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Telluride and Toronto begin the quest for Oscar gold

Telluride and Toronto begin the quest for Oscar gold
Sally Hawkins in "The Shape of Water." (Kerry Hayes / Fox Searchlight Pictures)

The Toronto International Film Festival is in full swing, while Telluride is over and Venice is wrapping.

Who's up? Who's down? And who's playing Winston Churchill again?

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Welcome to the Gold Standard, the newsletter from the Los Angeles Times that helps guide you through the ins and outs of the awards season leading up to the Oscars.

I'm Glenn Whipp, The Times' awards columnist and your newsletter host.

'Lady Bird,' 'Shape of Water' and 'Darkest Hour' find fans at Telluride

First, let me just welcome you back. It seems like just yesterday when Warren Beatty was opening that envelope, casting a quizzical look at Faye Dunaway and then … well … you remember the rest.

And here we are, starting the whole thing once again, with a new slate of movies, storylines and possibilities.

My colleague Josh Rottenberg went to the Telluride Film Festival where he interviewed Greta Gerwig, the indie actress who wrote and directed the coming-of-age story "Lady Bird." Josh also spoke to director Guillermo Del Toro, whose latest film, a dreamy monster movie titled "The Shape of Water," looks to be his best effort since "Pan's Labyrinth."

You can also read his take on Telluride at large here, while I did a quick roundup of the buzz Telluride and Venice movies were receiving here. (Joe Wright's World War II drama "Darkest Hour" made quite an impression, as did star Gary Oldman's turn as Churchill. Reaction to "Battle of the Sexes" and "Downsizing" was more mixed.)

And if you're looking for a comprehensive guide to most of the high-profile titles premiering at this year's fall festivals, I've got it for you here.

Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence star in "Mother!"
Javier Bardem and Jennifer Lawrence star in "Mother!" (Paramount Pictures)

Toronto Fest ready to get political

The sprawling Toronto International Film Festival is underway with premieres and galas that will bring the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, George Clooney, Emma Stone and Denzel Washington to this beautiful city.

Times film writer Steven Zeitchik previews the festival's bent toward current events here, and gets into a broader overview of the lineup here.

Denzel Washington stars in "Roman J. Israel, Esq.," which will premiere at Toronto.
Denzel Washington stars in "Roman J. Israel, Esq.," which will premiere at Toronto. (Sony Pictures)

L.A. Times at TIFF

The Times has a full staff in Toronto. I'm here, as is Times film critic Justin Chang, reporters Jen Yamato, Steven Zeitchik, Amy Kaufman and Mark Olsen. Times photographer Jay L. Clendenin is hosting a parade of filmmakers and actors in his photo studio.

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You can follow all the Times' TIFF coverage by simply going here. We'll be updating constantly — stories, video interviews and portraits — in between screenings and half-eaten sandwiches.

Feedback?

I'd love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can't get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.

Twitter: @glennwhipp

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