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Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska in “Albert Nobbs” – TIFF 2011

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: At the Toronto International Film Festival, the talent isn’t just on the screen. TIFF often is characterized by the sheer number of actors, directors, producers and talents that are occupying theater seats, eating in restaurants, strolling through hotel lobbies and conversing with fans as the film festival rages around downtown.

We already know five-time Academy Award nominee will be there promoting her latest film “Albert Nobbs,” a period piece set in Ireland that centers around the employees and guests at Dublin’s most luxurious hotel. But there’s a twist, which we’ll reveal below as we preview “Albert” further ahead of its Toronto premiere.

Previous TIFF previews can be found by visiting our bustling Awards Alley.

For now, though, let’s dig into “Albert Nobbs,” and what we are assuming is another fantastic performance from the legendary Glenn Close.

Albert Nobbs

The Plot: In 19th century Ireland, where women aren’t encouraged to be independent, “Albert” (Glenn Close) poses as a man so she can work as a butler in Dublin’s most posh hotel. But the arrival of a handsome painter inspires “Albert” to escape the lie she has been living, and she turns to a new friend to help her complete her free-spirited journey toward womanhood.

The Cast: Glenn Close, Mia Wasikowska, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Brendan Gleeson, Janet McTeer

The Director: Rodrigo Garcia (“Mother and Child,” “Passengers”)

The Scoop: Lately, Close has done her strongest work on television, earning Emmy Awards for her powerful roles in “Damages” and the defunct “The Shield.” But the Oscar nominee is always welcome on the silver screen, and “Nobbs” appears to be a personal project of hers. Close co-wrote the screenplay with John Banville, and seems to be doing the heavy lifting in the lead role. The film is earning her recognition in festivals around the globe. The actress is receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival, while Austin has confirmed the film’s involvement in its fest later this fall.

Awards Potential: One has to wonder … will this be the role that finally earns Glenn Close her Oscar? Though she has been nominated five times (and deserved wins for “The Big Chill” and “Fatal Attraction”), Close has yet to bring the little gold man home. We’ll know more at TIFF if Close has a winner on her hands, as well as if “Abert Nobbs” has a chance at competing in other Oscar categories, from screenplay or supporting actor categories to possibly Best Picture.

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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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