Telluride Film Fest: Oscar Contenders in Lineup

Telluride Film Fest: Oscar Contenders in Lineup

The cat is out of the bag. The Telluride Film Fest’s lineup was published hours ago. Now the speculation about the movies that are actually here is heating up. Take this story by Pete Hammond from


The 41st Telluride Film Festival, which has become a harbinger of heavyweight Oscar contenders over the past few years, has announced its schedule for the fest – which opens Friday and runs through Labor Day — just as a charter planeload of industry festgoers departs LAX. Despite a well-publicized battle with the upcoming Toronto Film Festival over Oscar-buzzed movies, Telluride honchos Tom Luddy, Gary Meyer and Julie Huntsinger have some pretty impressive contenders in the mix. Of course, film-freak paradise that it is, Telluride is not all about hot awards titles but a mix of programming that always whets the appetite of movie lovers who flock here each Labor Day weekend.

That said, Oscar watchers will be eagerly lining up for Fox Searchlight and New Regency’s Birdman, which is coming directly from its opening-night slot at the Venice Film Festival where it received rapturous reviews — not only for star Michael Keaton and the cast but also director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and the cinematography of Emmanuel Lubezki. Although Telluride is not about claiming these kinds of things, Birdman is getting its North American premiere in the Rockies.

Searchlight, also throwing its customary late Saturday night party here, is also bringing in the anticipated December release Wild for a World Premiere. Star Reese Witherspoon is heavily buzzed for a shot at a second Best Actress Oscar in this tale set in the great outdoors, a key reason a Telluride premiere was a natural. Unlike Birdman — which will skip Toronto for a closing-night New York Film Fest slot (a natural since it is set in the theatrical world of NYC) — Wild will also play TIFF.

The Weinstein Company is using Telluride to unveil their period drama The Imitation Game starring another pair of strong acting contenders this year, newly minted Emmy winner Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley. The distributor has hit Telluride in the past with eventual Best Picture winners The King’s Speech and The Artist, so it is obviously hoping the Colorado luck continues after having almost no profile at this fest last year…

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