5 Early Oscar Best Picture Favorites, And When You Can See Them

By Kristy Puchko 2014-09-04 07:20:48discussion comments
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The blockbusters of summer have had their time. Now, we step into fall with relish, and that means diving into film festivals, with the buzz generated by critical darlings. This year's Telluride Film Festival has just drawn to a close. The Venice Film Festival wraps up next week, in the thick of the Toronto International Film Festival. And hot on their heels comes the New York Film Festival.

Between these four fests, cinephiles and critics will have a chance to preview titles that are sure to be the most talked about of award season. We've sorted through the buzz of Telluride, Venice, TIFF and NYFF to distill what five movies you must see to stay in the conversation this year.

 Birdman
Birdman
What's It About? Michael Keaton stars in this meta dark comedy as Riggan Thomson, a washed up actor who won fame and fortune decades before playing the titular superhero in the movies. Now, he's struggling to stay relevant with a new show on Broadway, but his old alter ego Birdman may be driving him mad. Edward Norton, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis and Emma Stone co-star.

The Buzz: From its first trailer, Birdman has been enticing. Once it debuted at the Venice Film Festival last week, anticipation transformed into critical praise. This rare and daring comedy from Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) is shot to look as if it's all one take. But better yet, it delivers. Critics are raving. Variety's Peter Debruge called it, "A triumph on every creative level, from casting to execution."

When Can You See It? Birdman opens in the U.S. in limited release on October 17th.
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