×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Early Oscar Buzz: ’12 Years a Slave,’ ‘Prisoners’ Rock Telluride

Pair of dramas provoke powerful reactions

The 40th edition of the Telluride Film Festival has provided solid awards-season launches for  “12 Years a Slave” and “Prisoners” — both last-minute additions to the lineup as “sneak” screenings.

12 Years a Slave,” the 19th century real-life drama from Fox Searchlight, produced a standing ovation and rave reviews on Friday night.

Director Steve McQueen and stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt attended a Q and A after the film.

“It’s the first time I’ve seen the film, and honestly, I’m a little taken aback,” said Fassbender, who has collaborated with McQueen on “Hunger” and “Shame.”

“I think it might be more productive if we all just had a group walk around the block or something,” Pitt added.

But it was Ejiofor who drew the most praise with Oscar pundits, some already putting the actor down as the front-runner to win Best Oscar this awards season.

Variety’s Peter Debruge said of his performance, “Though the film brims with memorable characters, the show ultimately belongs to Ejiofor, who upholds the character’s dignity throughout.”

As for “Prisoners,” Variety’s Scott Foundas called it “a spellbinding, sensationally effective thriller with a complex moral center.”

The “Prisoners” screening did not include stars Hugh Jackman or Jake Gyllenhall, Director Denis Villeneuve and producers Kira Davis, Andrew Kosove, Broderick Johnson, and Adam Kolbrenner attended a Q and A, where  Villeneuve indicated Jackman had expressed initial reservations about taking on the role as an angry father trying to punish the suspected abductor (played by Paul Dano) of his daughter and another girl.

Unlike the Venice and Toronto fests, Telluride organizers opt for a straightforward presentation without red carpets or awards competitions and the organizers refuse to tout any title as a “premiere.” So the official premieres of both “Prisoners” and “12 Years” will take place next week in Toronto on Sept. 6.

Warner Bros.’ “Prisoners” will open Sept. 20. Gyllenhaal portrays the police detective.

Despite the relative lack of fanfare, Telluride’s seen an impressive list of awards contenders in recent years, serving as the awards-season launching pad for “Argo,” “The King’s Speech,” “The Descendants,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Juno,” “Brokeback Mountain,” “Capote” and “The Last King of Scotland.”

SEE ALSO: Telluride Film Festival Unveils Eclectic Lineup

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

    Film Review: 'A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon'

    No asteroids are hurtling toward Earth in “A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon,” though a flying frozen pizza does softly slice the top off an elderly shopper’s hairdo: That’s roughly the level of quirky peril we’re talking about in the latest outing from Aardman Animations, and as usual, the British stop-motion masters cheerfully prove that [...]

  • Slam

    Film Review: ‘Slam’

    The disappearance of a fearless female Palestinian-Australian slam poet triggers suspense and powerful social and political commentary in “Slam,” an outstanding slow-burn thriller by expat Indian filmmaker Partho Sen-Gupta (“Sunrise”). Starring Palestinian actor Adam Bakri (“Omar,” “Official Secrets”) as the missing woman’s conflicted brother, and leading Aussie performer Rachael Blake as a troubled cop, Opening [...]

  • Igo Kantor

    Igo Kantor, Producer and Post-Production Executive, Dies at 89

    Igo Kantor, whose Hollywood career took him from Howard Hughes’ projection room to supervising post-production on “Easy Rider” and producing B-movies like “Kingdom of the Spiders” and “Mutant,” died Oct. 15. He was 89. Kantor, who was born in Vienna and raised in Lisbon, met “Dillinger” director Max Nosseck on the ship to New York. [...]

  • The Lion King

    Average Movie Ticket Price Falls 4% in Third Quarter of 2019

    Average ticket prices for the third quarter have dropped 4% to $8.93, down from Q2’s $9.26, the National Association of Theatre Owners announced today. However, compared with the third quarter of 2018, ticket price has risen 1.1% from $8.83. The summer box office is down 2.13% from 2018, though the third quarter box office is [...]

  • Tilda Swinton to Preside Over The

    Tilda Swinton to Preside Over Marrakech Film Festival

    Tilda Swinton, the iconoclastic British actress and producer, is set to preside over the 18th edition of the Marrakech International Film Festival, succeeding to American director James Gray. Swinton, who won an Oscar and a BAFTA award for best supporting actress for “Michael Clayton,” has been leading an eclectic acting career. She has collaborated with [...]

  • The King Netflix

    Middleburg Film Festival Brings Hollywood to Virginia

    For the last seven years, audiences have flocked to the Middleburg Film Festival. Running October 17th – 21st, and situated in the wine-country hills of historic Middleburg, Virg., the festival usually highlights some of the year’s buzziest titles, and 2019 is no exception. “We’re a smaller festival with fewer overall screenings than other events, so we [...]

  • Kelly McCormick and David Leitch'Fast &

    'Wheelman' Director to Helm 'Versus' From David Leitch, Kelly McCormick (EXCLUSIVE)

    “Wheelman” director Jeremy Rush is in negotiations to helm the action movie “Versus,” with Kelly McCormick and David Leitch producing. Rush will direct the Universal movie from a script penned by “Three Musketeers” scribe Alex Litvak and “American Assassin” writer Mike Finch. Plot details are being kept under wraps, though it will follow the genre [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content