"The Silver Linings Playbook" came into the Toronto film festival as an Oscar outsider, but this comedy drama, based on Matthew Quick's bestseller, left as one of the frontrunners.
Two years ago, helmer David O. Russell relaunched his once-promising career with "The Fighter," which netted him his first Oscar nod and won the supporting prizes for both Christian Bale and Melissa Leo. That film's star, Mark Wahlberg, a long-time Russell fan, was to star in his adaptation of "Playbook" but took a pass, freeing up the role of a recovering mental patient for Bradley Cooper.
"The Hangover" star proves he has the acting chops to handle this complicated character and is a strong contender in the Best Actor race. And his co-star, Jennifer Lawrence, wowed with her portrayal of a young woman with issues of her own who becomes his unlikely ally.
Lawrence, a 2009 Best Actress nominee ("Winter's Bone"), also headlined the box office juggernaut "The Hunger Games" this year, proving she has commercial as well as critical appeal. Our pal Pete Hammond (Deadline) said, "Lawrence leaps to the front of the pack with a revelatory performance that seemed to knock most observers out."
Steve Pond (The Wrap) called the film, "a perfectly calibrated comedy that is also deeply moving; it's another major step in Russell's comeback from movie limbo, and a mainstream film with enough heart and clout to immediately figure into a number of Oscar races, definitely including Best Picture."
And Jeff Wells (Hollywood Elsewhere) writes, "Nobody knows who's going to win anything at this stage, but you can count on the following for sure. One, it's a lock for a Best Picture nomination (and is way more promising in this regard than Argo, Sasha Stone!), Russell is a likely nominee for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, Jennifer Lawrence is a cast-iron lock for Best Actress, Bradley Cooper delivers the richest and most naturalistic performance of his career and may be in line for a Best Actor nom, Robert DeNiro gives his most touchingly emotional performance since you-tell-me and is almost certain to be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and....I've said this already, right?...the film is going to make money hand over fist."
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Below, meet our past winners of recent award prediction contests.
Oscar Nominations: New York state resident Tim Kressner (gufa54) won $1,000 for reaping the highest percentage (78%) when predicting Academy Award noms. Watch our video chat with him here and learn his strategy for making picks. See the leaderboard here. See Kressner's predix here.
Golden Globes (Film): Mario Gomez, a med studen in Mexico, won our contest with the highest percentage of correct picks (86%) and highest point score (2,693). See our video chat with him here. Two other contestants also scored 86%: lulo1989 and eastwest. Tom O'Neil reaped best Experts' score. David Schnelwar had top score among our Editors. See the leaderboard here to see if you made the top tier.
Critics Choice Nominations: Bryce H scored an impressive 83% when sizing up 20 categories. That was one percentage point ahead of our smartest Editor, Daniel Montgomery. Our top Expert was also one of our Editors, Paul Sheehan, who reaped 74%. To see how you performed, check out our leaderboard plus the score section of your account page.
Golden Globe (Film) Nominations: Jonathan was our top User, reaping a staggering 86% when forecasting the lineup of 10 categories. That put him six percentage points ahead of our best Expert -- Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) -- and eight ahead of our leading Editor, Daniel Montogomery. Did you made the cut on the leaderboard score breakdown?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winners: Christian aced all rivals, scoring 82%. That was almost 20 percentage points ahead of our top Expert (Edward Douglas of ComingSoon ) and Editor (Matt Noble), both of whom earned scores of 64%. Christian foresaw that surprise screenplay win for "Before Midnight." See leaderboard.