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Fall Film Festivals Struggle for Relevance within the Year of

Scaled-down Venice and Toronto festivals and MIA motion pictures will seemingly mute the influence of the occasions that often launch awards season

In a traditional yr, the following three weeks can be an enormous second of fact for the awards race.

This will not be a traditional yr.

With the Venice International Film Festival kicking off on Wednesday and the Toronto International Film Festival launching every week from Thursday, early September is usually the time when studios trot out their greatest awards contenders and put them on show for cineastes, awards watchers and the worldwide press. By the time the Venice, Toronto and Telluride festivals come to an finish in the midst of the month, we often have a reasonably good concept of what awards season goes to appear to be for the following 5 months.

But on this delayed, COVID-stricken, complicated yr, we’re prone to come to the top of TIFF on Sept. 20 not understanding rather more than we do proper now.

Between the cutting down of some festivals and the cancellation of others, the absence of a lot of the high motion pictures anticipated to compete for awards (together with all the pieces from Netflix) and the smaller highlight the festivals will obtain due to much less press consideration, this can be a competition season that in all probability received’t give any film real awards momentum, and one that can in all probability deal a blow to the festivals’ ordinary report as Oscar predictors.

Since 2007, the Oscar Best Picture winner has screened in Venice, Telluride or Toronto yearly, with Toronto taking part in host to the winner 12 instances in 13 years and Telluride doing it 10 instances in the identical stretch. Of the movies that will go on to be nominated for Best Picture for the reason that class expanded in 2009, TIFF has screened between three and 5 nominees yearly and Telluride has averaged two and a half.

The probabilities of that occuring this yr are slim certainly as a result of the festivals received’t be their ordinary selves. The Venice International Film Festival — the platform that launched the Best Picture winners “The Hurt Locker,” “Birdman,” “Spotlight” and “The Shape of Water,” and that final yr turned “Joker” from a presumed comic-book film to an awards heavyweight — is going down from Sept. 2-12 in a scaled-down model that can embody social distancing, obligatory masks and thermo-scanners, in addition to required reservations for its screening rooms.

Its lineup this yr consists of just one movie that’s considered a strong contender from an American studio, Searchlight’s “Nomadland,” which stars Frances McDormand and was directed by Chloe Zhao. The remainder of its slate is essentially from European administrators, who might discover it simpler to get to Venice in the event that they’re inclined to take action, and whose movies might find yourself competing within the Oscars worldwide race later this yr. (Of course, contemplating that the Korean movie “Parasite” received Best Picture earlier this yr, there’s at all times an opportunity for a number of the non-English entries to make a case for itself as a real contender.)

Venice can also be proscribing its screenings to people who find themselves in Italy for the competition; not like Toronto, it’s not making hyperlinks out there to press who aren’t there. With most Americans unable or unwilling to journey at this level, that can restrict the visibility that the Venice slate could have within the U.S., the place most Oscar voters are.

Meanwhile, the Telluride Film Festival, which often sits between the 2 different festivals and gives a pair dozen rigorously curated picks, would have opened on Friday for 4 days of screenings within the Colorado mountains — however due to the coronavirus, it canceled the bodily competition and easily launched a listing of flicks that it might have screened if it had taken place.

“Nomadland” can also be on that record, as is British director Francis Lee’s interval romance “Ammomite,” with Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan; Ricky Staub’s “Concrete Cowboy,” with Idris Elba and Caleb McLaughlin; and Roger…

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