With a summer movie season as bad as this one, the closer we get to fall festivals, the better. In a little over a month we’ll get our first look at the the fall movie season when the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival kicks off on September 8. TIFF is the major fall festival, following Venice and Telluride, that gives us our first glimpse at major awards season players.

Last year’s People’s Choice Award winner, Room, went on to get Best Picture and Best Director Oscar nominations, while earning Brie Larson a Best Actress win. Previous TIFF People’s Choice winners that went on to Oscar Best Picture glory include 12 Years a Slave, The King’s Speech, and Slumdog Millionare.

While we’ve been speculating for months what major titles will debut at TIFF, we finally have our first look at the lineup. On Tuesday, the festival announced their 2016 Gala Screenings and Special Presentations films. The festival’s world premieres include Anton Fuqua’s The Magnificent Seven reboot, which will open the fest, Oliver Stone’s Snowden, Ewan McGregor’s directorial debut, American Pastoral, Rob Reiner’s LBJ, Peter Berg’s Deepwater Horizon and the animated Sing, voiced by Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon.

Deepwater Horizon

But the real highlights of the lineup are even better, with three new films starring Isabelle Huppert – Souvenir, Paul Verhoven’s Elle, and Mia Hansen-Løve’s Things to Come – three starring Rooney Mara – Una, Lion and The Secret Scripture – plus a handful of buzzy titles from Cannes and Sundance.

The films that should be on your TIFF radar include Jeff Nichols’ Loving, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals (his first film in seven years), Damien Chazelle’s musical La La LandNate Parker’s Sundance hit The Birth of a Nation, Andrea Arnold’s American Honey, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester By the Sea, Park Chan-wook’s The Handmaiden, Christopher Guest's Mascots, Pablo Larrain’s Narudo, Jim Jarmusch’s Paterson, Asghar Farhadi’s The Salesman, and Amma Asante’s A United Kingdom, starring David Oyelowo and Rosemund Pike.

Focus Features
‘Loving’ Focus Features


Some performances to keep an eye on out of the fest include Lupita Nyong’o in Mira Nair’s Queen of Katwe, Miles Teller in boxing drama Bleed for This, Riz Ahmed in City of Tiny Lights and Una, Sarah Paulson and Mark Duplass in Blue Jay, and Holly Hunter and Carrie Coon in Katherine Dieckmann’s Strange Weather. Plus, some strong awards contenders will surely be Ruth Negga in Loving, Nate Parker in The Birth of a Nation and Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams in Manchester By the Sea.

Among other interesting tidbits hidden in the announcement, Jon Snow and Melisandre Kit Harington and Clarice van Houten of Game of Thrones will appear in a western thriller, Brimstone, alongside Guy Pearce. Natalie Portman and Lily-Rose Depp will star in Rebecca Zlotowski’s Planetarium, and there’s also a dark comedy called Catfight starring Sandra Oh, Anne Heche, and Alicia Silverstone as Heche’s love interest about a bloody fight at a cocktail party. I think I just found my new most anticipated movie of 2016.

The festival will close out on September 18 with coming of age comedy The Edge of Seventeen, the feature directorial debut from Kelly Fremon Craig starring Hailee Steinfeld, Woody Harrelson, and Kyra Sedgwick. This year’s lineup certainly looks like one of the most exciting in years, with a solid amount of strong awards contenders, exciting foreign entries, and a handful of features from female directors. The festival runs from September 8 -18 and ScreenCrush will be there to bring you all the news and reviews once it kicks off.

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