Toronto Film Festival Lineup Includes Movies From Angelina Jolie, George Clooney, Alexander Payne

Angelina Jolie Murder on the Orient
Matt Baron/REX/Shutterstock

Films by Joe Wright, Angelina Jolie, Darren Aronofsky, George Clooney, and Alexander Payne will hit the Toronto International Film Festival, hoping to build buzz as they head into a crowded awards season.

Jolie will be on hand with “First They Killed My Father,” a drama about the Cambodian genocide that she made for Netflix. Aronofsky will present “mother!,” a horror film he made with Jennifer Lawrence; Clooney will offer up “Suburbicon,” a Coen brothers’ scripted crime comedy; and Payne is presenting “Downsizing,” a satire in which Matt Damon will shrink to the size of a saltine cracker.

None of those films will get gala presentations, however. That’s either because they have previously stated that they will premiere at other film festivals — “Downsizing” will bow at Venice, for instance — or they’re in line for a Telluride or Venice berth.


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The gala section boasts Wright’s “Darkest Hour,” a biopic with a heavily padded Gary Oldman playing Winston Churchill; Andy Serkis’ “Breathe,” a romantic drama with Andrew Garfield as disability rights advocate Robin Cavendish; and “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” a drama about Gloria Grahame’s last years with Annette Bening as the Oscar winner. Other films premiering at Toronto include “Kings,” a film about the L.A. riots with Daniel Craig, and “Stronger,” a Jake Gyllenhaal drama about a man who loses his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing.

“Mudbound,” a historical drama about a black and white family living in an impoverished section of the Deep South, debuted to raves and standing ovations at the Sundance Film Festival. Despite already having a world premiere, it will be screened as part of the gala events.

The Canadian festival takes place between Sept. 7 to Sept. 17. It is seen as an essential stop for films hoping to score with Academy Awards voters, because it has a long track record of highlighting films that go on to awards glory. Previous Best Picture winners such as “Spotlight” and “Moonlight” have boosted their Oscar campaigns after enjoying a warm reception from Toronto crowds. Not every film benefits from a trip North, however. Last year, films such as “American Pastoral” and “Bleed For This” faded quickly after receiving middling reviews at the festival.

With summer winding down, only Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” has emerged as a surefire awards candidate. That means that Oscar-ologists will be dissecting Tuesday’s Toronto announcement as they try to game out what films have what it takes to pick up the big trophies this season.

In recent years, Toronto has been forced to grapple with the fact that it’s no longer the only game in town. The Telluride and Venice film festivals, which have the advantage of appearing earlier in the year, have proved to be attractive launching grounds for buzzy films. In 2016, “La La Land” dazzled critics at Venice, while “Moonlight” first turned heads at Telluride — they went into Toronto as known commodities.

There are a number of other high-profile films heading across the border for this edition of the film festival. Christian Bale will be on hand with his Western “Hostiles,” Guillermo del Toro will try to recapture his mojo with “The Shape of Water” after “Crimson Peak” bombed, and Judi Dench will be on the prowl for Oscar nomination No. 8 for “Victoria and Abdul.” Dench is playing Queen Victoria, a part she previously essayed in 1996’s “Mrs. Brown.”

Several releases have already generated awards attention at previously festivals. “Call Me By Your Name,” a gay romance with a breakout performance from Timothée Chalamet, was the talk of Sundance, while “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” a French drama about the AIDS crisis, was one of the best reviewed movies out of Cannes. Both films will use Toronto to build on that momentum during a brutal, bruising, and ever expanding awards season.

Here’s a full list of films:

The Catcher Was A Spy
Darkest Hour
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Long Time Running
Mary Shelley
The Mountain Between Us
The Wife
Woman Walks Ahead

Battle of the Sexes
BPM (Beats Per Minute)
The Brawler
The Breadwinner
Call Me By Your Name
Catch the Wind
The Current War

The Children Act
A Fantastic Woman
First They Killed My Father
The Guardians
The Hungry
I, Tonya
The Price of Success
Professor Marston & the Wonder Women
The Rider
A Season in France
The Shape of Water
Sheikh Jackson
The Square
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing
Untitled Bryan Cranston/Kevin Hart Film

Victoria and Abdul

GALLERY: Toronto International Film Festival 2017 Lineup (Photos)

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  1. Mark says:

    So a movie directed by George Clooney movie is now considered an award contender, but last year people dismissed an incredible work of art like Silence?? Good Lord, it’s a truly grim era for movies.

