Preview of Venice, Telluride, and Toronto – Films and Performances to Watch

Written by: Sasha Stone
Originally published by: Awards Daily
August 26th 2019

Starting on the 28th, the Venice Film Festival kicks off the heated festival phase of Oscar season. Since the FYC time frame has been condensed so dramatically this year, everything is going to happen in a flurry. We’ll have our Zhuo-Ning (Tony) Su on the ground in Venice, I will be in Telluride, and we’re hoping Jazz will be in Toronto – all three fests will offer different angles on different premieres. (We’re also hoping to have coverage in New York when at long last people get a look at The Irishman. Speaking of The Irishman, it has just been announced that Martin Scorsese will receive the Kirk Douglas award on November 14 at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, kicking off The Irishman in style.

For our purposes here, I’m mostly looking at films that are English language simply because it’s rare for a foreign-language film to crack Best Picture and the other top five Oscar categories. Of course, it happens and there are films that are likely to cross over (Parasite), but for the most part this is a winnowed-down list that might not feature all of the most anticipated films, just those I think might be headed into the top tier of awards season.

The big gets in Venice to look out for are:

Marriage Story – also hitting Telluride, a Noah Baumbach film starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson
Ad Astra – cerebral sci-fi film starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones and Ruth Negga, written and directed by James Grey
Waiting for the Barbarians – directed by Ciro Guerra, starring Johnny Depp.
Baby Teeth – directed by Shannon Murphy
Joker – co-written and directed by Todd Phillips, starring Joaquin Phoenix
The Laundromat – starring Meryl Streep, directed by Steven Soderbergh for Netflix
Guest of Honour – directed by Atom Egoyan, starring David Thewlis

Out of Competition:
Seberg – directed by Benedict Andrews, starring Kristen Stewart
The King – directed by David Michod, starring Timothee Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, Thomasin McKenzie, Robert Pattinson, and Ben Mendelsohn
Adults in the Room – directed by the legendary Costa-Gravas
The New Pope – directed by Paolo Sorrentino, starring Jude Law and John Malkovich
Zerozerozero – directed by Stefano Sollima, starring Andrea Riseborough and Gabriel Byrne
No One Left Behind – directed by Guillermo Arriaga, starring Danny Huston
American Skin – written, directed by, and starring Nate Parker

Some of these films are likely to show up in Telluride to deliver that juicy one-two punch that has been so successful in recent years. The Telluride lineup hasn’t been announced, but it is assumed that some of the films from Venice that will be also maybe going to Telluride include:

Marriage Story
The Two Popes

As for Toronto, these are the ones that won’t have been seen in Venice – though the ones in bold are also thought to be hitting Telluride first:

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood – starring Tom Hanks, directed by Marielle Heller
American Woman – directed by Semi Chellas, starring Hong Chau
Blackbird – directed by Roger Michell, starring Susan Sarandon, Kate Winslet, Mia Wasikowska
Ford v Ferrari – directed by James Mangold, starring Matt Damon, Christian Bale
Clemency – directed by Chinonye Chukwu, starring Alfre Woodard
Just Mercy – directed by Daniel Destin Cretton, starring Jamie Foxx, Michael B. Jordan, and Brie Larson
The Friend – directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite, starring Jason Segal
The Giant – directed by David Raboy
The Aeronauts – directed by Tom Harper, starring Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne
The Goldfinch – directed by John Crowley, starring Nicole Kidman and Ansel Elgort
The History of the Kelly Gang – directed by Justin Kurzel
A Hidden Life – directed by Terrence Malick, starring August Diehl
Bad Education – directed by Cory Finley, starring Hugh Jackman
Beneath the Blue Suburban Skies – directed by Edward Burns, starring Jennifer Ehle
Coming Home Again – directed by Wayne Wang
Dolemite Is My Name – directed by Craig Brewer, starring Eddie Murphy
Greed – directed by Michael Winterbottom, starring Steve Coogan
Harriet – directed by Kasi Lemmons, starring Cynthia Erivo.
Frankie – directed by Ira Sachs, starring Isabelle Huppert and Marisa Tomei
Hope Gap – directed by William Nicholson, starring Annette Bening and Bill Nighy
Jojo Rabbit – directed by Taika Waititi, starring Scarlett Johansson and Sam Rockwell
Knives Out – directed by Rian Johnson, starring Daniel Craig
Judy – directed by Rupert Goold, starring Renee Zellweger
Lucy in the Sky – directed by Noah Hawley, starring Natalie Portman
Lyrebird – directed by Dan Friedkin, starring Vicky Krieps and Guy Pearce
Motherless Brooklyn – directed by and starring Edward Norton
Black Conflux – directed by Nicole Dorsey
Pain and Glory – directed by Pedro Almodovar, starring Antonio Banderas
Proxima – directed by Alice Winocour, starring Eva Green
Synchronic – directed by Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, starring Jamie Dornan and Anthony Mackie
Tammy’s Always Dying – directed by Amy Jo Johnson, starring Felicity Huffman
Uncut Gems – directed by Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, starring Adam Sandler

One more film thought to be going to Telluride, not on any of these lists:
Waves – directed by Trey Edward Shults, starring Kelvin Harrison Jr and Lucas Hedges

All in all, this looks like a really big year for Best Actor. Over the past two years, Best Actress has been strong and competitive. This year it is definitely going to be tough narrowing down the field to the top five male performances. It’s probably going to be a situation where Best Picture and Best Actor go hand-in-hand once again.

We will report more as the festivals unfold.

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