TIFF ’10: Danny Boyle and James Franco in “127 Hours”

By Sean O’Connell

Hollywoodnews.com: We continue to preview anticipated titles screening at the 35th Toronto International Film Festival in our “Road to Toronto” feature.

The fest kicks off on Sept. 9, and HollywoodNews.com will be on the ground bringing you reviews, interviews, and a clearer glimpse at the ever-shifting Oscar race.

To read our previous preview columns, punch “TIFF” into our search window. Today, we’re scaling a mountain – literally – with Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle and his leading man, James Franco.

127 Hours

The Plot: Franco plays Aron Ralston, an American mountain climber who, in 2003, was forced to amputate his right arm when it became trapped beneath a boulder while he was climbing in Utah.

The Director: Danny Boyle (“Slumdog Millionaire,” “Trainspotting”)

The Cast: James Franco, Kate Mara, Lizzy Caplan, Amber Tamblyn, Clemence Poesy

The Scoop: Boyle’s no longer an underdog in the Hollywood system, having earned his first Oscar nomination – and win – with 2008’s “Slumdog.” Most will be anxious to check out “127 Hours” just to see how he follows up that admired film. Asking “Slumdog” screenwriter Simon Beaufoy to tag along and adapt Ralston’s book accounting the ordeal seems like a smart move on Boyle’s part. And Franco continues to impress me with his role selections. Anyone who saw him in “Milk” or the recent “Eat Pray Love” knows he continues to take his craft seriously.

Awards Potential: All three names associated with “Hours” – Boyle, Franco and Beaufoy — could find their way into their respective races. Right now, early Oscar predictors seem to like the film’s chances, as bloggers have placed “127 Hours” on preliminary Bets Picture charts. It’s early, though, and we’ll know more as the film screens.

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