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Posts Tagged ‘Toronto International Film Festival’

Mark Harris on the Inanity of Early Oscar Buzz

There’s something extra special about this year’s marathon Oscar handicapping season being kick-started at Telluride and Toronto by a drama titled 12 Years a Slave. Because in recent years, the once organic and more tempered process of advance film buzz has become a slave to an endless 12 months of town-cried Academy Awards prognostication.

Not that film journalists are alone in this behavior. Tom O’Neil, the grand master of Gold Derby, rightly likes to point out that many other realms besides film awards season (ex: the 2016 U.S. presidential race) lead to early and heavy odds-making by so-called media experts.

Nevertheless, on the Oscar side, it seems to get a little worse each year, amplified by social media and the return in 2012-13 of more robust studio marketing budgets. Enter Mark Harris. In a Grantland piece titled “Is 12 Years a Slave Really a Best Picture Lock?,” he makes a number of resonating observations:

The recent compulsion to anoint a Best Picture favorite around Labor Day, a full 17 weeks before the end of the eligibility period for movies, represents the convergence of several factors… [including] an infection of festival coverage by Web-driven “First!” culture.

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Blogger’s 911 Call Blows Up the Toronto Film Festival

The Sacrament arrived at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival with a lot of drama already built-in. It’s about a pair of fictitious VICE correspondents who convince a friend to visit a family member at a Jim Jones/Guyana style religious compound so they can tag along for documentary purposes.

But the real drama at a Monday press & industry screening of the movie – per the dozens and dozens of subsequent news reports- occurred when New York-based blogger Alex Billington (firstshowing.net) dialed 911 to report what he thought was someone trying to pirate the film with a cell phone. The individual appears instead to have been a boorish film buyer with a reputation for flaunting electronic devices at screenings.

Billington’s actions have become a tipping point for something many other journalists in attendance at TIFF this year have been grousing about: the festival’s lack of a defined policy governing the use of cell phones and tablets at press & industry screenings. TIFF VP of communications Jennifer Bell is on record in some of the reports as confirming that TIFF does not have an official set of such rules, other than asking at the beginning of screenings that attendees silence/turn off their devices. (And we all know how well that works.)

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Trade Round-Up: August 23, 2007

reese2.jpegThe industry is gearing up for September’s Toronto International Film Festival and THR gives the full fest lineup in today’s paper, unveiling the “most American-friendly lineup in years.” Included in the fest offerings are new pics from helmers Renny Harlin, Paul Schrader and Robin Swicord. Sure to cause a tabloid frenzy is a screening of the drama “Rendition” starring Oscar-winner Reese Witherspoon and her is-he-or-isn’t-he-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal.

Whoever said that crime doesn’t pay, isn’t friends with Kathryn Morris. The “Cold Case” star has just signed a deal heading into her fifth season on the hit CBC crime drama that will pay her $180,000-$190,000 per episode with a production pact to boot. THR‘s Nellie Andreeva has the scoop.

Leading up to the Sept. 16 Emmy telecast, the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has installed a “more vigorous vetting process” to step up a crackdown on producer credit inflation. Variety’s Michael Schneider and Dave McNary detail the organization’s efforts to make sure that producers who are attached to awards-worthy series are worthy themselves of receiving such honors. Find out who made the cut in their front-page Var story here.

Variety’s ratings round-up doesn’t look good for Fox’s new reality series “Anchorwoman.” The show, which follows a former WWE Diva who lands a job as an anchor in a small Texas town, sunk with only 2.7 million viewers tuning in. The show is on a limited series run, the story says, so the fate of the three remaining weeks on the schedule hang in the balance. Check the rest of Variety’s ratings reporting here.
– CHRIS GARDNER