Top brass at the New York Film Festival (NYFF) issued their second statement of intent within a week as it emerged that Paul Thomas Anderson’s crime mystery will receive its world premiere on October 4.

Inherent Vice stars Joaquin Phoenix as Doc Sportello, the stoned private eye from Thomas Pynchon’s fog-shrouded, 1970-set allegory about the United States.

The film will play as the centerpiece selection at the 52nd New York Film Festival, set to run from September 26-October 12. NYFF director Kent Jones called it a “wildly funny, deeply soulful, richly detailed and altogether stunning movie.”

Last week NYFF announced that Fox/New Regency’s thriller Gone Girl starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike would open the festival.

While Inherent Vice will almost certainly pose a greater challenge to viewers given the nature of the book and the eccentric style of its director, it marks the second must-see likely awards contender that NYFF has snapped up.

So far the only other major autumn festival to place a flag in the sand has been Venice, which announced recently that the opening night film on August 27 would be Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu’s Birdman.

There has been no word yet from the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which is expected to announce shortly.

Earlier this year TIFF leaders followed the example of the Venice Film Festival hierarchy when they issued distributors and film representatives with a no-fly-zone directive of sorts over Telluride, finally pulling the trigger in a muted wrangle with the Colorado event that has lasted for years.

The customary approach of the exclusive, artsy Telluride has been to poach (likely) world premiere selections from Toronto and Venice, which arrive in Italy and Canada days later effectively stripped of any bona fide claim to world premiere status.

After Venice said last September that films that screen first in Telluride will not be eligible to play in competition on the Lido, TIFF top brass took aim at Telluride when they decreed in January that only true world and North American premieres would be entitled to a coveted first-weekend slot in Canada.

Two of Anderson’s films have premiered at NYFF before: Boogie Nights in 1997 and Punch-Drunk Love in 2002.

Warner Bros has scheduled a December 12 platform release for Inherent Vice in the US prior to wide expansion on January 9, 2015. The cast includes Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, Eric Roberts and Jena Malone.