Which Oscar contenders play at which film festival?

While we have seen several potential Oscar contenders this summer such as “Blue Jasmine” and “The Butler,” the awards season really gets going on Wednesday with the opening of the Venice film festival. Following on its heels are three other filmfests on this side of the Atlantic that will also showcase a slew of awards hopefuls. 

VENICE (Aug. 28 – Sept. 7)
Last year, Paul Thomas Anderson‘s “The Master” won the Silver Lion for best director and co-stars Joaquin Phoenix and Philip Seymour Hoffman shared the Best Actor award. While the Oscars snubbed Anderson, Phoenix and Hoffman contended in lead and supporting respectively. This year’s world premieres of Oscar hopefuls include: 

Alfonso Cuaron‘s “Gravity,” which stars two-time Oscar winner George Clooney — feted here for both “Good Night, and Good Luck” (2005) and “The Ides of March” (2011) — alongside another Oscar champ, 2009 Best Actress winner Sandra Bullock, as astronauts stranded in space. 

Stephen Frears‘ “Philomena,” which stars 1998 supporting actress champ Judi Dench as a woman searching for the son she long ago gave up for adoption. Frears debuted “The Queen” here in 2006 and Helen Mirren picked up the first of her many prizes, including the Oscar, for playing Elizabeth II

Jonathan Banks‘ “Under the Skin,” with Scarlett Johansson as an extraterrestrial who comes to earth for nefarious purporses. Despite four Golden Globe bids, she has never been nominated for an Oscar.

Peter Landesman‘s “Parkland” focuses on the hospital where President John F. Kennedy died in November 1963. 

TELLURIDE (Aug. 29 – Sept. 2)
This low-key festival in the Rockies is gaining in import. “Argo” debuted here last year, giving those who make the trek to Telluride bragging rights of being the first to see this eventual Oscar champ. 

This year’s lineup won’t be revealed till the day before the fest kicks off and even that may not be exhaustive as “Argo” was a surprise screening. Among those films that might be unfurled in the mountains are a trio of pics by Americans that did well at Cannes — “All is Lost,” “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Nebraska.” 

TORONTO (Sept. 5 – Sept. 15)
The last six Best Picture champs have played this festival, including “Argo,” which built on the buzz that began at Telluride. Last year’s lineup also included the world premiere of another Best Picture nominee, “Silver Linings Playbook,” which won an Oscar for Jennifer Lawrence

Opening this year’s fest will be “The Fifth Estate,” Bill Condon‘s take on the Wikileaks scandal that stars Emmy nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (“Parade’s End”) as whistleblower Julian Assange

Cumberbatch also features in “August: Osage County,” John Wells‘ adaptation of Tracy Lett‘s Pulitzer and Tony-winning play which pits Oscar winners Meryl Streep against Julia Roberts as a battling mother and daughter and is getting the gala treatment in Toronto for its world premiere.

Likewise for:

Justin Chadwick‘s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” with Emmy nominee Idris Elba as the South African political leader; and

Ron Howard‘s “Rush,” a high-octane drama set in the world of auto racing with Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl.

Among those films being feted as Special Presentations besides Venice imports “Gravity” and “Philomena” are:

Jean-Marc Vallee‘s “Dallas Buyers Club” with Matthew McConaughey as a man battling AIDS in the 1980s; 

Jason Reitman‘s “Labor Day” with Oscar champ Kate Winslet as a single mother who shelters an escaped convict (Josh Brolin); 

Denis Villeneuve‘s “Prisoners” with Hugh Jackman as a father who clashes with the detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) investigating his daughter’s disappearance; 

Jonathan Teplitzky‘s “The Railway Man” with Oscar winner Colin Firth as a man hunting down his WWII captor and Oscar champ Nicole Kidman as his stalwart wife; and  

Steve McQueen‘s “12 Years a Slave” with Chiwetel Ejiofor and frequent McQueen collaborator Michael Fassbender clashing this pre-Civil War drama.

NEW YORK (Sept. 27 – Oct. 13) 
Last year, two eventual Best Picture nominees — “Lincoln” and “Life of Pi” — debuted here as did “Flight” which reaped a Best Actor bid for Denzel Washington.

This year’s fest opens with Paul Greengrass‘ “Captain Phillips,” with two-time Oscar champ Tom Hanks as the title character, a man whose ship is overrun with Somali pirates.

Closing night 16 days later is given over to Spike Jonze‘s unconventional love story “Her.”

In between, fare includes the world premiere of Ben Stiller’s “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” in which he also stars as the milquetoast longing for adventure as well as “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Nebraska.”  

Will one of these festival highlights take the top prize at the Oscars next March? Or will the winner be among those films that skip these showcases? Vote below using our easy drag-and-drop menu. 

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