One of the greatest joys of the film festival summer season is watching the Oscar chances of brilliant films soar — and laughing hysterically while the dreams of others are shattered.
The Toronto International Film Festival ended on Sunday and the Venice Film Festival beckoned arrivedci the week before. So at this point, critics and pundits have looked at almost every Oscar with hope.
There are only two holdovers that could bring the Hollywood frenzy to a halt: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is out November 11 and Avatar: The Way of Water is out December 16 — two big-budget sequels by extremely popular films that previously received Best Picture nods.
Aside from Pandora and Wakanda, however, the field is pretty much settled.
The film to beat now is Steven Spielberg’s semi-autobiographical The Fabelmans, which won the all-important Audience Award at TIFF on Sunday. Recent Best Picture winners, Nomadland and Green Book, have also walked with this grand prize in the past, and it almost always means at least one Best Picture nomination. The Fabelmans is extraordinary, moving, funny, nostalgic and unlike most award-winning films these days, it will actually appeal to mainstream audiences. Spielberg might even walk away with his first Best Director Oscar since 1999’s Saving Private Ryan.
However, with so much early excitement, there’s a chance voters will tire of Steve by March.
His next competitor is Martin McDonagh’s (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) hilarious The Banshees of Inisherin, starring Brendan Gleeson and Colin Farrell, which delivers some of his best work. He’s sure to get a Best Actor spot; The film is nominated for Best Picture, Screenplay and Director for the Overqualified McDonagh. Yet my instinct tells me it’s too small to go all the way.
Over in Venizia Netflix flopped and flopped and flopped some more.
The streamer — which usually does pretty well, if not wins, with Oscar nominations — debuted three Oscar-baiting films in Italy: Alejandro Iñárritu’s Bardo, Noah Baumbach’s White Noise, and The Hard – See Marilyn Monroe fan fiction “Blonde” with a very good Ana de Armas.
No one splashed in the Venice Lagoon. Some fell and burned.
That’s especially true (and shockingly so) for Bardo, Iñárritu’s film that many critics loathed. He’s won the best director award two years in a row – for “The Revenant” and “Birdman” – but this time he’s pretty much out of the conversation.
As far as actresses go, a big question is where will Michelle Williams end up? Many suspect Best Supporting Actress, even though her role in The Fabelmans is huge. But that’s better than going up against Cate Blanchett in “Tar,” who has garnered universal acclaim for another uncompromising, sinister-eyed performance. Sam Mendes’ (“1917”) “Empire of Light” received mixed reactions from Toronto, but everyone was excited for the role of Olivia Colman, who is likely to receive her fourth Oscar nomination. Nonetheless, this time Cate’s The Favourite.
And feel-good story of the year stars in feel-good movie of the year – Brendan Fraser as a 600-pound, homebound gay man in Darren Aronofsy’s The Whale. The film itself is controversial (I loved it) but everyone agrees that Fraser is exceptional and deserves the many awards it is set to win.
Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, saw his dreams die in Florian Zeller’s The Son, a slog about teenage depression. The Aussie was considered Best Actor but whispered at the TIFF premiere party for The Greatest Beer Run Ever (another film you won’t see at the Academy Awards) the night after The Son. debuted was that industry giants didn’t think Wolverine was good in it. You would be correct.
But there are still 174 days until the Oscars and only one 100 percent guarantee – Will Smith will not be there.
https://nypost.com/2022/09/19/brendan-fraser-and-steven-spielberg-could-win-oscars/ Brendan Fraser and Steven Spielberg could win Oscars