So what have we learned so far from the dual unfoldings of the Venice and Telluride film festivals? Neither has ended, of course, and there are always different perspectives and views, of course, and no one senses finality, of course, but here’s a stab:
At today’s Sunday panel at Telluride Film Festival (l. to r.): Real-life arm-slice guy Aron Ralston, 127 Hours director Danny Boyle, James Franco, moderator Annette Insdorf, The Way Back director Peter Weir, Werner Herzog. (Photo by Glenn Zoller)
(a) Darren Aronofsky‘s Black Swan may or may not be more of a favorite among impassioned dweeb critics (i.e., the Guy Lodge contingent) than a staunchly consensus-propelled Best Picture contender, but red-eyed Natalie Portman is apparently close to the front of the pack for a Best Actress nomination.
(b) Danny Boyle‘s 127 Hours is a very possible Best Picture contender, and James Franco is looking like a close-to-locked Best Actor contender…maybe. Depending on visceral reactions to the red-arm factor.
(c) Tom Hooper‘s The King’s Speech is an audience-pleaser and an awards contender. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush are looking at possible acting award noms. “No doubt Harvey’s already got one of the ten Best Picture slots locked up for this,” Deadline’s Pete Hammond wrote yesterday.
(d) Mark Romanek‘s Never Let Me Go is apparently going to encounter divided reactions, half of them having kitten litters in the David Poland mode (“masterpiece”) and half of them saying “but why don’t they rebel or run for it?” in the Kris Tapley-Anthony Breznican-Roger Moore-ish view of things.
(e) A consensus is forming that Peter Weir‘s The Way Back, which many if not most critics admired or at least respected, needs to be at least platform-released at the end of 2010. Newmarket is reportedly planning to release the survival drama in early 2011 without any kind of minimal awards-qualifying release in late 2010. (And why, by the way, isn’t The Way Back showing at Toronto?)
(f) Sofia Coppola‘s Somewhere, generally regarded as a minor effort compared to Lost in Translation, is out of the awards game altogether (although Stephen Dorff‘s performance is the best career move he’s managed in a very long time).
(g) Errol Morris‘ Tabloid has a better-than-decent shot to finish as one of the five Best Feature Documentary nominees…maybe.
(h) Shlomi Eldar‘s Precious Life, “the agonizing story of a young Gaza woman who goes to an Israeli hospital to save the life of her five month old son Muhammad suffering from the same genetic disease that took the lives of her other two children,” may also become a Best Feature Doc contender by way of the industry factor.
(i) No one is going to pay any attention to Kelly Reichardt‘s Meek’s Cutoff, in part because Meek’s Cutoff is one of the worst movie titles ever imagined by anyone in the history of dramatic presentation. I mean, it’s worse that Winter’s Bone.