5 Lessons From the Toronto Film Festival

Mon Sep 17, 2012 2:23pm EDT
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By Steve Pond

LOS ANGELES (TheWrap.com) - After 11 days, nearly 300 films and more than 1,000 screenings, the Toronto International Film Festival ended on Sunday with what was for TIFF a slow day: only about 85 public screenings, and none of the special press and industry screenings that filled out the calendar for most of the festival's duration.

Since opening on September 6, TIFF has showcased "7 Boxes" and "Seven Psychopaths" … a maker ("The Maker") and some murderers ("The Act of Killing") … clouds ("Cloud Atlas") and silver linings (the audience-award-winning "Silver Linings Playbook").

TheWrap was there for much of the festival, watching and talking and learning a few things about the movies, the deals and the impact on this year's awards race. Here are five things we learned in Toronto:

1. The Oscar picture is still cloudy.

Before the fall festivals, there were lots of question marks among films considered potential awards movies. "Argo," "The Master," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Anna Karenina," "Hyde Park on Hudson," "Cloud Atlas" and many more had yet to be seen, and all the great awards expectations were based on little real evidence.

Now they've all been seen, and some things are clear. "Argo" and "Silver Linings Playbook" are strong mainstream movies with terrific awards chances; "The Master" is artier and more challenging, but it should have plenty of passionate supporters within the Academy.

But do any of them look like frontrunners? "Argo" and "Silver Linings" may have that mantle at the moment, but the former is a thriller and the latter a comedy, neither of them genres with particularly strong Oscar track records.

Meanwhile, some serious contenders skipped Toronto, Telluride and Venice, and are still waiting in the wings. Ang Lee's "Life of Pi" and Robert Zemeckis' "Flight" will be unveiled at the New York Film Festival, while Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln," Tom Hooper's "Les Miserables," Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit," Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty," Gus Van Sant's "Promised Land" and Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" have yet to be released.   Continued...