Let the Oscar race officially begin! It’s the first day of the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival and the Academy Awards buzz is at an all-time high surrounding this year’s lineup of must-see movies. But TIFF is not only about a good plot twist. From the breakout performances to the red carpet roll call, we’re counting down the five things that everyone will be talking about in Toronto.
The Breakout Stars
Everyone loves a good Cinderella story, especially among the Hollywood set. And TIFF has become the spot where up-and-coming actors go to make their mark. Last year alone, we saw newbies Alicia Vikander and Brie Larson win attention for their respective roles in The Danish Girl and Room. And five months later? They were both accepting Oscars. This year, we’ve got our eye on Ruth Negga, the star of Loving, a film about an interracial couple that faced discrimination in the ’50s and Haley Bennett, who is breaking big this fall with The Magnificent Seven and the film adaptation of Paula Hawkins’s bestseller The Girl on the Train. Of-the-moment model-actresses Lily-Rose Depp and Suki Waterhouse also have films screening at TIFF.
The Real-Life Roles
Some of the most-anticipated films from this year’s lineup borrow very heavily from reality, especially in the political sphere. It has only been two weeks since the Barack and Michelle Obama first date film, Southside with You hit theaters, but another Obama movie, Barry, is bound to make noise at TIFF. This time around, Devvon Terrell plays the future president, during his time as a college student living in New York City. We also can’t wait to see Woody Harrelson as President Lyndon B. Johnson in LBJ and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as NSA contractor Edward Snowden in Snowden. And watching Natalie Portman try on the pillbox hat of former FLOTUS Jackie O. in Jackie is reason enough to buy a ticket.
The Fashion Face-Offs
Fashion week may be going on at the same time in N.Y.C., but that doesn’t mean that designers are too busy to outfit the A-list for their big premieres. And unlike the sometimes casual L.A.-based screenings, the stars and their stylists usually pull out all the stops when they travel up north. Expect Amy Adams to hit her style stride this year, as she has two major films at the festival: the sci-fi thriller, Arrival, and the drama Nocturnal Animals, directed by fashion designer-turned-director Tom Ford (she’ll likely stun in one of his designs). Also, due for a major red carpet moment? Emma Stone (La La Land), Anne Hathaway (Colossal), and Lupita Nyong’o (Queen of Katwe).
The Power Women
Damsels in distress, no more—there are tons of powerhouse characters for women at 2016’s TIFF. Both Isabelle Huppert (Elle) and Haley Bennett (The Magnificent Seven) play women seeking revenge, while Brie Larson’s Free Fire has her brokering a gun deal in an abandoned warehouse (she was also recently cast as Captain Marvel).
The Behind-the-Scenes Scoop
We have all of your favorite A-listers covered and we’ll be documenting the occasion in our very own InStyle TIFF photo studio downtown. Check back on InStyle.com throughout the week to see exclusive portraits, movie and style scoop from casts including, The Bleeder (Naomi Watts, Liev Schrieber, Elisabeth Moss) and Deepwater Horizon (Mark Wahlberg, Kate Hudson, Kurt Russell, Gina Rodriguez). And follow along on InStyle’s Snapchat and Instagram to see all the candid moments and off-duty fun in between takes.