TIFF to premiere slew of Oscar contenders: ‘August: Osage County, ‘Fifth Estate,’ ‘Gravity,’ ‘Rush’ …

The last five Best Picture Oscar champs have screened at the Toronto Film Festival, including last year’s winner “Argo.” Last year’s fest also included the world premiere of another Best Picture nominee, “Silver Linings Playbook,” which won an Oscar for Jennifer Lawrence.

The lineup for the upcoming 38th edition of this key stop on the road to the Oscars was announced Tuesday. Will one of the titles previewed below take the top prize at the Dolby Theater next March 2? 

Opening the fest on Sept. 5 will be “The Fifth Estate,”  Bill Condon‘s take on the Wikileaks scandal that stars Emmy nominee Benedict Cumberbatch (“Parade’s End”) as whistleblower Julian Assange

Cumberbatch also features in “August: Osage County,” John Wells‘ adaptation of Tracy Lett‘s Pulitzer and Tony-winning play which pits Oscar winners Meryl Streep against Julia Roberts as a battling mother and daughter and is getting the gala treatment in Toronto for its world premiere.

Likewise for:

Justin Chadwick‘s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” with Emmy nominee Idris Elba as the South African political leader; and

Ron Howard‘s “Rush,” a high-octane drama set in the world of auto racing with Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl.

Among those films being feted as Special Presentations:

Jean-Marc Vallee‘s “Dallas Buyers Club” with Matthew McConaughey as a man battling AIDS in the 1980s; 

Alfonso Cuaron‘s “Gravity” with Oscar winners Sandra Bullock and George Clooney as astronauts stranded in space; 

Jason Reitman‘s “Labor Day” with Oscar champ Kate Winslet as a single mother who shelters an escaped convict (Josh Brolin); 

Stephen FrearsPhilomena” with Oscar winner Judi Dench as a woman who sets out to find the child she gave up for adoption;

Denis Villeneuve‘s “Prisoners” with Hugh Jackman as a father who clashes with the detective (Jake Gyllenhaal) investigating his daughter’s disappearance; 

Jonathan Teplitzky‘s “The Railway Man” with Oscar winner Colin Firth as a man hunting down his WWII captor and Oscar champ Nicole Kidman as his stalwart wife; and  

Steve McQueen‘s “12 Years a Slave” with Chiwetel Ejiofor and frequent McQueen collaborator Michael Fassbender clashing this pre-Civil War drama.

Look for a slew of other titles to be revealed in the weeks to come as studios line up their top ponies in the derby. 

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