Telluride film festival shows slew of Oscar contenders: ‘Steve Jobs,’ ‘Black Mass,’ ‘Suffragette’ …

Over the Labor Day weekend, those who make the trek to the Telluride filmfest will get to see nine of the leading Oscar contenders. In the past several years, this low-key gathering has turned into a important stop on the road to the Oscars. Four recent Best Picture winners — “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), “The King’s Speech” (2010), “Argo” (2012) and “12 Years a Slave” — had their world premieres here while both 2011 winner “The Artist” and last year’s champ “Birdman” made their North American debuts at this Rocky Mountain resort. 

Of this year’s Oscar contenders, Telluride will see three world premieres and a half dozen more that first screened first at a European film festival. Below are brief overviews of these nine films, including studios, stateside release dates, other festival appearances, plot descriptions, cast lists, directing and screenwriting credits. After reading these, be sure to make your Oscar predictions for Best Picture using the easy drag-and-drop menu at the bottom of this post. Don’t worry, you can keep changing your predictions right up until Oscar nominations are announced on Jan. 14. 

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Room” – A24 – Oct. 16
TIFF (Special Presentation)
A young woman (Brie Larson) is kidnapped and bears a child before escaping from her captor.
Directed by Lenny Abrhamson; adapted by Emma Donoghue from her novel of the same name.

Steve Jobs” – Universal – Oct. 9
NYFF (Centerpiece)
Michael Fassbender plays the computer wiz, with Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen as his colleagues.
Directed by Danny Boyle.
Aaron Sorkin adapted Walter Isaacson’s 2011 biography of the same name. 

Suffragette” – Focus Features – Oct. 23
The story of the efforts of women in early 20th century Britain to get the vote. Stars Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham-Carter and Meryl Streep.
Directed by Sarah Gavron.
Screenplay by Abi Morgan.


45 Years” – Sony Pictures Classics – TBD
Berlin; TIFF (Special Presentation)
A couple’s upcoming celebration of their 45th wedding anniversary is upset by news that the body of the husband’s first love has finally been found in the Swiss alps. Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay star and both won acting awards at Berlin.
Directed by Andrew Haigh, who adapted David Constantine’s short story “In Another Country.” 


Carol” – The Weinstein Company – Nov. 20
Cannes (Rooney Mara tied for Best Actress)
A married woman (Cate Blanchett) falls in love with a store clerk (Rooney Mara). Co-stars Kyle Chandler and Sarah Paulson.
Directed by Todd Haynes, who adapted Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel “The Price of Salt.”

Son of Saul” – Sony Pictures Classics – TBD
Cannes (Grand Prix winner); TIFF (Special Presentation)
A Hungarian-Jewish prisoner (Geza Rohrig) in Auschwitz tries to arrange the burial of a boy he believes to be his son. 
Directed by Laszlo Nemes.
Screenplay by Nernes and Clara Royer. 


Beasts of No Nation” – Netflix/Bleecker Street – Oct. 16
Venice (Competition), TIFF (Special Presentation)
Set in an unnamed West African country, Idris Elba plays a rebel who recruits a child soldier (Abraham Attah).
Directed by Cary Fukunaga who adapted Uzodinma Iweala’s novel of the same name.

Black Mass” – Warner Bros. – Sept. 18 
Venice (Out of Competition); TIFF (Special Presentation)
Boston crime boss Whitey Bulger (Johnny Depp), whose brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch) was a state senator, acted as an FBI informant for more than three decades. Features Sienna Miller, Joel Edgerton and Kevin Bacon.
Directed by Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart”).
Mark Mallouk and Jez Butterworth adapted the 2001 book “Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob” by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill.

Spotlight” – Open Road Films – Nov. 6
Venice (Out of Competition); TIFF (Special Presentation)
A group of Boston Globe reporters uncover a massive cover-up by the Catholic archdiocese of child molestation. Stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams.
Directed by Thomas McCarthy (“The Station Agent”).
Screenplay by McCarthy and Josh Singer

Make your Oscar predictions beginning with Best Picture at the bottom of this post.  You could earn a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 Users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s Oscar nominations). Last year the Top 24 Users led the way with an accuracy rate of 76.67% when it came to predicting the Oscar nominations. Next up were Gold Derby’s Editors with 74.44%, followed by the Experts with 71.11% and all Users with 68.09%. (Click on any of these groups to see what they got right and wrong last year.)

Which group will be victorious this year? Meet the guy who won our contest to predict the Oscar nominations last year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar. As some of our Users turn out to be our smartest prognosticators, it’s important that you give us your predictions. Your picks influence our Users racetrack odds, which also factor into our official combined odds.

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