With the closing of the New York Film Festival Sunday, the fall festival run has finally slowed to jogging.
Over the past year and a half, hundreds of new films have appeared at the Venice, Telluride, Toronto and New York Film Festivals, where Ben Affleck (“The Last Duel”), Francis McDormand (“Macbeth’s Tragedy”) and Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Power of the Dog”) The Oscar campaigns were started with red carpets, after parties and in-person questionnaires.
“Belfast,” by Kenneth Branagh’s volatile Northern Ireland scomaltzi ode, has emerged as the best film of the past, after winning the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival (trusted bellweather for future Oscar glory). The 1960s drama stars Jamie Darnan, Kietrona Balfe, Judy Dench and Ciar ಹಿn Hinds, all of whom compete to support acting prizes.
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“The Rescue,” meanwhile, has been beaten for best documentary feature. Directed by husband and wife filmmakers behind the Oscar-winning “Free Solo,” the nail-biting doc (now in theaters) uses dramatic reenactments and interviews to tell the story of the 12 boys and the incredible real story that saved the Thai cave 2018. His soccer coach. Gripping won the People’s Choice Award for Documentaries in Toronto and has a positive rating of 98% on the overall site Rotten Tomatoes.
The race here stands as we inch toward the March 27, 2022 Oscar ceremony.
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This is Will vs. Denzel’s best actor
The race for the best actors comes face to face with two of Hollywood’s most enduring stars. Washington is playing its third little golden man, “Macbeth,” after winning the 1989 “Glory” and the 2001 “Training Day.” Smith also has the role of Plum as the tennis coach father of Serena and Venus Williams in the Crowd-Pleaser “King Richard.”
Adding more intrigue, Smith lost the best actor for “Ali” to Washington on “Training Day” nearly two decades ago at the Oscars. Both stars have brilliant reviews and “overdue” narratives that can be ruled out this year: Washington hasn’t won an Oscar in 20 years, but Smith has not won, despite two nominations. If he prevails, Washington will become the first black actor to win three Oscars.
But we are giving the edge to Smith at Sm Tue, social media has been buzzing for days with a rare profile published in GQ last month, and more audience friendly than Joel Coen’s brilliant but cool “Macbeth”.
Where to look: “King Richard” is streaming in theaters and on HBO Max November 19; “The Tragedy of Macbeth” is streaming on December 25 and Apple TV + on January 14.
Joaquin Phoenix is anti-Joker in a heartwarming new movie
Hip distributor A24 has two potential best actor competitors in Simon Rex (“Red Rocket”) and Joaquin Phoenix (“C’mon C’mon”), both of whom have starred in critically beloved festival films. We speculate that Rex, a former MTV VJ, may be a tough sell to Academy members, whose film’s quasi-subject follows a relationship with a washed-up porn star, a young girl (Su zanna’s son).
This leaves four-time Oscar nominee and 2020 “Joker” winner Phoenix, who gives one of the most subtle performances of his career on the low-key charmer “Common Common.” The actor plays a radio journalist who reconnects with his half-sister (Gabby Hoffman) and younger nephew (Woody Norman). Phoenix is warm and funny in this deeply empathetic film that treats children’s emotions as complex and real as adults.
Where to look: “Come Bunny” opens in theaters on November 19; Dec. 3 in “Red Rocket” theaters.
Olivia Coleman, Penelope Cruz waiting in the wings
Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana in “Spencer” is still the frontrunner for Best Actress. But three more worthy contenders have emerged from the festival circuit: Olivia Coleman, a professor in “The Last Daughter” who measures personal freedom and motherly responsibility. Penelope Cruz, a heartbreaker in Pedro Almodovar’s “Parallel Mothers”, changed when a twisty melodrama about newborns was born; And Renat Rensve, an infinite view of the Norwegian relationship drama “The Worst Person in the World.”
Cruz won Best Actress at the Venice Film Festival in September, but won the Rainsway Award at the Cannes Film Festival this summer. The 33-year-old delivers a star-making performance that only comes once in the long run. If a lot of voters see the “bad guy”, Rainsway is hard to resist.
Where to look: “Spencer” opens Nov. 5 in theaters; “The Last Daughter” is streaming on December 17 and Netflix on December 31; “” Parallel Mothers “in theaters Dec. 24; “The Worst Person in the World” is expected to be released later this year.
‘Dune’ spices up the run – but how much?
There are great movies, and then there’s “Dune.” The studio image from 2015’s “Mad Max: Fury Road” has felt this epic and touching, with a vast set and locations to immerse you in the intergalactic world of Frank Herbert’s 1965 science fiction. Like “Fury Road”, which received six Oscars for technical achievements, “Dune” is destined to be an exceptional player in categories including best production design and photography. Eleven-time nominated composer Hansimmer also earned his second Best Score Oscar.
But what about the best film or director (Denis Villeneuve)? One of the main complaints of many critics about “Dune” is that it doesn’t feel like a complete movie, the heavy show and the sudden ending make up the planned sequel. And despite the strong crowd led by Timothy Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, and the scene-stealing Charlotte Rampling, Villeneuve may prove to be a distraction for some voters, as well as his “Blade Runner: 2049” for top titles.
Where to look: “Dune” is in theaters and HBO Max is streaming on October 22nd.