October 28, 2016
        Ten Contenders will compete for Best Documentary Short Subject                "The Circle" and "The Lost City of Z": Which potential 2016 contenders got bumped to 2017?                Natalie Portman, Janelle Monáe, Matthew McConaughey, Bryce Dallas Howard, Edgar Ramirez, Stacy Keach at Hollywood Film Awards                Viola Davis will be campaigned in Best Supporting Actress for "Fences"                Mel Gibson to be Honored with the Hollywood Director Award at the 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Michael Moore drops a surprise new film with "Michael Moore in TrumpLand"                Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster        

TIFF ’10: Darren Aronofsky’s “Black Swan”

By Sean O’Connell

HollywoodNews.com: The fest kicks off on Sept. 9, and Hollywood News will be on the ground bringing you reviews, interviews, and a clearer glimpse at the ever-shifting Oscar race. [See trailer below]

So far, we discussed Casey Affleck’s “I’m Still Here,” about Joaquin Phoenix’s attempt to infiltrate the hip-hop community (and grow a breathtakingly shaggy beard).

Today, we’re turning our attention to a high-profile drama with serious Oscar potential, which recently tipped its hat by releasing a beautiful, intriguing trailer:

Black Swan

The Plot: Set in the world of competitive ballet, “Black Swan” follows a veteran New York City dancer (Natalie Portman) who begins to buckle under strange pressures when a rival ballerina (Mila Kunis) finds favor with their instructor (Vincent Cassel).

The Director: Darren Aronofsky (“The Wrestler,” “The Fountain,” “Requiem for a Dream”)

The Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, Vincent Cassel

The Scoop: Aronofsky’s latest instantly earns must-see status as he’s coming off the widely praised “Wrestler.” We’ve heard there is a supernatural element to Andres Heinz’s story (which is hinted at in the trailer’s final shot). We’ve also heard there’s an intriguing lesbian relationship between Portman and Kunis (also hinted at). That will help sell tickets. “Black Swan” may turn off audiences if its as ephemeral as Aronofsky’s “Fountain.” However, that would only make me love it more.

Awards Potential: Aronofsky’s a visual director with a signature style. He didn’t break through with “Wrestler,” but has a good shot at Oscar consideration with “Swan.” Ditto Portman, who has been nominated before (for “Closer”) and should have been considered more than once (like for “V for Vendetta”). Depending on the strength of the ensemble, I could see us talking about Kunis and Barbara Hershey come Oscar time, if Aronofsky can do for them whet he did for Ellen Burstyn in “Requiem.”

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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