October 23, 2016
        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                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

5 films (surprisingly) not screening at TIFF – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Earlier today, we celebrated a slew of films that had been added to the slate for this year’s Toronto International Film Festival, with eight Galas and 17 Special Presentations leading the charge.

Films like David Hare’s “Page Eight,” selected as the fest’s Closing Night Film, join previously named and anticipated titles such as Cannes favorite “The Artist;” David Cronenberg’s “A Dangerous Method;” “Albert Nobbs,” with Glenn Close; Alexander Payne’s “The Descendents;” Bennett Miller’s “Moneyball;” Pedro Almodovar “The Skin I Live In;” Drake Doremus’ “Like Crazy;” and George Clooney’s “The Ides of March.”

There are so many potential awards contenders screening in Toronto that I feel like I’m sprinkling cold water on the excitement even by mentioning these five films that will not be there (even though I was convinced most of them would have made the cut as these last few titles were added). The awards marathon promises some port-Toronto mystery as these five films continue to hold their cards close to the vest. Here are the movies I thought for sure were headed to TIFF but, so far, are not:

1. “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” – Tomas Alfredson’s adaptation of the John le Carre novel seemed destined for TIFF. A follow up to the director’s unnerving “Let the Right One In,” the thriller stars Gary Oldman, Colin Firth, Toby Jones, John Hurt, Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy in the story of spies trying to smoke out a mole. It plays Venice right before Toronto, and hits theaters on Nov. 18. Here’s the moody trailer:

2. “The Iron Lady” – TIFF can be used as a launch pad for films with awards hopes. Phyllida Lloyd’s “The Iron Lady” doesn’t need the boost, but it would have been nice to see it storming the shores of Toronto. For now, “Lady” appears content to coast on the fact that it has Oscar darling Meryl Streep playing Margaret Thatcher, with Oscar moguls at The Weinstein Company (responsible for “The King’s Speech”) handling the film’s distribution and eventual Oscar campaign. Like I said, “Lady” doesn’t need TIFF, but TIFF would have been a great place to unveil Lloyd’s film.

3. “J. Edgar” – Clint Eastwood trekked to TIFF last year with his afterlife drama “Hereafter,” but left with mixed reviews tucked in his back pocket. That could be the reason why Eastwood appears to be skipping the fall festival circuit entirely. His J. Edgar Hoover biopic, with Leonardo DiCaprio in the lead, will open on Nov. 9 before expanding a few days later. Positive buzz from TIFF would help, but if the movie plays, it will play without a Toronto/Venice/Telluride/New York boost.

4. “Carnage” – The minute Roman Polanski’s film was named as opener for the New York Film Festival, those of us heading to TIFF let out a collective groan. Manhattan’s annual fest demands exclusivity, so the anticipated adaptation of Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning play is bypassing Canada. Sony Pictures Classics will open the film on Nov. 18, but expect to hear a lot about Polanski and his dream cast of Kate Winslet, Christoph Waltz, Jodie Foster and John C. Reilly the second this 79-minute dramedy wraps on Sept. 30 in NYC. I predict Twitter will explode with reactions. Let’s hope they are positive.

5. “Young Adult” – This one still baffles me. Jason Reitman carries a lot of weight around Toronto. And the festival circuit has been very kind to all three of his films. Yet even though “Young Adult” reunites Reitman with his Oscar-winning “Juno” screenwriter Diablo Cody in the story of a 30-something slacker (Charlize Theron) heading home to confront her static life, the film will not be seen in Toronto. I would have bet the house “Adult” would screen at TIFF. Now I’ll have to save my money and see it with everyone else when it opens in December.

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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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