Telluride Buzz: '12 Years a Slave' May Be Strongest; Robert Redford in 'All Is Lost;' Hugh Jackman's 'Prisoners'

Telluride Buzz: '12 Years a Slave' May Be Strongest; Robert Redford in 'All Is Lost;' Hugh Jackman's 'Prisoners'

Sep 03, 2013

12 Years A Slave

A small mountain town in Colorado served as the backdrop for the kickoff of awards season in North America, as a small yet devoted contingent of film critics, movie fans, and industry professionals descended en masse for the annual Telluride Film Festival. What movies emerged as serious award contenders?

12 Years a Slave: According to the buzz, as interpreted by an experienced observer, director Steve McQueen's drama "was the strongest film to hit the festival." Chiwetel Ejiofor stars as a free man who is forced into bound servitude and struggles to regain his freedom. He appeared at the festival, along with the director and costars Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt, who also served as a coproducer. [Awards Daily]

All Is Lost: After receiving strong buzz at Cannes, the tale of a solitary man lost at sea headed into festival season with a full head of steam, and the reception at Telluride has added to its shine. Thanks to his captivating performance, Robert Redford's "name is already at the top of any list of presumptive best actor nominees." [New York Times]

Gravity: George Clooney and Sandra Bullock star in the science fiction thriller from director Alfonso Cuaron, which debuted at the Venice Film Festival to overwhelmingly positive notices -- see Alison Nastasi's roundup last week -- and continued to dazzle viewers in Telluride, placing it squarely in the race for a Best Picture nomination. [The Wrap]

Labor Day: Jason Reitman's new drama stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. Our own Christopher Campbell rounded up the reaction from film critics. [Movies.com]

Prisoners: Rather surprisingly, what appears to be a straightforward, commercially minded thriller transformed into an Oscar contender over the weekend. Hugh Jackman stars as a father whose young daughter goes missing; he kidnaps the main suspect (Paul Dano) to make him talk. A surprise addition to the festival, the movie played extremely well as a draining emotional experience, with Jake Gyllenhaal's performance as a detective praised along with Jackman's turn and the direction by Denis Villeneuve. [Deadline]

Salinger: A small plane carrying members of the filmmaking team crash-landed at the Telluride airport on Sunday afternoon, but happily no injuries were reported. Shane Salerno's documentary debuted on Monday morning; described as "riveting and stunning" by one writer, it's "certain" to be a contender for the Academy Award for Best Documentary. [Los Angeles Times/Deadline]

Under the Skin: Back in 2000, director Jonathan Glazer debuted with crime drama Sexy Beast, which earned Ben Kingsley an Academy Award nomination, and then made 2004's Birth, which garnered a Golden Globe nomination for Nicole Kidman. Will Scarlett Johansson earn similar accolades for her performance as an alien in human form in Glazer's new film? Critics are impressed by Johansson, but very mixed about the film overall. [Keyframe Daily]

(Pictured below: Filmmakers Errol Morris -- whose latest documentary, The Unknown Known, screened -- and Werner Herzog; photo credit: Tom Quinn.)

Errol Morris and Werner Herzog at Telluride Film Festival 2013 - by Tom Quinn

 

 

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