LOS ANGELES — Lupita Nyong’o, Justin Timberlake, Denzel Washington and Emma Stone are just a few of the stars with films headed to the Toronto International Film Festival this year.
The Toronto festival is considered a launching pad to Hollywood’s awards season, and this year features a buzzy and diverse lineup of both world premieres and some of the best offerings from other festivals that in the past have shaped the Oscar conversation.
Last year’s best picture winner, “Spotlight,” premiered at the festival.
Kicking things off Sept. 8 is the world premiere of Antoine Fuqua’s “The Magnificent Seven,” starring Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt in a remake of the classic John Sturges film (which was also, incidentally, a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s “Seven Samurai”).
Festival CEO and Director Piers Handling and Artistic Director Cameron Bailey announced 60-some galas and special presentations in a press conference.
Some of the most high-profile premieres include director Denis Villeneuve’s sci-fi drama “Arrival,” with Amy Adams and Jeremy Renner, and Peter Berg’s disaster pic “Deepwater Horizon,” starring Mark Wahlberg. Rob Reiner’s presidential biopic “LBJ,” starring Woody Harrelson also will debut at the festival.
The lineup includes a murderer’s row of favorites from the year’s festivals, including Nate Parker’s slave rebellion drama “The Birth of a Nation,” which won the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival and is considered an early Oscar contender, as is Jeff Nichols’ interracial romance/civil rights drama “Loving,” with Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Cannes darlings “American Honey,” starring Shia LaBeouf, and Jim Jarmusch’s “Paterson,” starring Adam Driver, will play the festival.
Diversity and inclusion seemed to be paramount among the 68 films announced, with features like Mira Nair’s chess tale “The Queen of Katwe” with Lupita Nyong’o, Vikram Gandhi’s Barack Obama at Columbia film “Barry,” and “Belle” director Amma Asante’s “A United Kingdom,” starring David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike.
“Whiplash” director Damien Chazelle’s musical romance “La La Land” starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a pair Los Angeles dreamers will make a stop at Toronto after opening at the Venice Film Festival a few weeks earlier.
“Ryan Gosling singing and dancing: Does it get any better?” Handling paused to ask during the press conference.
The Miles Teller boxing drama “Bleed for This” from director Ben Younger will play, as will designer Tom Ford’s “Nocturnal Animals” with Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal. Rooney Mara has a few films at TIFF as well, including Gareth Davis’ “Lion,” based on Saroo Brierley’s memoir of finding his birth mother, which stars Dev Patel, and Jim Sheridan’s “The Secret Scripture.”
Christopher Guest will premiere the comedy “Mascots,” starring Fred Willard, Parker Posey and many of his mockumentary regulars.
The coming of age comedy/drama “The Edge of Seventeen,” starring Hailee Steinfeld as an awkward high school student from first-time director Kelly Fremon Craig will close out the festival, which runs through Sept. 18.