Sarah Paulson and Paul Giamatti
Larry Busacca/Getty Images

Things are looking pretty sweet for Fox Searchlight, with critical kudos and Oscar buzz rolling in for Steve McQueen’s provocative “12 Years a Slave”— one of four pics the company celebrated at its lively Toronto festival bash Sept. 7 at the Asian bistro Spice Route.

With two Toronto screenings in the bag, “Slave” director McQueen, and cast members Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Paul Giamatti, Lupita Nyong’o and Sarah Paulson moved between relaxed tete-a-tetes indoors and the revelry on the patio, while Richard E. Grant and Demian Bichir fortified themselves for Sunday’s world preem of writer-director Richard Shepard’s Brit gangster caper “Dom Hemingway.”

Rising Canadian star Sarah Gadon and fellow “Belle” cast members Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Emily Watson and Tom Wilkinson, and director Amma Asante also mingled with the Fox Searchlight contingent, including Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula.

Besides the shop talk and cast reunions, something else kept the party in an up mood.

Director-writer Nicole Holofcener — who said she was delighted by the warm reception to the afternoon world preem of her romance “Enough Said,” starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini — provided directions. “Have you seen the candy room? It’s right around the corner, you have to check it out,” she said, gesturing towards an room stocked with huge candy jars, which became the party hub later in the evening. “I am definitely taking some to go.”

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