Telluride Film Festival reveals a slate full of Oscar hopefuls

09.04.09 8 years ago

Sony Pictures Classics

Unlike other festivals, Telluride sets itself apart in that it’s not set up as a media showcase.  Since it began in 1974, the annual event in the small Colorado ski town has always been a mix of premieres and retrospectives for true movielovers from across the world.  Over the last decade though, because Telluride attracts a strong segment of annual Academy members looking for a relaxing Labor Day weekend at the movies without the cold weather of Sundance or the city bustle of Toronto (they are also one group who can afford the steep attendance fee). More importantly to the media, the reaction from the festival attendees has been a bell weather for Oscar contenders or pretenders over the years.

Just last year, “Slumdog Millionaire” began its underdog road to Oscar glory after premiering at Telluride and then continuing that lovefest less than a week later with the world wide media gathered at Toronto.  Other notables that proved their awards season mettle in the mountains over the years include “Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote,” “Into the Wild,” “Babel” and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly.”  The festival traditionally doesn’t announce the program until the day before (part of the fun in attending) but as expected, this year’s list doesn’t provide that many surprises.

Here’s a quick rundown.

“A Prophet” (d. Jacques Audiard, Germany/Austria/France, 2009)
“An Education” (d. Lone Sherfig, U.K., 2009)
*Sundance favorite ready for its awards season run.
“Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans” (d. Werner Herzog, U.S., 2009)
*Werner Herzog and Nicolas Cage’s latest also at Venice and Toronto.  Looks like it will get all sorts of interesting reactions based on the early Venice reviews.
“Bright Star” (d. Jane Campion, U.K./Australia/France, 2009)
*Jane Campion’s comeback premiered at Cannes and will also screen at Toronto.
“Coco Before Chanel” (d. Anne Fontaine, France, 2009)
*Already released all around the world, looking for an awards season spark in the states.
“Farewell” (d. Christian Carion, France, 2009)
“Fish Tank” (d. Andrea Arnold, U.K., 2009)
*Cannes premiere also at Toronto and opening in the UK this month.
“Gigante” (d. Adrián Biniez, Uruguay, 2009)
“Henri-Georges Clouzout’s Inferno”
“Life During Wartime” (d. Todd Solondz, U.S., 2009)
*The first film from the “Happiness” director since 2004 and a Toronto entry as well.
“London River” (d. Rachid Bouchareb, U.K./France/Algeria, 2009)
“Red Riding” – three-part series: 1974 (d. Julian Jarrold, U.K., 2009); 1980 (d. James Marsh, U.K., 2009); 1983 (d. Anand Tucker, U.K., 2009)
“Room and a Half” (d. Andrey Khrzhanovsky, Russia, 2009)
“Samson & Delilah” (d. Warwick Thornton, Australia, 2009)
“Sleep Furiously” (d. Gideon Koppel, U.K., 2007)
“Terra Madre“(d. Ermanno Olmi, Italy, 2009)
“The Jazz Baroness” (d. Hannah Rothschild, U.K. 2009)
“The Last Station” (d. Michael Hoffman, U.K., 2009)
*Michael Hoffman’s biopic on Leo Tolstoy with James McAvoy, Paul Giamatti and Helen Mirren.  Looking to kick off pick-up hype.
“The Miscreants of Taliwood” (d. George Gittoes, Australia/Pakistan, 2009)
“The Road” (d. John Hillcoat, U.S., 2009)
*Also screening at the Venice and Toronto Film Festivals, looking for support from wherever it can find it.
“The White Ribbon” (d. Michael Haneke, Germany/Australia/France, 2009)
*Cannes Palm d’Or winner was recently named Germany’s official entry to the Academy Awards.
“Vincere” (d. Marco Bellocchio, Italy, 2009)
“Vision” (d. Margarethe von Trotta, Germany, 2009)
“Window” (d. Buddhadeb Dasgupta, India, 2009)

Other films such as Jason Reitman’s “Up in the Air” are expected to be “surprise” sneak peeks, but were not confirmed by the festival during today’s announcement.  As “Air” wouldn’t really be a surprise it will be curious to see what other previews will debut.  Perhaps Michael Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story”?  We’ll soon find out as the festival runs from only Sept. 4-7.

Awards Campaign will provide updates on Telluride over the next few days as warranted.

For constant updates on awards season, entertainment news and an few NBA rants or two, follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter at

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