TIFF 2012 with Steve Gow

TIFF From a Reporter's Eye View: Day 7

Winners and Losers

9/12/2012

Roger Ebert has already picked the Oscar winner for Best Picture based on what’s screened at TIFF.  And he’s probably right.

The legendary film reviewer blogged that Ben Affleck’s true-to-life thriller Argo should win the big prize this year “because it is the audience favorite coming out of the top-loaded opening weekend…success has an uncanny way of predicting Academy winners.”

That it does.

Just a small peek at some of the top films to play TIFF in the past five years reveals award-winning titles like Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech and The Artist. 

It just goes to show – when it comes to esteem, Toronto’s kinda got it.

As Affleck’s wife Jennifer Garner told me during an interview shortly before TIFF began, “there’s no other film festival that feels as rich and full of movies that you’re going to care about in the next six months as Toronto.”

Although I’m going to bet I’ve seen a couple you won’t.

Tomorrow, I’ll post a list of just a few of my favorites (and maybe some I hated), but there are still highly anticipated films yet to be screened.  For example, I finally got my first taste of a Gala screening at the Roy Thomson Hall last night (after a decade of covering the fest) for the thriller Inescapable.  Yes, I see some festival movies, but usually in the sticky, less-desirable confines of crowded press and industry screenings (where you run the risk of The Cell-Phone Yappers, The Unkempt and Unshowered or simply those so enamored with the world of cinema, they make the Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons seem as tempered as William F. Buckley).

Trust me, you probably won’t catch any pony-tailed movie geeks in pit-stained Big Lebowski t-shirts snorting down corner store beef vindaloo while stumbling down the red carpet entrance at the Roy Thomson Hall Gala presentation of A Royal Affair.

In short, it was kind of nice to be on the other side of the game for once.

I would most certainly gather some empathy from certain people on that note. Sure I get to see a bunch of films (some great but others that I would equate to piercing my eyeballs with a dull serrated breadknife and replenishing the stab wound with malt vinegar).  And yes, at the risk of sounding like a jaded old fart, it is nice that all these movies are here in Toronto, but for many of us so-called “working”, it can be a bit bittersweet. 

People often ask what movies I’ve seen during TIFF.  I can never remember. 

People ask what parties I’ve been to during TIFF.  For me, this simply doesn’t quite happen. 

Frankly, I don’t get that many invites (hey, don’t they know I am the life of the dance floor?!) and even if I did attend, at the end of the day, I am usually too busy prepping for the next day or just plain too pooped to party.  Let alone go sit through even more movies.

As Hostel filmmaker Eli Roth (who is here starring in the horror thriller Aftershock - which he also co-wrote) explained to the Globe and Mail regarding his free time, “it’s torture, actually, to know that these movies are playing in theatres and you can’t go see them.”

And hell, he probably wouldn’t even have to sit next to the guy with the beef vindaloo. 

Steve Gow, The Movie Network

For more, check me out on twitter: @theRealSteveGow