The 2015 Toronto film festival was, as usual, expected to unearth much of this year’s Oscar bait but after drawing to a close it appeared to prove a bit of a disappointment for those involved. Tiff, which was celebrating its 40th birthday, was not quite the shining event that attendees were hoping for with Hitfix’s Gregory Ellwood saying “This was not the 40th edition of the ‘Festival of Festivals’ that Toronto was hoping for.”
It wasn’t all disappointment, though, and there were a few impressive films on show at the festival with a handful being pegged for Academy Awards in February. Here’s 5 of the offerings that I am most excited about;
A dark and dismal film that’s been pegged as ‘life affirming’ about a woman and her son who are held captive by a kidnapper has come out as an unlikely frontrunner for this year’s Oscars. Room has been causing quite a stir in the world of film criticism and could be on the path for Oscar success after receiving rave reviews and plenty of thumbs ups. The trailer certainly promises something slightly more interesting than some of the other films that emerged at the festival and although it’ll no doubt be a tough one to watch it certainly looks like one to keep an eye out for.
If anyone can direct a good film set in space it’s Alien director Ridley Scott, who has returned with another promising offering in the form of The Martian. Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is feared dead after a fierce storm during a manned mission to Mars. Left alone on the hostile planet he must fight to survive with the meagre supplies that he has left while his crew mates plot a daring rescue. The trailer certainly makes big promises and The Martian looks like one of the more exciting offerings from this year’s Tiff, and with Ridley Scott’s name attached it will no doubt do quite well. It’s among the films that are expected to do quite well at the 2016 Academy Awards and it’s easy to see why.
Our Brand is Crisis
A Bolivian presidential candidate failing badly in the polls enlists the firepower of an elite American management team, led by the deeply damaged but still brilliant strategist “Calamity” Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock). A story of a strong, powerful woman who’s kicking ass at her job; count me in! Our Brand is Crisis looks like an entertaining and highly enjoyable film with Bullock playing the kind of role she plays best. She’s feisty and funny and a joy to watch so her latest film is definitely one to add to the watchlist. Admittedly probably not quite as amusing as some of her previous films, Our Brand is Crisis looks like a good one regardless. One for the girls (well, and the boys too) Our Brand is Crisis is highly promising contender and one that’s sure to draw a big audience.
Brooklyn is a moving story about a young girl’s decision to depart Ireland for New York, leaving the safety and comfort of her mother’s home. Saoirse Ronan for once gets to use her real accent as Ellis Lacey as she navigates her way through 1950s Brooklyn lured by the promise of America and a better, more exciting life. Saoirse Ronan is a promising young actress who has nailed previous roles and proven herself a joy to watch. Perhaps Brooklyn appeals on a more personal level, and no doubt will to many other young people torn between moving on with their own lives, falling in love and seeing new places, and being there for their families at home, but it looks like a moving and very beautiful drama that’ll no doubt be well worth a watch.
Praised for its fantastic performances, especially that of Charlotte Rampling (who recently appeared in ITV drama Broadchurch) 45 Years looks to be a haunting and emotional story about a married couple about to celebrate their 45 year anniversary. When news of something that reawakens long-hidden and troubling memories surfaces a week before their anniversary, Kate (Rampling) becomes increasingly concerned about her husband’s preoccupation with the new information. 45 Years looks to be a tear-jerker, but one with a hauntingly beautiful story and fantastic performances. To any hopeless romantics 45 Years promises to be an enjoyable, if slightly upsetting, film about relationships and growing old with the person you love. A beautiful-looking little drama that looks to be one to watch.
Many other films emerged from TIFF this year with plenty expected to do well at the Oscars in February 2016. It remains to be seen how well they go down with audiences but for what it’s worth these are the five that I’m most excited for!
Which films are you most looking forward to? Are there any you think are deserving of more recognition? Sound off in the comments!