Denzel Washington, Frances McDormand Bring Joel Coen’s ‘The Tragedy of Macbeth’ to the Oscars Race

The early days of awards season bring buzz and promise, but they also mean it’s time for studios to develop strategy and brainstorm opportunities to strike.With the Toronto International Film Festival handing out its prestigious People’s Choice prize to Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast,” the Focus Features drama has the authority to declare itself the best picture front-runner for this awards season — but holding on to the throne won’t be easy.Speaking of thrones, Joel Coen’s adaptation of “The Tragedy of Macbeth,” his first solo directorial helm without his brother Ethan in years, played like gangbusters at the Sept.

24 opening night of the New York Film Festival.Taking on William Shakespeare is always a daunting task, with some films finding success (such as Branagh’s 1996 “Hamlet” or Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 version of “Romeo + Juliet”) and others not so much.Set as a black-and-white period piece,

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