In his 9.3 assessment of the growing influence of Telluride Film Festival and the gradual concurrent diminishment of the Toronto and Venice gatherings, Peter Debruge states that coverage of Telluride by Oscar-focused columnists like myself has been a game-changer. The obvious implication is that impassioned jottings by Hollywood Elsewhere, Deadline‘s Pete Hammond, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg, Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone, Indiewire‘s Anne Thompson, Rope of Silicon‘s Brad Brevet, Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil and Vulture‘s Kyle Buchanan have become a highly significant factor in the awards race. Thank you. Noted.

“Until 2006, only four best picture winners had debuted at film festivals: Annie Hall (Filmex), Chariots of Fire (Cannes), The Last Emperor (Tokyo) and American Beauty (Toronto),” Debruge summarizes. “Since then, four of the five most recent Oscar winners — Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, The Artist and Argo — were featured in Telluride. (Of that group, only The Artist wasn’t a world premiere.) Those same pics also screened less than a week later at the press-heavy Toronto film festival, which can also claim the world premieres of American Beauty, Crash and The Hurt Locker, though losing premiere status to Telluride severely limits Toronto’s bragging rights.

“Why? For starters, Telluride counts a hefty number of Academy voters among its regular attendees, whereas Toronto is geared toward film buyers and the Canadian public. Suddenly, a new kind of journalist started flocking to Telluride. Let’s call them the Oscar pundits: a mix of columnists and bloggers obsessed with handicapping the Academy Awards. Thanks to them, the coverage of Telluride exploded virtually overnight.”