10 Biggest Oscar Candidates Playing Toronto

The Toronto International Film Festival, boasting an incredible lineup, kicks off next week. By the end of the festival, there will be much more clarity about which films will be vying for Academy accolades, but it's never too early to start the projections, right? Start your office pool early, this is the sort of knowledge you could easily win a free coffee with!

Here are the ten films we see generating the most Academy buzz in Canada next weekend.

"The Master"

Release Date: September 14, 2012

Oscar Pedigree: Director Paul Thomas Anderson has a healthy five nominations for his work on "Magnolia," "Boogie Nights" and "There Will Be Blood." Lead actor Philip Seymour Hoffman has one win (for "Capote") and three total nominations. Fellow actors Joaquin Phoenix and Amy Adams have five nominations between them, but they are both still seeking their first win.

Oscary Theme? Mostly, yes, but it's not a slam dunk. It's technically about a veteran just returned from war who is captivated by a "charismatic" leader. The Scientology angle has been played down of late, though it's not entirely clear the film will stand on its own without that theme firmly in place. The Toronto International Film Festival will give us a much better indicator as to whether this is a Best Picture frontrunner or also ran.

Most Likely Category: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress.

Overall Odds: It's a mortal lock to tally Best Director and Best Picture nominations. The acting nominations are all up for grabs.

"Hyde Park on Hudson"

Release Date: December 7, 2012

Oscar Pedigree: Bill Murray and Laura Linney have a healthy four nominations between them, but no wins as of yet.

Oscary Theme? Majorly. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, an illicit affair, and The King and Queen of England in New York State in 1939? It's almost as if The Academy wrote this script.

Most Likely Category: A Bill Murray for Best Actor campaign seems likely. At this point, who doesn't love Bill Murray? Best Picture is definitely still on the table, but it's going to need positive reviews to augment potentially weak box office.

Overall Odds: 65 percent for Murray, say 60/40 in favor of a Best Picture nomination.

The Impossible"The Impossible"

Release Date: December 21, 2012

Oscar Pedigree: Naomi Watts has an Oscar Nomination ("21 Grams") and Ewan McGregor is an extremely likable guy.

Oscary Theme? It's about the 2004 tsunami, and they use a cover of U2's "One" in the trailer. So yes, very much so.

Most Likely Category: Best Picture, Best Actress.

Overall Odds: 75 percent for a Best Picture nomination, 65 percent for Ms. Watts, who is way overdue for some Oscar love.

Anna Karenina"Anna Karenina"

Release Date: November 16, 2012

Oscar Pedigree: Jude Law has a couple of nominations to his credit, and Director Joe Wright, while never having personally garnered a nomination, is definitely respected within the industry for Oscar nominated films such as "Pride and Prejudice" and "Atonement".

Oscary Theme? Yes. It's a literary adaptation, which The Academy tends to adore.

Most Likely Category: Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress (Kelly MacDonald is officially on The Academy's radar after "Boardwalk Empire" and "No Country for Old Men").

Overall Odds: It will certainly get a nomination somewhere, but Keira Knightley feels like the best bet given her previous nomination for "Pride and Prejudice".

"Silver Linings Playbook"

Release Date: November 21, 2012

Oscar Pedigree: Director David O. Russell is coming off a Best Director nomination for "The Fighter." Robert DeNiro has a couple of Oscar wins to his name and Jennifer Lawrence was recently nominated for her work in "Winter's Bone".

Oscary Theme? Mental institutions? Check. A shot at reconciliation with an ex-wife? Check. This is Wheelhouse City, population: The Academy.

Most Likely Category: Best Director, Best Picture, and possibly a "thanks for everything!" nomination for DeNiro, though there's some chance his recent "Fockers" work will be held against him.

Overall Odds: Another film that will get multiple nominations, and the chances for a Best Picture slot are better than even.

To the Wonder"To The Wonder"

Release Date: TBD

Oscar Pedigree: Director Terrence Malick has previous directorial nominations for "The Thin Red Line" and "Tree of Life," as well as a writing nomination on "The Thin Red Line". Castmates Ben Affleck and Javier Bardem are both previous Academy Award winners.

Oscary Theme? A "romantic drama" about reconciliation. Bingo!

Most Likely Category: Best Picture feels far fetched, although "Tree of Life" managed a nomination on the strength of Malick's prior work. Nevertheless, "To the Wonder" will likely score down the ballot with Cinematography and Supporting nods.

Overall Odds: Extremely likely to grab a nomination or two if it's released in 2012 - but there's the catch. It still doesn't have a U.S. release date, and will need to scoop up some critical love to leverage a marketing campaign. Otherwise it's looking at 2013.

"Bad 25"

Release Date: TBD

Oscar Pedigree: Director Spike Lee has been nominated twice, once for "Do the Right Thing" and once for Best Documentary ("4 Little Girls").

Oscary Theme? It's a documentary about Michael Jackson's "Bad" record.

Most Likely Category: Best Documentary.

Overall Odds: 90 percent. The Academy loves pop music, but can't ever figure out an authentic way to get it into the broadcast. Problem solved!

Marion Cotillard in Rust and Bone"Rust and Bone"

Release Date: November 16, 2012

Oscar Pedigree: Director Jacques Audiard has never personally been nominated, but his previous film, "A Prophet" was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year. Lead Actress Marion Cotillard is an Oscar Winner.

Oscary Theme? A former professional kick-boxer, a killer whale trainer, and a horrible accident. Yes, that works, especially given it will be competing in the "Foreign Language" category.

Most Likely Category: Best Foreign Language Film.

Overall Odds: Pretty close to a sure thing, The Academy loves when prior nominees show up again.

"The Place Beyond the Pines"

Release Date: TBD

Oscar Pedigree: Director Derek Cianfrance has plenty of industry buzz for "Blue Valentine", though no actual Oscar nominations to his name as of yet. Lead Actor Ryan Gosling was nominated for his work in "Half Nelson" and is coming off a massive snub for his work in "Drive."

Oscary Theme? Yes indeed, a motorcycle stuntman considers a life of crime to support his family.

Most Likely Category: Seems loaded in the acting categories, there are plenty of people involved The Academy would enjoy having on the docket (Gosling, Eva Mendes, Ray Liotta).

Overall Odds: Extremely likely to pick up an acting nomination. But Best Picture? Probably not. The other sticking point is it's being released in 2013 internationally, so will this be a 2013 Oscar contender instead?

"The Company You Keep"

Release Date: TBD

Oscar Pedigree: Director Robert Redford won an Oscar for "Ordinary People" (Best Director). Actress Julie Christie is also a former Academy Award winner.

Oscary Theme?: Mostly, yes, a former member of the Weather Underground goes on the run.

Most Likely Category: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay.

Overall Odds: Right now the odds are stacked against it as it's listed as a "thriller." Still, there's an element of history, and anything Robert Redford directs, at this point, is guaranteed a real hard look from The Academy. This is another film that will use TIFF buzz to build its case.

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