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Gold Derby nuggets: TIFF premieres Oscar hopefuls | 'The Fighter' contends | Foreign language film hopefuls

September 20, 2010 |  1:18 pm

TIFF-Logo1Nicole LaPorte recaps the race for the Oscars in the wake of the Toronto film fest, including an analysis of a best actress bout between Hollywood vet Annette Bening ("The Kids Are All Right") and the ingenue Natalie Portman ("Black Swan"). As Nicole writes, "With the acquisitions mood relatively low-key -- long gone are the days of all-night bidding wars, thanks to the economy and the slimmed-down independent film market -- the focus was almost entirely on predicting this season's 'The Hurt Locker.' No one seemed to mind that it's still relatively early, and that a number of films already looming large in the Oscar race, such as David Fincher's Facebook movie, 'The Social Network,' and David O. Russell's 'The Fighter,' a boxing drama with Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale, have yet to be released." THE DAILY BEAST

Steve Pond delivers a crackerjack report from Toronto as well, highlighting 10 key moments. Leading off his list: "'The King’s Speech' shows that it's for real. Even before it won the People's Choice Award, Tom Hooper's drama about King George VI's reluctant ascension to the British throne had proven its point at Toronto. With an opening-Friday gala whose rapturous reception matched the one it had reportedly received in Telluride, the dramatic, surprisingly funny and intensely emotional film clearly proved that it has what it takes to win over audiences and remain a major player throughout awards season. Even beyond getting a towering lead performance from Colin Firth and a wry supporting turn by Geoffrey Rush, Hooper shows a light, deft touch, and keeps his film distinctive and quirky enough that it never seems old-fashioned despite a subject matter that could seem a bit dusty. 'The King's Speech' came into Toronto in the top echelon of Oscar contenders, and leaves in the same spot." THE WRAP

The Fighter Bale Wahlberg • While many awards contenders are already in the mix, Paramount isn't releasing "The Fighter" till December. And says Greg Ellwood, "What's expected to seriously assist "Fighter" and make it a true contender is Christian Bale's transformative performance and excellent turns by previous nominees Amy Adams and Melissa Leo (or at least what is being whispered about town). What hasn't been heard is significant buzz for Mark Wahlberg. That doesn't mean 'The Departed' star isn't good in 'The Fighter,' but he may be unfortunately overshadowed by his counterparts. That means he'll most likely need the movie to be a major triumph to land his second nomination." HIT FIX

• The 37th edition of the People's Choice Awards will air Jan. 5 on CBS with Queen Latifah once again hosting. As always, public votes will determine both nominees and winners. And this year, the public will get to choose their favorites among 15 potential new categories. PCA

Lady Gaga and Katy Perry lead with five nominations apiece at this year's MTV Europe Music Awards. The two songbirds compete for best pop, female and song awards, with Rihanna also in the running for those three races. Miley Cyrus also contends for best pop and female, while Usher rounds out the pop field and Shakira completes the female category. The kudocast originates from Madrid on Nov. 7.

Oscars Academy Awards Statues • As always, Nathaniel Rogers is aces at keeping track of all the possible nominees for best foreign language film at the Oscars. He neatly summarizes the announced entries as well as those still in the running for the nod from their respective countries. In addition, he handicaps the likelihood of each film making the final five, including a list of awards already won as well as the history of each country in this highly competitive category. THE FILM EXPERIENCE

Guy Lodge highlights the awards bestowed by the international critics' association FIPRESCI. At Venice they went for the Russian film "Silent Souls" while in Toronto they opted for "L'amour Fou." And, as Guy reports, "once a year, they poll their collected membership to elect a Grand Prix winner for Film of the Year. A list of past winners of the prize, awarded since 1999, reads rather like a greatest-hits compilation of recent arthouse cinema: 'There Will Be Blood,' '4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days,' 'All About My Mother' and so on. So, what's their Film of the Year for 2010? Roman Polanski's 'The Ghost Writer.'" IN CONTENTION

• The tuner version of "Catch Me If You Can" has set an opening date of April 10, 2011, at a Nederlander Broadway house. This musicalization of the movie brings together three Tony champs from "Hairspray" -- songwriting team Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and director Jack O'Brien -- as well as choreographer Jerry Mitchell. Tony-winning playwright Terrence McNally has crafted the book based on the film and autobiography of Frank Abagnale.

Top image: Toronto International Film Festival logo. Credit: TIFF

Middle photo: Mark Wahlberg and Christian Bale in "The Fighter." Credit: Paramount

Bottom photo: Academy Award statues. Credit: AMPAS

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