Prediction season gets going pretty early for the Oscars with the run of film festivals throughout the year giving extremely early indications of how those hoping to be running come February might fare, having already run the gamut of critical appraisal. With the Venice Film Festival currently on the go across in Italy, there seems to be one clear film taking home the accolades there which could bode well for its chances further down the line.

The Master is it's director Paul Thomas Anderson's first film since the heavily acclaimed There Will Be Blood in 2007, and centres around the early days of Scientology, a subject that's instantly set to make it one of the most contentious films in the last couple of years given the controversy that already surrounds that religion. It most certainly comes out at an interesting time as far as Hollywood concerns, with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes recently split allegedly owing to differences of opinion on the faith.

In Venice, though, it's been sweeping the board with reaction. The key word is reaction here, because not everyone has liked it, though everyone has come away with a strong opinion, according to Reuters, many are in agreement that its two main stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquin Phoenix are at their finest. The buzz around the film at the event has masked the fact that, compared to previous years, the red carpet has been somewhat lacking in star quality. Indeed, this is perhaps an indicator that the festival's influence is waning - so should we be taking these early predictions surrounding the success of The Master with a pinch of salt? Only time will tell.