Toronto film festival to showcase Oscar contenders: ‘Foxcatcher,’ ‘Maps to the Stars,’ ‘Wild,’ …

The most recent seven Best Picture Oscar champs all screened at the Toronto Film Festival, including last year’s winner “12 Years a Slave,” which won the public vote as festival favorite. Last year’s fest also included screenings of three of the other Best Picture nominees: “Dallas Buyers Club,” which won Oscars for Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto; “Gravity,” which claimed seven Oscars, including Best Director; and “Philomena.” 

The lineup for the upcoming 39th 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 February 22? 

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The Sept. 4 festival opener has yet to be announced, perhaps a result of the new TIFF policy that precludes showcasing films in the first four days that screen first at the Telluride filmfest over Labor Day weekend. 

Among those Oscar contenders getting the gala treatment in Toronto are: 

Foxcatcher“: Bennet Miller‘s crime drama about the murder of an Olympic wrestler (Channing Tatum) by a DuPont clan millionaire (Steve Carell);

The Judge“: David Dobkin‘s legal thriller about a big city lawyer (Robert Downey Jr.) who returns home to defend his father (Robert Duvall), a small town judge, on a murder charge;

Maps to the Stars“: David Cronenberg‘s satire on moviemaking for which four-time Oscar nominee Julianne Moore won Best Actress in Cannes for her performance as a fading star; and

Wild“: “Dallas Buyers Club” helmer Jean-Marc Vallee returns with this showcase for Oscar champ Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”) as recovering drug addict Cheryl Strayed who embarks on a soul-searching trek. 

And among those films being feted as Special Presentations are: 

“The Good Lie”: Philippe Falardeau‘s (“Monsieur Lazhar”) intense drama about the efforts of one woman (Reese Witherspoon) to save four orphans of the Sudanese civil war of the 1990s;

The Imitation Game“: Morten Tyldum‘s WWII drama about the efforts of British mathematician Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to crack the Enigma code;

Men, Women and Children“: Jason Reitman‘s wry look at relationships stars Adam Sandler;

Rosewater: Jon Stewart‘s directorial debut about a journalist (Gael Garcia Barnal) imprisoned in Iran; and

The Theory of Everything“: James Marsh‘s look at the early days of famed physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) and his wife (Felicity Jones).

There are a slew of other titles unspooling at the festival that could be late entries into the derby but at this point they lack distributors and/or release dates. 

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