The six-month-long awards season is officially underway with the Venice/Telluride/Toronto Film Festivals, and perhaps the strongest Best Picture candidate just emerged out of Telluride yesterday. Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and produced by Affleck, George Clooney and Grant Heslov, ARGO tells the true story of the Iran Hostage Crisis. Iranian militants who took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979 held 52 people hostage and the crisis lasted 444 days until all were released on Jan 21, 1981. But the incredible real story of the prevoiusly unknown six, as portrayed in ARGO, was classified and not detailed until President Clinton declassified it in 1997.
As Deadline Hollywood writes, “The film not only works as a suspense thriller, it also has strong comedic elements thanks to the Hollywood angle, especially with the jaded producer played by Alan Arkin (‘If I am going to make a fake movie, it better be a fake hit!’) and John Goodman who plays Oscar winning make up artist John Chambers who played a key role in setting up the ruse for Mendez.” Buzz surrounding ARGO first began at last February’s Oscars Governors Ball, when a top Warners exec predicted this film, which was still in post at the time, could be the studio’s best shot at top Oscar attention in 2012. Looks like they could be right. You can read Deadline’s rave review of ARGO by CLICKING HERE.
And as anyone who was present at Telluride yesterday can tell you, half the talk of the town was about Affleck’s ARGO while the other half centered around Bill Murray‘s extraordinary portrayal of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in Hyde Park on Hudson, “a seriocomic look at an eventful weekend at the chief executive’s country estate as well as at his unusual domestic arrangement.” The Hollywood Reporter writes, “With Britain’s King George VI playing an important part in the proceedings as a house guest, audiences will be no doubt be encouraged to think of this classy, mildly ribald slice of biographical arcania as this season’s ‘The King’s Speech’, bolstered by the fact that both leaders had to deal with physical impairments. Reflecting a time when the intimate secrets of our leaders could truly be securely kept from the public, this Focus Features holiday release seems eminently promotable as a refined treat that’s nonetheless palatable to a wide audience.” You can read the full glowing review of Hyde Park on Hudson at TheHollywoodReporter.com.