July 24--"August: Osage County," the movie based on Tulsa native Tracy Letts' prize-winning play and filmed in Oklahoma last year, will make its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, which runs Sept. 5-15.
The star-studded film featuring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts leading an ensemble cast that also includes Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper and Abigail Breslin will have its gala presentation during the festival that has in recent years become one of the leading launching pads for motion pictures planning to campaign for Academy Awards consideration.
Some had speculated that "August: Osage County" might skip the fall festival circuit when the release date of the film was moved recently from early November to Christmas Day. The Weinstein Company, the movie's distributor, has clearly decided that the film is strong enough to keep it in the minds of both audiences and Academy Award voters for several months with this move.
This world premiere date will be more than three months before "August: Osage County" opens in theaters, and four months prior to Oscar nominations being announced.
Early speculation has centered on the film as a potential best picture candidate and Streep as a best actress nominee in the role of the Weston family matriarch in this story of a Pawhuska-area brood coming together at the Osage County residence when there is a death in the family.
But along with the potential for supporting-actor nominations for stars like Roberts, Margo Martindale and Benedict Cumberbatch, there is the potential for a nomination for Letts, as well: The Tulsan who won both a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for his play adapted the screenplay for the movie and could see notice in that category.
"August: Osage County" was filmed largely inside a residence that the production company purchased in far northern Osage County. Filming also took place in Pawhuska, Barnsdall and Bartlesville.
The producers of "August: Osage County," George Clooney and Grant Heslov, won Academy Awards earlier this year for producing the best picture-winning "Argo" and are clearly hoping to repeat at the next Oscars.
The film's cast also includes Dermot Mulroney, Sam Shepard, Juliette Lewis, Julianne Nicholson and Misty Upham.
Among other films receiving world premieres in Toronto during the festival are Oklahoma native Ron Howard's Formula One-racing movie "Rush," starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl; "Labor Day," starring Kate Winslet and directed by Jason Reitman ("Up in the Air"); and "Railway Man," a World War II drama starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman, both Oscar winners.
The Weinstein Company, which began the Oscar campaign at last year's Toronto festival for "Silver Linings Playbook," will premiere at this festival another of its holiday-season pictures: "Long Walk to Freedom," a Nelson Mandela biopic starring Idris Elba and opening Nov. 29 in theaters.
World Scene Writer Rita Sherrow contributed to this report.
Michael Smith 918-581-8479
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