    • Dan says:

      “Silence” is an interesting case. I admired it more than I liked it. It’s one of the most depressing films I’ve ever seen. It’s the total opposite of entertainment for most part. It could have worked with a stronger cast and a tighter cut maybe. But even then – the very subject of human weakness is so depressing… It’s hard to make an honest and commercial film about human nature.

  2. Lilo says:

    You forgot Gerwig’s Lady bird?

  3. stevencovacs says:

    TIFF is losing support in Toronto as the current regime has turned it from a ‘people’s’ festival into an ‘elitist’ festival. It has lost all the charm of the past and has become the private playground of industry insiders, sponsors (who block off the best areas of seating in each theatre) and marketers. People have also observed yearly ticket price increases, membership price increases seemingly commensurate with the 5-star lifestyle and unquestioned expenses of TIFF executives.
    As taxpayers monies are also in the mix, the Province should demand an audit (even if it means losing their free passes!)
    Damn, we miss Dusty Cohl!

  4. Pat says:

    Who keeps giving Angelina Jolie directing opportunities? She stinks as a director and has no talent or skills for it. I have no hopes for this new movie of hers. Has anyone seen ” By the Sea”? Awful , horrible, unbearable is what I call it!
    All this talk Hollywood has for colored, woman and minority directors and they still keep giving opportunities to untalented white people.

    • Whatever this Pat’s motivations were for commenting, she’s NOT wrong about Jolie’s misguided directorial efforts to some degree. By the Sea was a colossal misfire and putrid turd of cinema. There’s no denying this.

      • Dias says:

        I read the reviews on By The Sea, and most critics, praised the direction, saying that there was an evolution of the first film that she directed, until that movie, the problem of By The Sea, as pointed out by the main critics, was the script.

    • Dias says:

      Oh, I understand, a hater who’s annoyed because Angelina has two movies in the special session of TIFF, and her success causes your irritation.

    • Dias says:

      I felt some hostility towards white people and women coming from you, what’s the real problem, does Angelina’s power scare you?

      • Pat says:

        LOl Angelina has no power left in Hollywood! She ruined it by trying to smear her soon-to-be ex husband with false abuse claims and she can’t even find work anymore because of how much the Hollywood industry hates her! She was only able to direct ” FTKMF” because of Brad! Are you even aware of that?!
        I expect this pathetic movie to reviews bad reviews, just like her previous 3 directorial failures got.

  5. Damian says:

    “Previous Best Picture winners such as “Spotlight” and “Moonlight” have boosted their Oscar campaigns after enjoying a warm reception from Toronto crowds.”

    Right, but “Birdman” – who later won ‘Best Picture’ – wasn’t even invited to TIFF, because festival director Cameron Bailey didn’t understand what’s special about a one-shot-feature. If you don’t believe me, google an article where the “Birdman” producer talks about the rejection.

    It was the same with the sensational “Victoria” – another one-shot-movie – which was rejected because Cameron Bailey didn’t believe that it was only one shot…That’s what the director Sebastian Schipper told in interviews.

    Cameron Bailey is obviously not very competent & his ‘selection’ follows no artistic logic.
    TIFF has no clear artistic profile or purpose apart from the market function.
    It’s a ‘gala’ zoo for Oscar contenders, but not a festival.

    • loco73 says:

      The fact that Cameron Bailey , a man who sees movies only through his lens and filter and is quite dismissive of movies that don’t fit within his world view, has brought TIFF to this point isn’t surprising. Just read some of his past movie reviews, especially those for NOW.

      Cameron Bailey and the decline of TIFF represent the end result of what happens when instead of hiring competent people who have the actual skills to manage and protect the legacy of TIFF, as well a vision for the future, the powers that be hire a figure head meant to satisfy the current norms of political correctness…

      • Rex says:

        Bailey needs to go, or be repurposed. He and other TIFF honchos obviously took Variety’s overall slam of last year’s festival to heart, which is a smart move considering how unwieldy the entire even had become, but the festival needs a MUCH bigger shakeup than what they’ve done. Trimming 1/5 of the shows is a start, but dumping Vanguard entirely was unwise, unless they figure they can slot those kinds of shows into other programmes. Colin Geddes seems to be the only top programmer who was dumped (or left?) to be a middle-man at a streaming service, but frankly it’s time to swap out most of the other TIFF programmers and either install their assistants (as was done on Midnight Madness) or bring in new blood with different tastes, unique new approaches to their “craft” and different industry connections around the world. I’m sure a LOT of the same films would be booked regardless, but there might also be some much-needed surprises in the mix.

  6. Between diversity-appeasement and festival fodder, Oscar is deep in the weeds, or has been reborn for a new era of film-making. Either way, the Academy is more political.

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