahi* Iran
2001Monsoon WeddingMira Nair India/ United States/ Italy/ France/* Germany
2002The Magdalene SistersPeter Mullan Ireland
2003The Return (Vozvrashcheniye)Andrey Zvyagintsev* Russia
2004Vera DrakeMike Leigh United Kingdom
2005Brokeback MountainAng Lee United States
2006Still Life (Sanxia haoren)Jia Zhangke China
2007Lust, Caution (Se, jie)Ang Lee United States/ China/ Taiwan
2008The WrestlerDarren Aronofsky United States
2009LebanonSamuel Maoz* Israel
2010SomewhereSofia Coppola United States
2011FaustAlexander Sokurov Russia
2012PietàKim Ki-duk* South Korea
What this graph tells Oscarologists, and film lovers all over is that winning the Golden Lion (Best Picture) may mean nothing.  Only one film in the last 12 years went on to be nominated for Best Picture, it did not win, and that was Brokeback Mountain in 2005.  Vera Drake scored 3 big nominations, Director, Actress, and Screenplay in 2004, and in 2008 The Wrestler scored two nominations for Actor, and Supporting Actress.  The rest of the films made no impact.

Venice has always been a bit of a wild card, with films in and out of competition, The Master received a significant Oscar bump, but nothing else made the mark.  In 2011 films like Shame, Ides of March, and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy all started their trek to Oscar at Venice, but most of them were regulated to smaller categories.

One thing about Venice, and its impact this year is that you can be sure the reviews for Gravity will help spark even more interest, and that the film is on a rocket to mass critical support, the film is also going to be screening at Telluride.

Telluride Film Festival

The beauty about this film festival, is that the line-up is announced mere days before the actual festival, which builds the anticipation.  After seeing this year's line-up I am certain that many of the films will be in contention for numerous Oscar categories, but how has this festival impacted Oscar? One word, Argo.

Last year's Best Picture winner received thunderous applause at Telluride, and it was then that many Oscar pundits predicted it would not only be a contender for Best Picture, but also the front runner to win the big prize, and they were right.  These festivals are becoming more and more important with regard to setting that strong original buzz, and making films stand out.  Amour was the other major film which continued the festival march here after Cannes.

This year's line-up has a lot of buzz attached, with Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis (both Cannes films), then there is All is Lost, Labor Day, Blue is the Warmest Color, The Past, The Invisible Woman, and once again Gravity.

This line-up is stacked with prestige from great directors, and will launch numerous, acting, screenplay, and technical nominations, but which of these films listed above will make Picture, and Director?  I am excited to hear the buzz, but together these festivals prove that you have to start fast to get your name out there otherwise you may never hit the ground running.

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