OSCARS: TIFF Kicks Off and Creates a Best Actress Blood Bath in the Works


The Toronto International Film Festival is underway and critics are weighing in on high-profile premieres from studios and films still seeking distribution.  With Telluride firmly behind us, critics are quite eager to call “Game over” or “throw in the towel.”  That’s the feeling that oversaturates an awards season before something newer and “shinier” comes down the circuit.

At TIFF, the crowds and audiences were just floored by Craig Gillepsie’s “I, Tonya,” a film still seeking a distributor.  Starring Margot Robbie as the famed skater Tonya Harding, the film received rapturous reviews from the Twittersphere with trades weighing calling it a sure fire contender.  The film and Robbie weren’t the only parts to get ink, as Emmy winner Allison Janney has been said to be the new frontrunner in Supporting Actress.  In a race that seems to only have two names on people’s lips (Hong Chau from “Downsizing” and Melissa Leo from “Novitiate“), it’ll be a welcomed shake up.

Aaron Sorkin’s “Molly’s Game” seems to be all over the map but there seems to be unanimous applause for star Jessica Chastain.  The two-time nominee of “The Help” and “Zero Dark Thirty” will look to muscle her way in what is sure to be another very competitive Lead Actress race.

What’s interesting about the Lead Actress race, in particular, is the high percentage chance of repeat winners taking all five slots.  Emma Stone has already generated the “Tom Hanks-two-in-a-row” talk for her work in “Battle of the Sexes,” (which is utterly warranted as she tops her work in “La La Land” in a big way) while we await the arrivals of Kate Winslet in Woody Allen’s “Wonder Wheel” (already screening quietly for critics before its premiere at NYFF) and Meryl Streep in Steven Spielberg’s “The Post.”

Judi Dench is also firmly on the table as she’ll create a poetic tribute to herself this season.  Imagine the headlines of her being nominated for playing Queen Victoria once again, 20 years after receiving her first Oscar nomination, for playing the same character, in “Mrs. Brown?”  Dench’s work in Stephen Frears’ “Victoria and Abdul” is heartfelt, charming, and is her best work since “Notes on a Scandal.”

There’s also room for Frances McDormand, who seems to be eating the material with a spoon in Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri.”  To put gravy on top, her co-star Sam Rockwell is said to finally have a shot to score a long overdue Oscar nomination in Supporting Actor.

Add to the mix Annette Bening‘s work in “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool,” (an actress still seeking her first Oscar) Sally Hawkins‘ muted turn in “The Shape of Water,” and Jennifer Lawrence‘s divisive yet praised work in “mother!,” we have one hotly framed up race.

Of course, we have to mention the ones that we AREN’T talking about at the moment like Carey Mulligan in “Mudbound,” Daniela Vega in “A Fantastic Woman,” Diane Kruger in “In the Fade,” and Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird.”

There’s going to much more that will drop in the coming hours at TIFF:

David Gordon Green’s “Stronger” with Jake Gyllenhaal will get its official premiere.  Early word is that Gyllenhaal could nab his second Oscar nomination after “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005.  His co-stars Tatiana Maslany and Oscar-nominee Miranda Richardson have recevied some praise.

Elle Fanning will look to pair a terrific performance in “The Beguiled” with a lead role in “Mary Shelley.”  The film is also still looking for a home.

Finally, the Lady Gaga documentary titled “Gaga: Five Foot Two” from Netflix received outstanding praise and could be a possibility in Documentary Feature.

Chime in with your own thoughts on the Oscar race and TIFF in the comments below.



  • Damian Pietrzak

    “Of course, we have to mention the ones that we AREN’T talking about at the moment like Carey Mulligan in “Mudbound,” Daniela Vega in “A Fantastic Woman,” Diane Kruger in “In the Fade,” and Saoirse Ronan in “Lady Bird.””

    What? Are you joking right now? Lady Birds and Ronan were the talk of Telluride and now are rocking TIFF. maybe you are not talking about it but people are.

  • Greg

    Jennifer Lawrence is having RAVE reviews right now for her performance in mother! Best in career

  • Christian Palmer

    Telluride: Let’s shake things up for this award season!

    TIFF: Hold my beer.

    NYFF: *laughs maniacally in the distance*