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As the summer of remakes, retreads and '80s revivals grinds its way to a halt, Hollywood turns toward more highbrow fare as award season looms. Right now all eyes are now on the Toronto International Film Festival, where this season's anticipated titles will duke it out for coveted Oscar buzz. On showcase this year at TIFF are Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan, Ben Affleck's The Town, Clint Eastwood's Hereafter, John Cameron Mitchell's The Rabbit Hole and several other prominent contenders. But this year, as Deadline's Mike Fleming reports, the TIFF awards play even more important role: harbingers of Academy Award nominees.

More than Sundance, Cannes, or even Telluride, the Toronto International Film Festival is where quality films come to strut, and where the groundswell of Oscar buzz really starts.

... Toronto will inject some excitement with a slate heavy on inventiveness. That's why it likely will announce both Best Picture candidates and a slew of Best Actor and Best Actress contenders.

And, speaking of those shiny, focus-group tested Hollywood blockbusters, he also has a few interesting explanations for why they fail time and time again to come up with a single original premise:

An over-reliance on “branded” properties that became prevalent over the last several years. Rights holders got first dollar gross deals and say over creative issues and release deadlines, even though they don’t know the first thing about making a good movie.

The rise of one-step screenwriter deals and sweepstakes pitching (where multiple writers compete for a job by pitching ideas for the same assignment). Several writers admitted to me that when their priority is advancing to the next draft, originality goes out the window. They try to please studio executives and producers who thrive in a comfort zone of sameness.

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