5 September 2013 10:42 PM, PDT | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

After the awards buzz coming out of Venice and Telluride, DreamWorks’ “The Fifth Estate” added a surprising twist to the conversation as it opened the 38th Toronto Festival on Sept. 5.

The pic, written by Josh Singer and directed by Bill Condon, stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. The film is ultra-smart, glossy and so timely that it’s bound to stir up a lot of talk. So the question is how these virtues will work in the awards race.

The film’s advantages: It’s as topical as any film this year, intelligent, suspenseful and features great work by Condon, Singer, the actors (particularly Cumberbatch) and all tech contributors.

Kudos challenges: That same topicality. The rumor a few years ago was that some Academy voters didn’t fall in love with “Social Network” because they didn’t know what Facebook is, so were confused by much of the action. »

- Timothy M. Gray

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