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Awards Season / Oscar Predictions Update: TIFF Debuts a Best Picture Frontrunner and Confirms Several Other Major Contenders

Universal Pictures

What a difference a week can make. After seven days spent at the Toronto International Film Festival, the layout of the awards season does appear to be a bit different. That said, it’s possible I’m just exhausted, having spent several days at the Telluride Film Festival, before heading up to Canada for TIFF. My time in Toronto featured about twenty movies being seen, lots of reviews written (with more to come as the week concludes), and predictions being tinkered with throughout. Now, with those Oscar picks having been completed, it’s time to talk a bit about how the festival impacted who and what will receive Academy Award nominations when all is said and done.

TIFF, it’s worth noting, returned to more or less its usual format this year, after a hybrid fest last year (which I attended and wrote about here). So, there was a palpable sense of joy in the air, as folks descended upon Toronto to take in a wide variety of films, most of which were met with a pretty solid reception, at the very least.

Universal Pictures

Folks, we have a Best Picture frontrunner, and it’s The Fabelmans. Steven Spielberg‘s autobiographical passion project, which I raved about here, was rapturously received, with many saying it’s clearly the one to beat, Oscar-wise. You never can tell these days, but it does seem like this is the movie. Now, Belfast had that buzz out of TIFF and couldn’t sustain it, but this is going to be far bigger of a flick, so it’s not a one to one comparison. Still, the crowd pleasing nature of this film, as well as its overall quality, not to mention a narrative, gives it a clear leg up, at least at the current moment.

Interestingly, Babylon dropped a trailer just days after The Fabelmans (and its own trailer) debuted. Could it be that this is the battle we’re going to see this season? If so, they’re two very different films, but would make for quite the fight. So, while other movies like Everything Everywhere All At Once and Women Talking want you to remember their names, it’s definitely possible that we know what battle is now brewing.

Other Toronto flicks that landed in a big way included a World Premiere in Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (which may be Netflix’s best chance now at a Best Picture nomination), The Inspection, and The Woman King. In terms of titles that had debuted elsewhere, The Banshees of Inisherin continued to impress, Empire of Light got a more muted response, and The Whale generated heated reactions on all sides (except for Brendan Fraser, who was universally raved about), while Women Talking confirmed that it’s a top tier player in some major categories.

On the flip side, The Son has seen its stock fall fast, with the Venice Film Festival and TIFF both being lukewarm on it, at best. How much does that hurt Hugh Jackman in Best Actor? It definitely seems to damage his chances of winning. A nomination, though? That likely is still on the table, especially if the precursors are still kind to him. Then, there was The Greatest Beer Run Ever, which was politely received, but didn’t get any Oscar buzz whatsoever. That being said, Green Book has people scarred, so never say never…

Essentially, we know mostly know what the dance card looks like. Other than the aforementioned Babylon, we’re only waiting on Avatar: The Way of Water, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, She Said, and Till. So, we kind of know who and what the contenders are. It’s only a matter now of how they’re going to line up, transitioning some from contender to pretender.

Netflix

My prior early prediction articles (found herehereherehereherehere, and here) are available for your perusal, and can see some more of the changes I’ve been making, especially now after my time in Toronto. Telluride and TIFF are in the rearview mirror, so I know I’m no longer one of the few making awards predictions. We’re now in it, friends.

Folks, as always you can see my newest crack at advance Oscar predictions (which officially now will just be considered regular old new predictions, as opposed to year in advance) right here at Awards Radar. The changes are coming, and will continue to come, more and more, as the fall festivals wrap up. So, sit tight for more…

An Oscar statue is pictured during the Oscars Foreign Language Film Award Directors Reception in advance of the 88th Academy Awards in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California February 26, 2016. The Oscars will be presented February 28, 2016. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri – GF10000325443

Stay tuned for another update to these Oscar predictions as festival season continues!

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Written by Joey Magidson

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