With the Toronto International Film Festival kicking off on Thursday, believe it or not it’s time for the award season buzz to begin.
All the big names in Hollywood are headed up to our neighbours in the north for the next 11 days to kick off the buzz for their films that will hopefully snowball into nominations on Oscar night early next year.
The latest projects from the biggest directors in the game like Damien Chazelle (“First Man”) and Barry Jenkins (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) will be there, while Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will try to prove they can do more than what they are known for (Cooper directs Gaga in “A Star Is Born”).
Here we’ve highlighted 24 movies playing at the fest that you should check out when they come to a theatre near you.
“22 July” (In Theatres — October 10)
Director Paul Greengrass, known for his realistic style in depicting true events like “Captain Phillips” and “United 93,” focuses on Norway’s deadliest terrorist attack, in which 77 people were murdered while attending a youth camp in 2011. The Netflix movie looks at the aftermath of the event.
“A Star Is Born” (In Theatres — October 5)
The latest remake of this rags to riches story is the directorial debut of Bradley Cooper and has quickly become an early Oscar front runner thanks to the performance by Lady Gaga. In the story Cooper plays an ageing musician who gives a young star (Gaga) her big break.
“American Dharma” (Release TBD)
Errol Morris’ latest documentary portrait focuses on Steve Bannon, the former executive chairman of Breitbart News and White House chief strategist for the first seven months of Donald Trump’s presidency. Morris is no stranger to highlighting controversial figures. His 2003 documentary on Robert McNamara, “The Fog of War,” earned him an Oscar and he also did a film on former US secretary of Defence, Donald Rumsfeld (“The Unknown Known”).
“Beautiful Boy” (In Theatres — October 12)
Based on the memoirs of father and son David and Nic Sheff, Steve Carell and Timothée Chalamet play the Sheffs as it chronicles a family coping with addiction.
“Boy Erased” (In Theatres — November 2)
Joel Edgerton’s latest directing effort follows the son of a Baptist preacher as he’s forced to participate in a church-supported gay conversion program. Along with Edgerton, Lucas Hedges, Nicole Kidman, and Russell Crowe star.
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” (In Theatres — October 19)
Already gaining buzz from its positive screening at the Telluride Film Festival, Melissa McCarthy takes on her most serious performance yet as she plays author Lee Israel, who after her books stop selling in the early 1990s turned to forging letters of deceased famous writers and actors and selling them.
“Cold War” (In Theatres — December 21)
Having already dazzled audiences at this year’s Cannes Film Festival (where it won the best director award for Pawel Pawlikowski), this movie set during the Cold War in 1950s Poland looks at the love story of Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot).
“Destroyer” (In Theatres — December 25)
Karyn Kusama’s (“The Invitation”) latest stars Nicole Kidman as a police detective who sets out to reconnect with people an from one of her old undercover assignments. Expect a lot of best actress chatter for Kidman come Oscar time.
“Fahrenheit 11/9” (In Theatres — September 21)
Michael Moore’s latest documentary looks at the country since Donald Trump took office, and how we got to this point. Expect all the techniques in Moore’s arsenal to be showcased in this one.
“First Man” (In Theatres — October 12)
Damien Chazelle’s latest movie stars Ryan Gosling as Neil Armstrong and chronicles the lead up to him becoming the first man ever to walk on the moon. With the talent involved, Universal may not just have a hit but an Oscar favourite.
“The Front Runner” (In Theatres — November 7 (limited) / November 21)
Hugh Jackman looks for some Oscar love as he plays Senator Gary Hart, who in 1988 sees his presidential hopes fade as he’s engulfed in a love affair scandal.
“The Hate U Give” (In Theatres — October 19)
After witnessing the killing of her best friend by a police office, Starr (Amandla Stenberg) must block out everyone in the community and decide what to do next. Fox could have a sleeper fall hit with this one.
“Her Smell” (Release TBD)
Elisabeth Moss plays a punk rocker struggling with sobriety and regaining her band’s former glory in Alex Ross Perry’s (“Listen Up Philip”) latest movie. Also starring is Cara Delevingne, Dan Stevens, and Amber Heard.
“High Life” (Release TBD)
Robert Pattinson stars in Claire Denis’ latest movie in which a group of criminals are sent out to space to find alternate energy with the promise that they will be freed once they return. But like all Denis movies, there’s always more than what’s on the surface.
“Icebox” (Release TBD)
The feature version of director Daniel Sawka’s acclaimed short film of the same name, we follow young teen Oscar (Anthony Gonzalez) as he flees Honduras, where he’s been forced into a gang, and enters America illegally to live with his uncle and start a new life. But after being caught by the border patrol, we see through Oscar’s eyes the US’ frustrating immigration process. Produced by James L. Brooks, this is one you shouldn’t miss.
“If Beale Street Could Talk” (In Theatres — November 30)
Based on the James Baldwin novel, Barry Jenkins looks at a woman trying to find a way to prove her fiancé is innocent of a crime he’s been charged with. Coming off the success of “Moonlight,” Jenkins could be in store for more Oscar attention.
“Life Itself” (In Theatres — September 21)
Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Annette Bening, Olivia Cooke, Mandy Patinkin, and Antonio Banderas round out this movie that focuses on the relationship of a New York City couple.
“Mid90s” (In Theatres — October 19)
Jonah Hill’s directorial debut brings us back to the 1990s as we follow 13-year-old Stevie as he juggles his troubled household and the friendships he’s building in the LA skater community.
“The Old Man & The Gun” (In Theatres — September 28)
Robert Redford plays Forrest Tucker, who after escaping San Quentin prison at age 70, goes on a string of heists.
“Roma” (In Theatres — December 14)
This Netflix title is generating incredible buzz. Directed by Alfonso Cuarón, this semi-autobiographical story looks at a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City.
“Screwball” (Release TBD)
Florida has always had a reputation for being a little off the rails compared to the rest of the states in the US, and director Billy Corben makes that abundantly clear in his latest documentary. The man behind “Cocaine Cowboys” takes us into the world of performance-enhancing drugs, and delivers a story that is only believable because it happened in Florida. “Screwball” looks at the shady career of Dr. Tony Bosch, who supplied PEDs for some of the biggest names in Major League Baseball, including Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez. Through interviews with Bosch and reenactments using kids (yes, kids), Corben gives us a step-by-step (often hilarious) retelling of MLB’s most embarrassing chapter.
“The Sisters Brothers” (In Theatres — September 21)
Jacques Audiard’s (“A Prophet”) first English-language movie is a Western starring John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix as brothers who are also hit men. Their latest mission to take down a gold prospector isn’t just their most challenging, but also leads the two to some revelations about themselves. The movie has great performances from Jake Gyllenhaal and Riz Ahmed.
“Vox Lux” (Release TBD)
This musical (original music by Sia) is the latest directing effort from actor Brady Corbet (“Simon Killer”). It stars Natalie Portman as a pop star whose career to stardom is explored over the span of decades. A fall movie starring Portman always brings up Oscar chatter, so keep an eye out. Jude Law also stars.
“Widows” (In Theatres — November 16)
Director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) updates the 1980s TV series of the same name that follows four women who go through on the heist their husbands were supposed to do before they were all killed. Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Farrell, and Liam Neeson star.
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