Oscars News: Think again if you believe the Best Actress race is ‘thin’ this year

Glenn Whipp says to “think again” if you believe the Oscar race for Best Actress is “thin” this year. He partially blames “the allure of the new, with some pundits flailing their arms each time an unseen movie debuts.” A few days ago, Julianne Moore (“Stil Alice”) jumped to the tops of prediction lists strictly because she came out of nowhere and was the most recent person to be screened. Along with Moore, Reese Witherspoon (“Wild“) and Felicity Jones (“The Theory of Everything”) are strong possible choices. He also adds in the lesser-viewed Gugu Mbatha-Raw (“Belle”), Marion Cotillard (“The Immigrant“), Lindsay Duncan (“Le Week-End”), and Jenny Slate (“Obvious Child”) to consider. L.A. Times

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Gregory Ellwood provides eight important revelations after Venice, Telluride, and Toronto. After winning the People’s Choice Award in Toronto, he says “The Imitation Game” now has a “huge head start” for the Oscars. The Best Actor race may be “even more competitive” than thought, and several men will be very disappointed to be left off the Oscar list. With at least 12-15 strong men under consideration, the four who “should be in” for certain are Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher“), Benedict Cumberbatch (“The Imitation Game”), Michael Keaton (“Birdman“), and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything“). Also, Julianne Moore (“Still Alice“) has completely “flipped” the Best Actress race. HitFix

Three critics offer their choices for the best festival films. Justin Chang selects “Birdman,” “From What Is Before,” “Rosewater,” “Seymour: An Introduction,” and “Time Out of Mind.” Peter DeBruge chooses “Birdman,” “Gyeonju,” “The Imitation Game,” “A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence,” and “While We’re Young.” Scott Foundas picks “Birdman,” “The Duke of Burgundy,” “Horse Money,” “Top Five,” and “While We’re Young.” Variety

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Scott Feinberg believes that the new documentary “Merchants of Doubt” has a “noble and important mission, and executes it well.” Director Robert Kenner had a previous Oscar nomination in 2009 for “Food, Inc.” The new film is about people “who essentially sell their souls to corporations that pay them to deceive the public.” These PR flacks are pushing cigarettes and the foes of global warming. Hollywood Reporter

Etan Vlessing reports that the Toronto Film Festival CEO still strongly supports their strategy to discourage distributors from taking their Oscar contenders to the rival Telluride festival. Piers Handling says that “film buyers and the media prepared for a front-end loaded event this year, and will embrace a stretched-out film schedule next year.” Hollywood Reporter

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