Starting Thursday with the world premiere of Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Fifth Estate," the Toronto International Film Festival will be the epicenter of the world's movie culture. With stars turning out from Cumberbatch to Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt to Daniel Radcliffe, TIFF represents the unofficial start of the fall movie season – and opens the gates for the Oscar race.
Here are the hottest tickets coming up at this year's festival:
1. "The Fifth Estate" (Benedict Cumberbatch, Daniel Bruhl; directed by Bill Condon): Wake up, Cumberbitches! Benedict opens the festival playing Julian Assange in this biopic/thriller about the controversial Australian hacker turned editor behind WikiLeaks.
2. "Gravity" (George Clooney, Sandra Bullock; directed by Alfonso Cuaron) Clooney and Bullock don spacesuits to play two American astronauts adrift in space in Cuaron’s ("Children of Men") sci-fi thriller.
3. "Kill Your Darlings" (Daniel Radcliffe, Elizabeth Olsen, Michael C. Hall ; directed by John Krokidas): Harry Potter himself goes back to school – this time to Columbia University – as Allen Ginsberg. The movie takes place in 1944 when a murder on campus united Ginsberg with William Burroughs (Ben Foster) and Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and set him on the road to poetry immortality.
4. "12 Years a Slave" (Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender; directed by Steve McQueen) Under the watchful eyes of "Shame" director McQueen, Ejiofor courts Oscar as an African American freeman living in upstate New York who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Antebellum South.
5. "The Past" (Berenice Bejo, Ali Mosaffa; director Asghar Farhadi): After scoring a Best Foreign Language Oscar for “A Separation,” Farhadi returns with a Paris-set domestic drama about a French wife ("The Artist’s" Bejo) seeking divorce from her estranged Iranian husband (Mosaffa).
6. "Can A Song Save Your Life?" (Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Adam Levine; directed by David Carney): In this uplifter from the director of “Once,” Knightley plays a heartbroken singer with the blues who gets a second chance at love and music with NY record producer (Mark Ruffalo). Oh – and the answer to the title is “yes!”
7. "Blue is the Warmest Color" (Lea Seydeaux, Adele Exarchopoulos; directed by Abdellatif Kechiche): The winner of the prestigious Palme d’Or and FIPRESCI Prize at Cannes, this steamy drama follows the sexual awakening of a teenaged girl (Exarchopoulos) under the spell of an older lesbian (Seydeaux).
8. "Dallas Buyers Club": (Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner; directed by Jean-Marc Vallee): There was a reason McConaughey looked emaciated in recent photos: he dropped massive weight for this biopic about an HIV-positive Texan in the ‘80’s who fought to access alternative drug therapies when the FAA balked at their approval.
9. "August: Osage County" (Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dermot Mulroney; directed by John Wells): Tracy Letts’s Pulitzer-Prize Winning play about a dysfunctional family reunited for a funeral comes to the screen with Streep and Roberts as bickering mother and daughter. Not star-chocked enough? George Clooney produced!
10. "Life of Crime": (Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, Mos Def, Tim Robbins, Isla Fisher; directed by Daniel Schecter) Based on the late Elmore Leonard’s novel, this crime-of-a-lifetime ensemble comedy follows the felonious escapades of two paroled car thieves (Def and Hawkes) that plot a kidnapping with comic results. The fictional pair was last seen in the Quentin Tarantino film "Jackie Browne" with Samuel L. Jackson and Robert DeNiro in the roles.