The National Society of Film Critics, of which I am a member, had a choice between "Life" and death today, and they chose death. That is to say, Lars Von Trier's doomsday celebration "Melancholia" beat out Terence Malick's cheerier "Tree of Life" for Best Picture by one vote. "Tree of Life" would make a comeback with Best Director and Best Cinematography somewhat later in the four-and-a-half meeting, but not before "Melancholia' scored again with Best Actress with Kirsten Dunst.
On third ballot, "Moneyball." Runner-up is "Margaret." A motion was passed to issue a statement criticising Fox Searchlight for offering no screeners for "Margaret" and screening it for members days before the meeting. Despite this it has gotten numerous votes in various categories suggesting that had more members been able to see it it might have won some of these awards.
After three ballots, Brad Pitt in "Moneyball." Runner-up was George Clooney for "The Descendants." A problem: the Michael Fassbender vote was divided between "Shame," "A Dangerous Method," and "Jane Eyre." If they were combined, he would have won.
It doesn't take long at the Toronto International Film Festival, the biggest in the world in many ways and the one where the studios and independents showcase their Fall releases and put them through an Oscar trial run, to learn how the world works.To figure out how the ticketing system here works is another matter. Be that as it may, many of the films seem to have as their theme the inside story on how the really important things operate behind the scenes.