The Master's appearance at The Venice Film Festival has shot critics and fans into 'Oscars mode,' as possible winners buzz around people lips ahead of the awards.

The Oscars don't kick off until winter 2013, but speculation is already rife that Joaquin Phoenix will win one of the more prestigious awards; Best Actor, for portrayal of Freddie Quell in Paul Thomas Anderson's highly anticipated new film. In fact, to say highly anticipated is an understatement: The Guardian have described it as "unmissable." It is P.T Andersons's follow up film to the hugely popular There Will Be Blood, and the director has a reputation for only making superb films. He shot to fame with Boogie Nights and Magnolia, before the critically acclaimed Punch Drunk Love hit screens. He has been nominated for five Oscars already, and most critics believe this will be his turn to take home the most coveted prize in film.

At the fulcrum of the picture lurks the acting prowess of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Phoenix, who'll both be prominent at the Academy Awards after Christmas. Elsewhere, the festival seems to have paled in insignificance to mastery, "So far there have been a few peaks, like The Master which is brilliantly acted, and outside of competition Spike Lee's documentary on Michael Jackson," said Maria Giulia Minetti, a journalist for Italian daily La Stampa."But overall it's a subdued festival, there's not much money around and maybe cinema right now lacks punch."