The Toronto International Film Festival has unveiled its official lineup for 2019. Easily the biggest and most talked-about annual international movie festival that's held in North America, TIFF is also the perfect launching pad for studios to start generating hype for their awards contenders every year. Back in 2018, for example, future Best Picture winner Green Book debuted at the festival along with fellow eventual Oscar-winners like A Star is Born and Roma, ahead of their theatrical runs (and, in the latter's case, premiere on Netflix).
Point being, it's long been expected that many of the more promising Fall 2019 releases - ranging from Todd Phillips' Joker movie to Kasi Lemmons' Harriet Tubman biopic Harriet - would be making their way to TIFF or similar events in the forthcoming months. Joker, in particular, has been generating lots of buzz for a while now, and Warner Bros. was said to be considering it for a premiere at the Venice Film Festival back in June. As it turns out, though, the studio has decided to unveil the movie at another prestigious festival instead.
TIFF formally unveiled its 2019 selections on its website today, with Joker and Harriet both landing a coveted spot at the festival. Among the other noteworthy movies slated to debut as Gala Presentations at the event are Marielle Heller's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (which stars Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers), Lorene Scafaria's true story-inspired crime dramedy Hustlers (starring Jennifer Lopez), Logan director James Mangold's memoir Ford V Ferrari (with Christian Bale and Matt Damon), John Crowley's The Goldfinch adaptation (led by Ansel Elgort and Nicole Kidman), and Destin Daniel Cretton's upcoming legal drama Just Mercy (featuring Michael B. Jordan and Brie Larson).
Meanwhile, this year's TIFF Special Presentations will include Taika Waititi's WWII satire Jojo Rabbit (in which the filmmaker also plays an imaginary Adolf Hitler), Rian Johnson's crime-mystery Knives Out, The Witch director Robert Eggers' horror drama The Lighthouse, Steven Soderbergh's Panama Papers drama The Laundromat (featuring stars like Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman), director Craig Brewer's Eddie Murphy-headlined biopic Dolemite Is My Name, and Alma Har’el's Shia LaBeouf autobiography Honey Boy (which debuted at Sundance earlier this year).
As a whole, TIFF 2019 will feature some potential Oscar-contending Netflix Originals (like The Laundromat and Dolemite Is My Name), in addition to big studio projects like Joker and Ford V Ferrari (which are also gunning for the Academy's top prizes), and a whole lot of smaller independent films that could really benefit from a strong showing at the festival. And although there are a number of buzzed-about fall releases (like James Gray's Ad Astra and Martin Scorsese's The Irishman) that didn't land a spot at the festival, there's a good chance that many, if not most, of them will premiere at the Venice Film Festival around the same time. However things play out on the festival circuit, though, the main takeaway is that there's a whole lot to watch out for over the next five months, and just in terms of movies alone.
The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival will run from September 5-15.