The Oscar race heats up this week as the 42nd Toronto international film festival begins, featuring a schedule filled with star-studded projects, headed by a set of highly anticipated fact-based dramas.
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Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the role of Thomas Edison in The Current War, a history of the race for marketable electricity to set up in the 19th century. Michael Shannon also stars, as his competitor George Westinghouse, with the support of the British Spider-Man star Tom Holland. The film is one of the most important awards of hope for the embattled producer Harvey Weinstein, who was once a guaranteed Academy favorite with Shakespeare in Love and Chicago, but whose population has decreased in recent years. “Edison and Westinghouse’s rivalry is the last story of the driving competence of wit,” Weinstein said of the film. “It was a battle of intelligence, a race of creativity and technological innovation that we see repeated in the self-made inventors to dominate spaces such as Silicon Valley.”
Cumberbatch has some fierce competition in the race for the best actor: Jake Gyllenhaal goes for the glory with his role in Boston marathon bombing drama Stronger, it also premieres at the festival. He plays Jeff Bauman, a man who lost both his legs, while he encourages his ex-girlfriend on the day of the race. Gyllenhaal, who received a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for his role in Brokeback Mountain, says that it is the most physically demanding film of his career. “No matter how hard you try, to understand the idea that it is almost nearly impossible,” he told the Guardian.
Denzel Washington, in the Roman, J. Israel, Esq. Photography: Sony
The city of Toronto quickly became a major platform for films destined for Oscar glory, with Argo, Lion, Still Alice, and Dallas Buyers Club, all of which premiered at the festival. Other potential awards-worthy films in this year’s harvest include the Nightcrawler director Dan Gilroy crime drama Roman J Israel, Esq, starring Denzel Washington and Colin Farrell, and Kings, a film about the la riots of 1992, which starred Daniel Craig and Halle Berry.
Tiff follows that of Venice and the festivals of Telluride, where the critics have been excited for Guillermo del Toro’s fantasy in The Form of Water, of Alexander Payne’s high concept comedy “Downsizing”, Darren Aronofsky’s domestic horror of the Mother! and Scott Cooper western Hostile.
In total, 339 there will be screenings at the festival, which runs from 7 to 17 September.