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Toronto Festival Offers Glimpse of Season's Best Films

  • Penelope Poulou

Potential Oscar contenders showcased

The Toronto film festival traditionally showcases some of the year’s best films, including potential Oscar nominees.

George Clooney and Ryan Gosling were among those walking Toronto’s red carpet this year to promote several films. Like many other A-listers, they see the festival as a barometer for the Oscars.

Clooney directed the sleek political thriller "The Ides of March," and also stars as Democratic presidential candidate Mike Morris. Gosling plays Morris' press secretary. The film delves into corruption in modern American politics.

Clooney was also in Toronto to promote "The Descendants," about a widower who learns his wife was cheating on him. It is directed by “Sideways” filmmaker Alexander Payne.

Ryan Gosling and George Clooney, star in 'The Ides of March,' a political thriller about corruption in modern American politics.

Ryan Gosling and George Clooney, star in 'The Ides of March,' a political thriller about corruption in modern American politics.

Ryan Gosling also stars in the surreal crime thriller “Drive” directed by Nicolas Winding Refn.

Brad Pitt was there promoting his baseball drama "Moneyball," a film written by Aaron Sorkin.

Glenn Close generated best actress Oscar buzz for her role in "Albert Nobbs," in which she portrays a woman masquerading as a man in male-dominated 19th century Irish society.

"It is a huge honor to be recognized for work," Close said, "and this is the most invested I have ever been.”

Glenn Close portrays a woman masquerading as a man in 19th century Ireland in 'Albert Nobbs.'

Glenn Close portrays a woman masquerading as a man in 19th century Ireland in 'Albert Nobbs.'

Most of these films will dominate national and international movie theaters over the next few months, but Toronto is not only about big-budget, high-brow films and high-wattage stars.

Smaller films can be seen and reviewed, and considered for Oscar nominations.

One of these films was "Where Do We Go Now," a French-Lebanese production that received Toronto’s People's Choice Award. It is a modern twist on the ancient Greek comedy "Lysistrata," which focuses on a group of Muslim and Christian women in a war-torn Middle Eastern village, who unite to coerce their men to stop fighting.

Another film gaining traction as an Oscar contender is "A Separation." The Iranian production is about a wife who files for divorce after her husband refuses to emigrate with her and their daughter. The movie's comic nuances explore the complex social, age and gender issues in modern Iran.

While the films that will win the Oscars are yet to be determined, Toronto’s biggest winner was the audience, which was treated to a new batch of films which offer a good laugh or cry, intense action and nourishment for the soul.

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