His debut short-term 12 film did much to build the film career of John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, LaKeith Stanfield, Stephanie Beatriz and Brie Larson, who has come together here in a lead role with Cretton.
The 44th Toronto International Film Festival kicks off today and signals that the festival season is now in full swing. Although it has always been a major stop on the circuit, this year it returns with additional bragging rights: In 2018 the festival premiered the eventual winner of the Best Picture Award – Green Book, which won the audience award of the festival. It had been nearly six years since a film skipped Venice and Telluride to TIFF to take home the highest honor from the film industry.
Loved films from Venice and Telluride like Marriage Story, Uncut Gems, Waves, Ford V Ferrari, Parasite, A Portrait of a Lady on Fire, and the much anticipated Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix, will all show up over the next few days and likely earn more positive reviews. As these films look to continue their momentum and enviable scores on the Tomatometer (Marriage Story, Uncut Gems, Waves, Ford / Ferrari, Parasite and A Portrait of a Lady on Fire are all still fresh at 100%), there are a few TIFF titles that could disrupt the race and displace some of the leading contenders. Here are the TIFF world premieres we think would make a significant impact on award season and possibly win.
Synopsis: In her third feature and first role starring the Tony-winning Broadway actress Cynthia Erivo plays one of America’s greatest heroes. Erivo portrays the abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who escaped slavery and risked her life to lead others to freedom via the Underground Railroad.
Synopsis: A cynical journalist (Matthew Rhys) profiled the legendary Children’s Television Host Fred Rogers (Tom Hanks) and eventually adopted a profoundly empathetic worldview that changes his life forever.
Based on a New York magazine article from 2015, Hustlers fictionalizes the story behind a clever group of strippers who took the tables on their Wall Street clients whose recklessness caused the 2008 financial crisis.
Synopsis: Taika Waititi plays Adolf Hitler in this provocative satire set in World War II Germany and based on the eponymous children’s novel. We follow as Hitler-fanatic JoJo (Roman Griffin) discovers his mother (Scarlett Johansson) is hiding a Jewish girl in his home, which causes him to question the validity of Nazism and all he has been taught.
Synopsis: Natalie Portman is an astronaut who begins questioning her reality in this debut feature film (Fargo, Legion) after an extended time in space.
Why are we excited about it: Here Natalie Portman plays a obsessive and crazed astronaut who loses her grip on the real world. When she played a similarly drunk and obsessed ballerina in Black Swan, she won an Oscar, so there is that. With Hawley to direct, the Legion showrunner is likely to turn up the psychedelic imagery given the mention of LSD in the title and we are more than excited to see it.
Synopsis: Harvard lawyer Bryan Stevenson (Micheal B. Jordan) heads to Alabama to defend the wrongly condemned and descended upon, including Walter McMillian (Jamie Foxx), the notoriously exonerated prisoner on death row.
Why are we excited about it? Destin Daniel Cretton is an actor – director who manages to get the best from each castsman he plays. His debut short-term 12 film did much to build the film careers of John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, LaKeith Stanfield, Stephanie Beatriz and Brie Larson, who reunites here in a co-starring role with Cretton. He has a talent as he ought to say. Foxx, who many believe to have the meatier role, is ready for a deep Oscar campaign alongside Jordan and Larson.
Why we are excited about it: Little is known about the plot of bad education, but the real-life scandal on which it is based was heavily covered when news broke in the early 2000s — it’s a delicious story about sexuality, greed and gross stupidity. Given the cast and Finley’s slanted style, this seems to be an updated, perhaps even more powerful version of the election. If the script and Finley’s direction are of value, look for gestures for Jackman, Janney and Romano.
The Toronto International Film Festival is held June 5 – 15.