The last 48 hours of the Toronto International Film Festival produced another full crop of potential awards-baiting films. Here’s what has Oscar watchers buzzing up here.
Silver Linings Playbook Along with Argo, David O. Russell’s family study is the one film that’s attracted the most Oscar buzz so far. Uproariously funny and surprisingly moving as well, this is a character piece that hits all the right notes and should be a home run with the Academy. I could easily see nominations for Best Picture, actor (Bradley Cooper), actress (Jennifer Lawrence), and supporting actor (Robert De Niro) along with dual citations for Russell for writing and directing.
The Sessions After its successful Sundance debut (where it was called The Surrogate), John Hawkes and Helen Hunt’s sexually frank drama played here to wonderful response. Hawkes (in the lead category) and Hunt (in supporting) seem like sure bets for nominations, and their strong buzz could even help the film become a Best Picture contender.
The Impossible In the vein of 127 Hours, J.A. Bayona’s film about a family who survives the 2004 Thailand tsunami is harrowing and ultimately inspiring. Naomi Watts is a worthy Best Actress candidate for her physically demanding performance, while her on-screen husband Ewan McGregor could factor into the supporting actor race for his quieter but nonetheless effective turn.
Quartet I completely fell in love with Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut about a group of retired opera singers (including Maggie Smith and Billy Connolly) who live in a retirement home for musicians. The Weinstein Co. has its hands full this season, but if it puts the entire cast in supporting, then Smith and Connolly could have an outside shot.
Amour Michael Haneke’s Cannes-winning drama about an aging Parisian couple will be a top foreign-language competitor for sure. And his 85-year-old leading lady Emmanuelle Riva gives such a heartbreaking performance as a stroke victim that she could become the oldest Best Actress nominee in history.
The Perks of Being A Wallflower Kudos to novelist Stephen Chbosky for adapting his beloved book into a terrific film that will bring hope to an entire generation of teenage misfits. Best Adapted Screenplay is always a tough category, but Chbosky deserves to be considered.
Cloud Atlas Here’s the real wild card of the season, which (full disclosure) I haven’t been able to see yet. But for everyone who calls the film visionary, there’s someone else who thinks it’s too strange. I will have to reserve judgment until I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
Seven Psychopaths Obviously a film with a title like this probably isn’t destined for Oscar glory. But if the always underappreciated Sam Rockwell isn’t recognized with a Golden Globe nod for Best Actor in a Comedy for his priceless performance, it would be criminal.
Dave on Twitter: @davekarger