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Eight TIFF 2017 movies that could end up being Oscar contenders

The end of summer’s blockbuster season signals the beginning of Oscar season, with dozens of prestige films swinging for the critical fences. Here are eight movies coming to the Toronto International Film Festival that are hunting for Academy Awards.

Stronger

CAST: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Clancy Brown DIRECTOR: David Gordon Green IN THE RUNNING FOR: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay

An adaptation of Boston Marathon bombing victim Jeff Bauman’s memoir, Stronger deals with one man’s quest to regain normalcy after losing his legs in the explosion. Gyllenhaal and ex-clone Tatiana Maslany star in this true tale of courage, heroism, pain and recovery.

The Mountain Between Us

CAST: Idris Elba, Kate Winslet DIRECTOR: Hany Abu-Assad IN THE RUNNING FOR: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Cinematography

After a chartered flight goes sideways, a pair of outrageously attractive passengers find themselves dependent upon each other in the majestic, isolating terror of a wintry wilderness. The movie, shot in western Canada, stars an Oscar winner (Winslet) and a Golden Globe winner (Elba). If the on-screen chemistry is there, they could both be in for a few more awards.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

CAST: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell DIRECTOR: Martin McDonagh IN THE RUNNING FOR: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Picture, Best Director

McDonagh (In Bruges) works magic with character-driven dark comedies about people cast to the fringes. In this one, foul-mouthed Mildred Hayes (McDormand, already an Academy Award winner) posts a trio of billboards that call out her town’s police chief (Harrelson) for failing to capture her daughter’s murderer. Stellar actors and topical themes—racism, war, sexism—give Missouri good timing and great awards potential.

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Mudbound

CAST: Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Mary J. Blige, Garrett Hedlund DIRECTOR: Dee Rees IN THE RUNNING FOR: Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay

This fist-clenching ensemble drama, set in the Jim Crow–era American South, was well received at Sundance, and its stock should rise with its TIFF screening. Equal parts heart and insight, and anchored by the always awesome Mulligan, Mudbound reworks Hillary Jordan’s novel about a family coping with racism and poverty in the wake of World War II.

Suburbicon

CAST: Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac DIRECTOR: George Clooney IN THE RUNNING FOR: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay

With an all-star ensemble cast and a script by Joel and Ethan Cohen, this flick promises to be a fun, yet poignant, satire of 1950s American suburbia. Suspense, deceit and social commentary undergird a story that’s about coveting your wife’s sister, but also so much more.

Call Me by Your Name

CAST: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer DIRECTOR: Luca Guadagnino IN THE RUNNING FOR: Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay

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Call Me by Your Name is the newest offering from Italian auteur Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash, I Am Love). Elio (Chalamet) plays host to his father’s hunky 24-year-old research assistant, Oliver (Hammer), only to find himself torn between his beautiful girlfriend and an awakening attraction to his new male friend.

The Current War

CAST: Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Michael Shannon, Katherine Waterston DIRECTOR: Alfonso Gomez-Rejon IN THE RUNNING FOR: Best Actor, Best Picture, Best Director

The Academy loves watching U.S. history brought to life in new, elaborate and expensive ways. Thomas Edison (Cumberbatch) and George Westinghouse (Shannon) are positivity electric (heey-oh!) as they battle for dibs on the creation of marketable electricity in 1870s America. Gomez-Rejon’s skill and imagination turn a geeky science war into an epic.

Battle of the Sexes

CAST: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Sarah Silverman, Elisabeth Shue DIRECTORS: Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton IN THE RUNNING FOR: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Picture, Best Costume Design

You’d need the doubles court boundaries to contain all the overt chauvinism and Oscar power in this zippy recreation of the legendary 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs. As King, defending Best Actress champ Stone trades serves with 2015 Best Actor finalist Carell (as Riggs) in a flick scripted by Oscar winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire) and directed by the Little Miss Sunshine team of Faris and Dayton.

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