Both the Venice Film Festival and the Telluride Film Festival have been underway over the Labor Day Holiday weekend and already some of the potential big awards contenders for the year have started coming into focus as numerous Netflix films seem to be the ones gathering a major share of the praise.
While Martin Scorsese and Netflix’s 3.5-hour “The Irishman” isn’t playing until the New York Film Festival at the end of the month, it’s still one of the most discussed films at both festivals according to several reports.
That’s not all doing well for Netflix though as Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” about a divorce played out from both sides, has played to raves for both the film – unanimously dubbed Baumbach’s best to date – and its stars Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson. It now sits at 95/100 on Metacritic, tied with “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” as the best-reviewed film of the year.
In a more surprising dark horse emergence, Fernando Meirelles’ comedic and emotional “The Two Popes” has become a festival favorite and is generating buzz for its lead Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce. The film is a spin on what three private meetings held between hardline traditionalist Pope Benedict and the more socially-minded current Pope Francis would be like.
All three are potential Best Picture plays for the streamer. Less likely for awards but not for recognition is the return of “Good Time” directors The Safdie Brothers with the Adam Sandler-led drama “Uncut Gems”. Reviews paint it as having the same, if not more, manic energy in its portrayal of an increasingly desperate and frantic compulsive gambler.
Moving away from Netflix and two of the final and very commercial plays of the late 20th Century Fox are also drawing strong reviews. The Brad Pitt-led “Ad Astra” and the Christian Bale/Matt Damon historical action-drama “Ford v Ferrari” have also garnered significant acclaim with Bale and Pitt both taking excellent notices.
“Judy” is drawing wide raves for Renee Zellweger as the late Judy Garland, the work dubbed the best of the actress’ career though the film itself isn’t as gushed about (though still said to be very good). As previously reported, Todd Philips’ “Joker” is garnering an excellent reaction with Venice Film Festival director Alberto Barbera saying earlier today it has a big chance for multiple awards considering.
Amazon’s “The Aeronauts” is not only garnering good reviews but is being seen as a potential commercial play with the film being touted as an old-fashioned adventure and crowdpleaser.
Hirokazu Koreeda’s “The Truth,” Haifaa Al-Mansour’s “The Perfect Candidate,” and as already discussed, as has Trey Edward Shults’ “Waves,” Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow,” and Scott Z. Burns’ “The Report” are also faring well.
Not everything is landing though. Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat” is drawing a very mixed response, as has Oliver Assayas’ high-profile “The Wasp Network”. Roman Polanski’s “An Officer and a Spy” and Nate Parker’s attempt at a comeback with “American Skin” are both getting interesting receptions as well. We’re only part of the way through the festival circuit so stay tuned for more.