Oscars News: Is ‘The Imitation Game’ on the right track for big Oscar wins?

Anne Thompson reminds that the Oscar Best Picture winner is often the same as Toronto’s People’s Choice Award champ. If that is the case this time, could we already crown “The Imitation Game” with Benedict Cumberbatch? Other recent films that accomplished the double victories were “The King’s Speech,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” and “American Beauty.” Watch a new video interview with Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, and director Morten Tyldum as they promote the film at the festival. The film opens nationwide in the United States on November 21. Thompson on Hollywood

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Jordan Ruimy offers up his “best of the fest” from Toronto. The top lead performers were Julianne Moore (“Still Alice” and “Maps to the Stars“) and Eddie Redmayne (“The Theory of Everything”). The best supporting players were Laura Dern (“Wild” and “99 Homes”), Keira Knightley (“The Imitation Game”), Kristen Stewart (“Still Alice”), and J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash“). Awards Daily

Sharon Waxman believes there is a “Steve Jobs effect” going on with at least three of this year’s major Oscar contenders. She says that in those films, “brains over brawn define heroes.” In “The Theory of Everything,” Eddie Redmayne plays physicist Stephen Hawking. Benedict Cumberbatch portrays the brilliant mathematician Alan Turing in the World War II film “The Imitation Game.” In “Pawn Sacrifice,” Tobey Maguire plays chess genius Bobby Fischer against Liev Schreiber as Soviet grandmaster Boris Spassky. The Wrap

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Erica Abeel proclaims the new film “Foxcatcher” is one of the Toronto standouts. Winner of Best Director at Cannes for Bennett Miller, she says that it “engages on so many levels, it practically reinvents the genre and renders the whole question of reality-based or not moot.” The film “belongs to Steve Carell in a transformative role” in a “portrait of a sicko.” Huffington Post

Betsy Sharkey concludes her coverage in Toronto by saying it “closes with a whimper.” While some films and performances are being praised “to Everest levels,” they can’t completely “overcome the current movie malaise.” She asks “why wasn’t it as satisfying?”. It wasn’t the fault of Toronto: “keep in mind that Venice was tepid, Cannes was muted and Sundance, which usually sizzles even in the snow, was a little cold.” L.A. Times

The Damien Chazelle film “Whiplash” wins the Grand Prize and Audience awards at the 40th annual Deauville festival in France. The upcoming film “The Good Lie” with Reese Witherspoon picks up the Jury Prize. Other highlights included career tributes to producer Brian Grazer, actress Jessica Chastain, and the late Robin Williams. Variety

Mike Fleming, Jr. thinks the film executive of the year should be IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring. He agreed to fund director and writer Richard Linklater for over a dozen years to shoot “Boyhood.” Calling it “a crazy gamble,” it co-stars Patricia Arquette and Ethan Hawke as parents to a boy (Ellar Coltrane) who literally grows up over the course of those 12 years. Deadline

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