They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don't They?: Telluride Day Two

By J. Don Birnam

September 4, 2016

Sure, she is.

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Twenty-four hours, several screenings, and little sleep later, the Telluride Film Festival heads into the home stretch with some early favorite and potential Oscar contenders, as awards season picks up steam heading into Toronto.

The biggest revelation, for me, has been Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival. A year after wowing critics with Sicario, the director of Prisoners has showcased his best work yet. La La Land may very well be the early Oscar favorite, but it is Arrival that I think people will remember down the line. I will try not to overhype either of these movies - that nasty, dirty word of the Oscar race - so as to preserve them for you, but they’re both good.

The Buzz Around Town

The only late-breaking buzz of the festival was the small indie comedy Lost in Paris, a Charlie Chaplin screwball comedy featuring Emanuelle Riva in a supporting role. The word around town spread like a disease - I spotted a screening last night with about 30 people out of 650 seats. This morning’s, which I just attended, was sold out and left people outside. It’s a pretty fun movie that will hit theaters in 2017, and that will please fans of slapstick, Keaton-style comedy.




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The real buzz for me, though, has been how the festival continues to live up to its reputation of a who’s who, elbow-knocking affair. I had the opportunity to attend tributes to Amy Adams and to listen to Emma Stone talk about making it in Hollywood - and her fears of not doing so. More amusing, however, was to watch Stone and Rooney Mara walk out of the Arrival screening this morning with the rest of the crowd. The screening was a tribute to their friend Amy Adams, but clearly the two were also checking out the competition. All three are generating Best Actress talk.

Another “Telluride” moment came last night, when I asked for a lighter from a stranger on the sidewalk - he informed me that it was his friend Pablo who had the lighter. The guy in question was Pablo Larrain, the director of Oscar-nominated No, who has Neruda at this festival and Jackie in Toronto. The Chilean was with Gael Garcia Bernal, a frequent collaborator of Y Tu Mama Tambien. We all smoked a cigarette while they had a glass of wine.

In other buzz, Tom Hanks and Laura Linney had a seminar in town today. I missed it to see Arrival, but it garnered large crowds. The question on everyone’s mind now is whether there will be any surprise addition to the last lineup tomorrow. We will soon find out.


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