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Hollywood awards season is already underway, with Golden Globe nominations to be announced this week, and the Academy’s Oscar-nominating process set to begin next week. Some trends are already clear, now that we have heard from the New York Film Critics’ Circle, the Los Angeles critics’ group, and the National Board of Review.
But from our quirky northern perch, the most distressing conclusion to be drawn at this early stage is that for the first time in six years, the movie that sweeps the Oscars and is ultimately crowned best picture of the year will almost certainly not be a film that was launched right here at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Don’t take that as a criticism of TIFF 2012. This year’s festival was one of the most successful in its history. And as expected, there are a few pictures that will definitely get some mention in the Globe and Oscar nominations — including Silver Linings Playbook, The Master, Argo and Amour. Plus a couple of others, such as Anna Karenina, that could earn a nomination, if not an award.
• 2012 — The Artist.
• 2011 — The King’s Speech.
• 2010 — The Hurt Locker.
• 2009 — Slumdog Millionaire.
• 2008 — No Country for Old Men.
Each of them started at TIFF as a modest hopeful and wound up in a blaze of glory at the Kodak Theatre.
So far this year, no movie has emerged as a clear winner, though the New York critics and the National Board of Review have both picked Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (which does not open in Toronto until January) as the year’s best movie — suddenly making it a favourite for top awards.
Lincoln is guaranteed to get many Globe and Oscar nominations in craft categories, as well as supporting acting nominations for Daniel Day-Lewis, Tommy Lee Jones and Sally Field.
The L.A. critics picked a French movie, Amour, as the year’s best picture. While it is unlikely to score an Oscar win in that category, it looms as the strongest foreign-language film.
Also sure to be a strong contender for major awards is the screen version of Les Miserables (opening Christmas Day), though there is little reason to think director Tom Hooper can repeat his King’s Speech triumph of the year before last.
The liveliest Oscar races could be in the acting categories. Amour’s Emmanuelle Riva will be in competition with Jessica Chastain of Zero Dark Thirty. And either Joaquin Phoenix for The Master or Hugh Jackman for Les Miz could upset Day-Lewis.
So what are the honours we can expect for movies showcased at TIFF? Argo, The Master and Silver Linings Playbook should all get some Golden Globe and Academy nominations.
Any of them could make the expanded list of 10 Oscar nominees for best picture. But here’s my bold prediction: On Oscar night in February, none of those TIFF faves will be the one announced when the ultimate envelope is opened at the end of the show.