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Oscar season awaits as fall festivals announce films

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Though Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” is putting its stake in the ground as the first major Oscar contender with its great reception by critics and performance at the box-office these last couple of weeks, the official Oscar season won’t truly begin until the Venice Film Festival kicks off at the end of August. From there things will heat up with Telluride, Toronto, New York and other major film festivals. But things are certainly falling into place as some of the most anticipated movies of the fall have already been slated for their world premieres.

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Last week the New York Film Festival announced that David Fincher’s “Gone Girl” will open the festivities for their 51st edition, with Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” also making its world premiere as a centerpiece gala. Those are two of the more high profile entries the fall will have to offer as both are considered Best Picture players. It’s a huge coup for New York, though, who sometimes gets lost in the shuffle after Toronto, Telluride and Venice – the latter of which has also announced their opening film, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s “Birdman.”

This year is different, however. The Toronto International Film Festival has instituted a new rule that makes films that want to screen in the first four days of the fest be either world or North American premieres. The biggest issue this raises is with the Telluride Film Festival, who keeps its selections secret until the day before the fest opens. Many films have double dipped in the past, playing at Telluride first and then heading north to Toronto, but TIFF will no longer allow Telluride to steal its thunder.

“For the first four days, from Thursday through Sunday, it will be North American or world premieres only for the festival,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF’s artistic director, last January. “Essentially, when we agree to and announce a premiere status, we want it to be real and stick and not to have any surprises.”

So add another layer of intrigue to the fall festival circuit this year as it will be interesting to see how all this plays out. Which festival will filmmakers pick, Telluride or TIFF? Will TIFF stick to its guns and push a high-profile film to the back half of the fest if it double dips? The battle for film festival supremacy is on, but for now, the New York Film Festival is making a strong case by avoiding this drama and just grabbing some big name films.

The Venice Film Festival will run from Aug. 27 – Sept. 6. The Telluride Film Festival will go from Aug. 29 – Sept. 1. TIFF is scheduled for Sept. 4 – Sept. 14. The New York Film Festival brings up the rear, running from Sept. 27 – Oct. 13.

Check out what films may be hitting the circuit this fall in the slideshow attached.