TIFF begins, Oscar buzz gets louder
05:00 AM, Sep 05, 2013
Remember last year’s Academy Award-winning Argo? Ben Affleck’s Best Picture premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Can a new Oscar favorite come out of this year’s festival?
The movie extravaganza (called TIFF for short) starts today. That means Oscar buzz is getting louder right now, especially for four movies premiering at the festival:
1. Drama Twelve Years a Slave. Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as Solomon Northup, a freed black man, who was sold into slavery. According to producer Brad Pitt, who makes a cameo in the film, the movie is a masterwork for director Steve McQueen. Pitt told USA TODAY that performances in the film are some of the best he’s seen. With co-stars such as Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch and Academy Award nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, we don’t find that hard to believe.
2. Remember when photos of a super-skinny Matthew McConaughey started showing up online? The actor wasn’t struggling with an eating disorder, he was preparing for his part in Dallas Buyers Club. McConaughey plays an unlikely AIDS activist in this film based on a true story. And he definitely commits to the part. Oscar likes to reward acting like that.
3. The movie August: Osage County is already a strong awards contender. After all, writer Tracy Letts already won a Pulitzer and a Tony for the story, and now we have Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts starring as mother and daughter. (And they’ve been nominated for 20 Oscars between the two of them, so do the math.) Benedict Cumberbatch also stars making that one of the second films he’s starring in at TIFF.
4. Also getting a lot of buzz already is Idris Elba, for his portrayal of Nelson Mandela in the film Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom. To prepare for the role, the actor spent a night in a cell on the infamous Robben Island, where Mandela was held. He told USA TODAY, “In those 12 hours of my life, I realized what 19 years must have been like in one cell.” The film explores the early years of Mandela’s life that are not so well-known. A biopic about a well-known political figure, starring a respected actor? Sounds like Oscar material, if you ask Meryl Streep and Daniel Day-Lewis.
We highlighted only four films that have gotten people talking, but there are so many more movies to see. And, of course, there will be plenty of star sightings in Toronto.