September 18, 2015
        "Black Mass" could get Johnny Depp back in the Oscar game                J.J. Abrams and Denis Villeneuve: Ten potential first time writer/director nominees for Oscar in 2015                Roger Deakins offers up some of his very best cinematography in "Sicario"                "The Martian" launches itself as an awards hopeful at the Toronto Film Festival                "Steve Jobs": Oscar predictions for September                "Sleeping with Other People" is one of the most charming films of 2015                Sandra Bullock looks like a contender in the Trailer for "Our Brand is Crisis"                Sam Smith will sing the theme song for the upcoming 007 film "Spectre"                Richard Gere is an under the radar Best Actor contender for "Time Out of Mind"                Telluride and Venice launch festival debuts into the Oscar race                “The Hateful Eight”: Looking at potential Best Original Screenplay Contenders                David O. Russell and Ridley Scott: Which filmmaking contenders this year are most due for their first win?                Telluride Announces 2015 Lineup - Steve Jobs, Black Mass, Suffragette                “Sicario”: Ten Films to see in September                Will Smith crusades for Best Actor in the "Concussion" Trailer        

Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln” will close L.A.’s AFI Fest – OSCARS

By Sean O’Connell A glitzy Washington, D.C. premiere might be more appropriate. But for Steven Spielberg’s “Lincoln,” a presidential biopic hoping to position itself at the head of the Oscar race, the Closing Night spot at Los Angeles’ AFI Fest in November is going to have to do.

AFI organizers announced this week that Spielberg will return to the fest (his “The Adventures of Tintin” screened here last year) with the world premiere of the anticipated historical drama. The movie will screen on Nov. 8, one day ahead of its limited-release opening. (“Lincoln” then plans to expand on Nov. 16.)

”Steven Spielberg is an American master, enriching the cultural legacy of our nation with each new film in his extraordinary career,” AFI President and CEO Bob Gazzale said in a press release. ”We are honored he has chosen AFI FEST for the World Premiere of ‘Lincoln,’ an historic cinematic event in itself as it brings the most dramatic American history to life for new generations.”

AFI had very little options, when you look at the big picture. The New York Film Festival scooped up the premieres of Ang Li’s “Life of Pi” as well as Robert Zemeckis’ “Flight.” A “Les Miserables” premiere would have been a noteworthy get, as that film has set to tease its debut. Other films like Judd Apatow’s “This is 40” or David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook” seem like AFI options (though the latter premiered in Toronto at TIFF).

Read more of our exclusive Awards coverage:
Our “Silver Linings Playbook” review
Ben Affleck’s “Argo” scores
Producer Harvey Weinstein
“Lawless” director John Hillcoat

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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, 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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