Eccentric and intemperate as this sounds, I’m going to London for three days next weekend in order to catch a BFI London Film Festival debut on Sunday, 10.20 of John Lee Hancock‘s Saving Mr. Banks — presumed to be a major factor in the awards race (certainly in terms of performances). This will be the first time it’ll be shown to critics. Two and a half weeks later it’ll open L.A.’s AFI Film Festival on 11.7 and then open commercially on 12.13, but it’ll be fair game eight days from now. Disney (which is very high on the film) will be screening it next week for select Los Angeles elites (but not critics). I get their strategy. They want the presumably positive reviews and the buzz to start with the AFI debut, and that’s fine. I haven’t been to London for a few years…what the hell. I’ve been in the tank for Kelly Marcel‘s screenplay for months, and I totally respect Hancock for his special touch. I even liked The Alamo.