6 Things We Learned from the 2011 Venice Film Festival


  • Shame is probably not going to be a mainstream success, but it may get Fassbender his first Oscar nomination
    • One of the most buzzed-about films at Venice has to be Steve McQueen’s new film, Shame. It earned a flurry of attention first for its gritty subject matter, and the suggestions of an NC-17 rating that came along with it. But while some feared that this could scare off potential distributors, Fox Searchlight was quick to scoop the film up. But Oscars buzz really heated up when the film’s star, Michael Fassbender, won the Coppa Vulpi award (the Venice equivalent to “Best Actor”) for his performance in the film. Literally overnight, Fassbender became a legitimate Oscar contender in the eyes of many (he originally was thought by many to have a better chance at a Best Actor nomination with David Cronenberg’s new film, A Dangerous Method). I’m avoiding making any rash changes to my own predictions, but I certainly think that Fassbender is a much more viable contender, now.
  • The Ides of March may not be the Oscar juggernaut many once thought
    • While the film did receive mainly positive reviews, the critical buzz for Clooney’s latest flick was more muted than a lot of people had expected. As well, Ryan Gosling, who was previously considered a strong contender in the Best Actor race, received somewhat tepid reviews for his performance. I’m not counting it out yet, though.
  • Fish Tank was not a fluke
    • Director Andrea Arnold received raves for her direction of Fish Tank (which starred the omnipresent Michael Fassbender), and it looks like she’s crafted another moody gem with her adaptation of Wuthering Heights, which won the Osella award for Best Cinematography. Though the film did receive mixed reviews at Venice, those who liked it seemed to love it, and many critics championed it dark tone and visual style.
  • Watch out for Gary Oldman and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
    • Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy took the spotlight early on at Venice, and the response seemed to be quite positive. Gary Oldman, especially, earned raves, and it looks like it could be the crowd-please that The Ides of March might not turn out to be.
  • Critics didn’t love Albert Nobbs, but they did like Glenn Close and Janet McTeer
    • The period drama Albert Nobbs failed to garner much buzz at the festival, and reviews were quite mixed, but its two leads did receive praise. Close received predictably strong reviews, but the early lack of enthusiasm about the film could hurt her Oscar campaign. However, Janet McTeer can only benefit from the strong reviews for her performance. I still don’t think she’s a major contender, but she’s certainly not out of the race, either.
  • Carnage and A Dangerous Method didn’t excite
    • Though they received generally positive (but not glowing) reviews, Carnage and A Dangerous Method didn’t turn out to be the critical darlings that many had predicted. While films like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Shame are on the upswing after Venice, these two didn’t seem to gain or lose much from the critical response.

Almost all of these films are screening at TIFF, so we’ll certainly be hearing about them over the next few days. All of this can easily change, but I found it interesting to gauge what the buzz was like at the first huge festival of Oscar season.

And for more photos and news from Venice (as well as the latest Oscar news, as always) be sure to check out Times Like Those on Tumblr!

3 responses to “6 Things We Learned from the 2011 Venice Film Festival

  1. You planning to do a similar “What we learned from TIFF” and updating of the oscar predictions in response to these fests? Great as always

  2. And to that – do you not think Wuthering Heights or Jane Eyre are oscar likelies? Or Coriolanus, as the anti costume drama? I still can’t figure out how Like Crazy has oscar buzz….

    • I think I probably will do a similar entry when TIFF wraps up, and I’ll definitely be updating my predictions soon – there are a couple things I need to change (adding The Artist for Best Actor and Best Picture is the major one).

      Personally, I don’t think Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre will be major Oscar players. They could get Costume Design and possibly Cinematography nominations, though. I thought Michael Fassbender was fantastic in Jane Eyre and certainly deserving of a nomination, but he doesn’t seem to be getting much buzz for that performance.

      Even from the trailer, it’s still difficult to get much of an impression about Coriolanus. Vanessa Redgrave seems like a real possibility for Supporting Actress, though. I had high hopes for Like Crazy after the response at Sundance, but it seems like the film has lost a lot of momentum (though I’m still looking forward to it), and Martha Marcy May Marlene has kind of taken over as the indie hit of the year. Felicity Jones has slipped out of my predictions recently.

      Thanks for your continued support!

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