Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri Wins Top Prize at TIFF

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Martin McDonagh’s, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri took home the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday. It beat out other favorites like The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, and Stronger. I, Tonya was first runner-up and Call Me by Your Name was second runner-up.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri stars Frances McDormand as a mother who becomes frustrated by the police’s progress in her daughter’s murder that she rents out three billboards with a message for the town’s police. Also starring Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell, the film has already received significant Oscar buzz since its premiere at TIFF.

Fourteen of TIFF’s Audience Award winners have gone on to become Best Picture nominees since 1978, including last year’s La La Land. Five of the prize winners ended up winning Best Picture, Chariots of Fire, American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, and 12 Years a Slave.

The last time a movie won the TIFF Audience Award but failed to earn a Best Picture nomination was Where Do We Go Now in 2010.  Three Billboards now gets a major publicity boost and joins the Oscar buzz conversation.

List of TIFF winners:

People’s Choice: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Martin McDonagh (Runner-up: I, Tonya, Craig Gillespie. Second runner-up: Call Me By Your Name, Luca Guadagnino)

Midnight Madness: Bodied, Joseph Kahn (Runner-up: The Disaster Artist, James Franco)

Documentary: Faces Places, Agnès Varda, JR (Runner-up: Long Time Running, Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier)

Best Canadian Short Film: Pre-Drink, Marc-Antoine Lemire

Best Short Film: Min börda, Niki Lindroth von Bahr

Best Canadian First Feature: Luk’Luk’I, Wayne Wapeemukwa

Best Canadian Feature Film: Les Affamés, Robin Aubert

Toronto Platform Prize: Sweet Country, Warwick Thornton

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Oscar Bloggers Disagree About Battle of the Sexes

Sasha Stone at Awards Daily recently wrote about her thoughts on the Oscar race coming out of the Telluride Film Festival. She wrote,

The films that seem very likely to fill up the Best Picture slate, of those that have been seen, I would rank this way:

1 Battle of the Sexes
2 Dunkirk
3 Darkest Hour
4 The Shape of Water
5 Call Me by Your Name
6 Get Out
7 Lady Bird
8 Hostiles
9 Downsizing
10 First They Killed My Father

Battle of the Sexes at number 1? I took this to mean that Stone was currently predicting it as the Oscar front runner. Knowing that Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere was not a huge fan of the film, I asked him his thoughts?

You can see by the WHAT???? response that he was perplexed. He proceeded to write the following post on Hollywood Elsewhere:

So I either completely misunderstood Stone’s list with Battle of the Sexes as number one or she backpedaled. She posted this on her website the following day:

Someone texted me this morning about a movie I’d written about yesterday, Battle of the Sexes, and how I’d said it COULD win Best Picture, not that it WOULD win Best Picture. The blowback was odd. I think right now from those films we’ve seen already, there are a handful that COULD win: Dunkirk, Darkest Hour, Battle of the Sexes. At this time last year, I left Telluride saying Moonlight COULD win Best Picture, along with La La Land and Manchester by the Sea. COULD win is different from WILL win. The same person who texted me this morning about Battle of the Sexes said the exact same thing about Moonlight last year. Almost word for word.

Now if you were me, what were your reaction to that be? Mean: “don’t you tell me my business again.” Or politely brusque: “Thanks but… no thanks.” Or: “you were wrong last year and have been wrong every year except one so why should I listen to you?” Any of those would probably do. I simply told him that after last year I will no longer listen to people who tell me no. After all, many said Arrival would not be an Oscar thing. How could they possibly know that so early?

Either way Battle of the Sexes is not likely to be a BP nominee. Emma Stone may get another Best Actress nomination, but the competition in the Actress category is full of much stronger performances.

Downsizing Gets a Trailer

When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to overpopulation, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures.

Doesn’t look to be an Oscar contender at this point. Review out of TIFF were mixed to say the least. Currently has a 70% Rotten Tomatoes score.

Downsizing opens December 22nd.

The Shape of Water Wins Top Prize at Venice

The Shape of Water, director Guillermo del Toro’s romantic fantasy about the attraction between a mute cleaner and n aquatic creature, won the Golden Lion for best film at this year’s Venice Film Festival.

