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Strategic previews an asset for aspiring Oscar winners?

January 15, 2015 - UNITED STATES

Nominees for the 87th Academy Awards will be announced Jan 15, 2015. If the pattern holds, two biopics about notable Britons and a film about a woman afflicted with Alzheimer's disease are in line for gold-plated Oscars.

They were previewed, widely reviewed and deemed standouts at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in Canada in September 2014, an event said to be a predictor of Academy Award success.

Movie makers target the Toronto festival to preview new movies because the strategy has been shown to work. According to Time Magazine, TIFF's recent record for introducing winners has been spotless. The last seven winners of the Best Picture Oscar -- No Country for Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker, The King's Speech, The Artist, Argo and 12 Years a Slave -- all appeared at TIFF in the festival's first long weekend.

The first of the new movies dubbed Oscar material is The Imitation Game, starring British actor Benedict Cumberbatch. He portrays Alan Turing, a math prodigy and cryptanalyst whose mission is to break the Nazis' Enigma code. The second film timed for an Oscar is The Theory of Everything, a biopic about Stephen Hawking. British actor Eddie Redmayne portrays the disabled physicist. The Daily Beast newspaper noted in September, 2014, that the pair of biopics "were practically stitched by hand in a clandestine awards factory beneath the Dolby Theatre" in Los Angeles.

The third, Still Alice, stars Julianne Moore as a linguistic professor afflicted with Alzheimer's. Moore's performance and the film drew reviewer attention at TIFF as Oscar material.

Voting begins on February 6 and ends on February 17. 87th Academy Awards will be presented at the ceremony on February 22.

Academy Awards

Cranky Guy: Why I Skipped the Toronto Film Festival This Year (Time 14 Sep 2014)

Oscar\\\'s Battle of the Brits: (Daily Beast 11 Sep 2014)

Date written/update: 2015-01-10