Dave Karger presents...the Tor-Oscars

Gclooney_lThe Toronto International Film Festival doesn’t really give out awards (except an audience prize). But now that I’m back from five days up north, I’d like to create my own prizes for this year’s crop of films. Let’s call them the Tor-Oscars. And the winners are:

BEST PICTURE: Michael Clayton (pictured) With amazing performances by George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Tom Wilkinson; a tightly-coiled script by writer-director Tony Gilroy; and a humdinger of an ending, this isn’t just the movie of the festival, in my opinion. It’s the movie of the year.

BEST DIRECTOR: Joe Wright, Atonement  Before Pride & Prejudice, no one had really heard of this young Brit. But after his masterful work on Atonement, including a mind-blowing 5-minute tracking shot, no one will forget him.

BEST ACTOR: Tommy Lee Jones, In the Valley of Elah  As the father of a missing soldier, the tough guy shows a hidden softer side — and delivers the performance of his career.

BEST ACTRESS: Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth: The Golden Age  Yes, we’ve seen her play this character before. But Blanchett is a screaming, scheming force of nature in this sequel, which she simply owns.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild  The veteran actor doesn’t show up in Sean Penn’s film until the 2-hour mark, but thanks to his gutsy, heartbreaking performance, his sequence is by far the most moving.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Jennifer Garner, Juno  The star of Alias and The Kingdom does no butt-kicking in this sweet comedy. Instead, as a young wife desperately hoping to adopt, she’s funny, a bit tough, and unbelievably touching.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Steve Knight, Eastern Promises  A past Oscar nominee for Dirty Pretty Things, Knight fashions a vivid story of gangsters, midwives, and second chances in seedy London…and lays the groundwork for a career-high performance by Viggo Mortensen.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY, Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men  As they did with Fargo, the brilliant brothers use violence (and dashes of humor) to make us think about the way we, as individuals and a nation, live — and fight.

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  • kelsey

    and … ?
    I can neither agree nor disagree with you, not having seen them. What is it I’m supposed to say? “I wish I had a job where I could hang out at film festivals and watch and review movies all day”?
    Come to think of it, that sounds brilliant. Do you have an internship program at EW?

  • looey

    No love for Brad Pitt’s movie?

  • Julia M

    Kelsey – Not everything that is blogged about on this site is looking for your witty input. Can’t some things be said for the sake of being said? Or did I just miss the part at the beginning where it said, “Kelsey (et al), I’m looking for your feedback” ? That must have been what happened. Get over yourself.

  • Kathleen

    I am SO excited for “Eastern Promises.” I was anti-Cronenberg for a long time but was totally blown away by “A History of Violence.” I got goosebumpy reading your blurb. :)

  • Jarett

    Good to hear! I have been dying to see Clayton and now that I know it’s not a bust, I am about to go crazy like Wilkinson’s character!

  • jonathan

    no love for Daniel Day Lewis? Or Brad Pitt? Or Javier Bardem? Or Steve Zahn (in Rescue Dawn)? Or Jodie Foster?

  • kcholt68

    How can you name anything “best of” when the festival is still going on through Saturday?
    – kch, http://moviedearest.blogspot.com/

  • Yeaaahhh!

    There will be blood that films not doing anything for anybody (Please watch trailer your know what I’m talking about)

  • Emma

    I agree (almost wholeheartedly) – I’ve seen most of the films you’ve mentioned at the festival…but not all…so I can’t judge completely. But I would give an honourable mention to the 4 involved in the making of Sleuth – Kenneth Branagh, Sir Michael Caine, Jude Law and Harold Pinter.

  • graeme

    Whoa. Did EW just jump on the Garner for the Oscar bandwagon for me?
    I loved Garner on Alias, but had turned somewhat impartial towards her with her underwhelming film work.
    Then I saw “Juno”. It appears as though Garner is just going to be playing the uptight, somewhat unlikable yuppie in the flick, but in the end, she blew me away. The “heart” that people are talking about in Juno comes from Garner’s beautifully simple performance. The scene where she talks to the belly of her unborn baby, and a scene towards the end of the film with Allison Janney (I won’t give it away) brought tears to my eyes.
    Welcome back, Jennifer. I’ve missed you, and yes, get ready for the Oscar buzz.

  • Anonymous

    I doubt Oscar voters will give Best Actress to another Queen of England — not when they can vote for Blanchett instead in the Bob Dylan movie.

  • Tyler D

    Michael Clayton??? I saw it on my first night at TIFF and while it dosn’t so anything poorly, it’s so utterly conventional and there’s absolutely nothing spectacular about it at all. It’s almost a paint-by-numbers Hollywood “corporate thriller” with an ending that has been done in a dozen other movies before. Also, while I haven’t seen the film, all the conversations between critics regarding Elizabeth are about how good the performances are in a mediocre film. However, Juno does seem to be the hit of the festival so far, though alot of female critics seem to enjoy Ryan Gossling in “Lars and the Real Girls,” which is a sweet film, though it’s almost cavity-inducingly sweet.

  • Josiah

    Gosh I wish I could have gone to Toronto :( I am pumped to see these movies though — I was going to skip into the wild but now I gotta see it! And Jennifer Garner – Oscar Buzz… Yay! She has to be one of my favorite actresses!

  • Ellen

    Jennifer Garner totally deserves that. Her performance in Juno was a highlight. Ellen Page was excellent too.

  • nrodl bkirxqa

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