The Shape of Water was hailed by critics when it played on the festival’s second day and stayed the front runner for the awards throughout the festival.

“I believe in life, I believe in love and I believe in cinema,” said del Toro as he accepted his award to a standing ovation.

The Shape of Water opens December 8th.

Complete list of Venice Film Festival Winners

Golden Lion: “The Shape of Water,” Guillermo del Toro
Grand Jury Prize: “Foxtrot,” Samuel Maoz
Silver Lion for Best Director: Xavier Legrand, “Custody”
Volpi Cup for Best Actress: Charlotte Rampling, “Hannah”
Volpi Cup for Best Actor: Kamel El Basha, “The Insult”
Best Screenplay: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Martin McDonagh
Special Jury Prize: “Sweet Country,” Warwick Thornton
Marcello Mastroianni Award for Young Performer: Charlie Plummer, “Lean on Pete”

HORIZONS 
Best Film: “Nico, 1988,” Susanna Nicchiarelli
Best Director: Vahid Jalilvand, “No Date, No Signature”
Special Jury Prize: “Caniba,” Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Best Actress: Lyna Khoudri, “Les bienheureux”
Best Actor: Navid Mohammadzadeh, “No Date, No Signature”
Best Screenplay: “Oblivion Verses,” Dominique Wellinski and Rene Ballesteros
Best Short Film: “Gros chagrin,” Céline Devaux

LION OF THE FUTURE
Luigi De Laurentiis Award for Best Debut Film: “Custody,” Xavier Legrand

VENICE CLASSIC
Best Documentary on Cinema: “The Prince and the Dybbuk,” Elvira Niewiera and Piotr Rosolowski
Best Restored Film: “Come and See”

Lady Bird Gets a Trailer

Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut had its world premiere at Telluride last week. Good reviews all around. Especially for the cast which besides Ronan includes, Laurie Metcalf, Lucas Hedges and Timothee Chalamet.

Lady Bird stars Saoirse Ronan as Christine McPherson a rebellious student at a conservative Catholic Sacramento high school who wants to escape her family and small town constraints to go to college in New York.

We could be looking at a Best Picture nom, Best Actress, Director and SAG ensemble when its all said and done.

Lady Bird is in Theaters November 10th.

Was Best Picture Shown at Telluride?

The Telluride Film festival wrapped up on Monday. Telluride is an important, but not necessary place to get your movie started in the Oscar race. The Co-Director of the festival, Julie Hunstsinger told Vanity Fair that Telluride does not care about the Oscars. They may not care, but eight Best Picture winners in the last 10 years made their North American debut here. Including last year’s winner, Moonlight.

Reviews for the festival have been mixed. From best selection in a long time to one of the worst. Here is breakdown of the major movies that played Telluride and how they fared. I have included their Rotten Tomatoes and/or Metacritic scores if applicable.

Battle of the Sexes: Sasha Stone at Awards Daily put this one at the top of her list as the Oscar frontrunner right now. I asked Jeff Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere if he agreed. He only responded with “WHAT??”. The reviews are mixed but mostly positive for Emma Stone’s performance as Billie Jean King. This puts her in contention for Best Actress. (yes, another year of Emma Stone).
Rotten Tomatoes: 83%
Metacritic Score: Not yet published

Darkest Hour: Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Being called a companion to Dunkirk and a sequel to The King’s Speech. This is the type of film that gets a Best Picture nomination. True story and very strong portrayal of a real life person. Look for Gary Oldman on Oscar night.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Metacritic Score: 81

Downsizing: Something about Matt Damon who plays a guy who wishes he could shrink himself. I haven’t seen a good review, but scores high on RT and Metacritic. Probably not an Oscar contender, but high scores give it some hope.
Rotten Tomatoes: 88%
Metacritic Score: 84

First They Killed My Father: Angelina Jolie loves making torture films. This one is about a human rights activist and her attempt to survive the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. The Academy has yet to embrace Netflix films. They are going to have to eventually.
Rotten Tomatoes: Not yet published
Metacritic Score: Not yet published

