Last night Deadline‘s Michael Fleming reported that Alexander Payne‘s The Holdovers, a low-key, Christmas-themed ensemble comedy with Paul Giamatti as “a disliked curmudgeonly teacher” at an elite New England private school, will be screened this weekend for distributors and marketers in Toronto.

The Holdovers “isn’t officially on the for-sale lists,” Fleming wrote, “but I expect it to be a big deal. And it’s very possible that one of the usual suspects will step up and put this film [into] the awards season race late in the year.”

The film’s Wiki page says Miramax is the distributor but maybe they’re looking to partner with someone or negotiate a hand-off of some kind,

The Holdovers began shooting in Massachusetts on 1.27.22. A seemingly finished version of Payne’s film was research-screened in Santa Monica on Thursday, 8.11, and was well received, I’m told, as a “return to form.” I’ve been presuming all along that it won’t emerge until Cannes 2023 at the earliest, but why show it to distributors during TIFF ’22 if there isn’t at least a willingness to consider an end-of-the-year opening?

Here’s hoping that the celebrated creator of Election, About Schmidt, Sideways, Citizen Ruth, The Descendants and Nebraska is back in that deliciously wise, character-driven groove that we’ve all come to associate with Payneworld and whom we all love and cherish despite the disappointment with Downsizing…here’s hoping that the Payne flag will soon rise again, rippling in the wind at the top of the smarthouse flagpole.