Hostiles: Very strong performance from Christian Bale who escorts a Native American Chief across “hostile territory”. Typical western fare, but this one puts Bale in the Best Actor conversation.
Rotten Tomatoes: Not yet published
Metacritic Score: Not yet published

Lady Bird: Greta Gerwig with her first directorial debut. Big props being payed to Saoirse Ronan as the lead. Another Best Actress contender as well as Best Picture.
Rotten Tomatoes: Not yet published
Metacritic Score: Not yet published

The Shape of Water: From master storyteller Guillermo del Toro, a fairy tale set in 1963. Elisa played brilliantly by Sally Hawkins works by herself in a high-security government building. She discovers a secret experiment and her life is changed forever. Hawkins has been mentioned as a Best Actress contender and the film as a Best Picture contender. Although the RT and Metacritic scores are high, there have been some not so positive reviews. This one may be too divisive to win, but may get the nomination.
Rotten Tomatoes: 100%
Metacritic Score: 92

Wonderstruck: Todd Haynes follow up to Carol, follows 2 children who wish their lives were different. Much like Carol, every shot of Wonderstruck could be a picture in itself. MIght be good for a Cinematography nomination, but reviews have not been very strong.
Rotten Tomatoes: 71%
Metacritic Score: 74

If the Telluride streak continues, one of the movies above will be this year’s Best Picture winner. Maybe Darkest Hour or The Shape of Water. Battles of the Sexes is a possibility. Its too rearly to know much of anything. We still have Dunkirk, Call Me by Your Name, The Post and mother! out there. If anyone tells you they know how the Oscar race is going to go, they are lying.

Telluride Film Festival Announces Line-up


Some major Oscar contenders will play at Telluride beginning on Friday. Reviews will make or break these movies

The 2017 Telluride Film Festival runs Sept. 1-4. Full lineup below.

MAIN PROGRAM
“Arthur Miller: Writer” (d. Rebecca Miller, U.S., 2017)

“Battle of the Sexes” (d. Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton, U.S., 2017)

“Darkest Hour” (d. Joe Wright, U.K., 2017)

“Downsizing” (d. Alexander Payne, U.S., 2017)

“Eating Animals” (d. Christopher Quinn, U.S., 2017)

“Faces Places” (d. Agnes Varda, JR, France, 2017)

“A Fantastic Woman” (d. Sebastián Lelio, Chile-U.S.-Germany-Spain, 2017)

“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” (d. Paul McGuigan, U.K., 2017)

“First Reformed” (d. Paul Schrader, U.S., 2017)

“First They Killed My Father” (d. Angelina Jolie, U.S.-Cambodia, 2017)

“Foxtrot” (d. Samuel Maoz, Israel, 2017)

“Hostages” (d. Rezo Gigineishvili, Georgia-Russia-Poland, 2017)

“Hostiles” (d. Scott Cooper, U.S., 2017)

“Human Flow” (d. Ai Weiwei, U.S.-Germany, 2017)

“The Insult” (d. Ziad Doueiri, France-Lebanon, 2017)

“Lady Bird” (d. Greta Gerwig, U.S., 2017)

“Land of the Free” (d. Camilla Magid, Denmark-Finland, 2017)

“Lean on Pete” (d. Andrew Haigh, U.K.-U.S., 2017)

“Loveless” (d. Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia-France-Belgium-Germany, 2017)

“Love, Cecil” (d. Lisa Immordino Vreeland, U.S., 2017)

“Loving Vincent” (d. Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman, U.K.-Poland, 2017)

“A Man of Integrity” (d. Mohammad Rasoulof, Iran, 2017)

“The Other Side of Hope” (d. Aki Kaurismäki, Finland, 2017)

“The Rider” (d. Chloé Zhao, U.S., 2017)

“The Shape of Water” (d. Guillermo del Toro, U.S., 2017)

“Tesnota” (d. Kantemir Balagov, Russia, 2017)

“The Venerable W.” (d. Barbet Schroeder, France-Switzerland, 2017)

“The Vietnam War” (d. Ken Burns, Lynn Novick, U.S., 2017)

“Wormwood” (d. Errol Morris, U.S., 2017)

“Wonderstruck” (d. Todd Haynes, U.S., 2017)