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TIFF 2017: Year of the Woman

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There just isn't a better place than Toronto to improve the chances for a Best Actress Oscar (the films of nine of the past 10 Academy Awards for Best Leading Performance by an Actress have premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival). Just ask Brie Larson, Sandra Bullock, Natalie Portman, Julianne Moore or Emma Stone, who won the award this year for her performance in La La Land.  Add in the other nominated performances that debuted TIFF and it's easy to see why the road to a Best Actress Oscar usually begins north of the border.

So far, here is the best of the fest:
  • Emma Stone will undoubtedly return to the Oscars for her fabulous performance as Billie Jean King in Battle of the Sexes. Steve Carell is great as the irascible Bobby Riggs, but this is Stone's turn to shine—again.
Jessica Chastain at the premiere of Molly's Game - TIFF
  • TIFF
  • Jessica Chastain at the premiere of Molly's Game
  • Jessica Chastain delivered fab performances in two films: Molly's Game, the true story of Molly Bloom, proprietor of the most exclusive high-stakes poker game in Hollywood; and Woman Walks Ahead, another true story, this time about a 19th century New York City artist who travels to the Dakota Territory and becomes the confidante of legendary Sioux Chief Sitting Bull. The only thing working against Chastain may be the difficult decision of which film to nominate her for.

  • Sally Hawkins better be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar—and she should win for her phenomenal delivery in The Shape of Water (read more about it in the Sept. 13 issue of Boise Weekly). In an already fantastical film, Hawkins is the most wondrous part.
  • It's hard to believe Annette Bening still hasn't won an Oscar. Maybe this is her time. She has been nominated before and is bound to grab another nod for Film Stars Don't Die In Liverpool. The movie is slight and low-key, but Bening is, as usual, wonderful.
Emma Thompson at TIFF 2017 - TIFF
  • TIFF
  • Emma Thompson at TIFF 2017
  • Emma Thompson has won two Oscars: one for acting (Howard's End) and one for screenwriting (Sense and Sensibility). She's due for another appearance at the awards ceremony for her new film, The Children's Act, where she plays a British judge charged with deciding the fate of a teenage boy whose parents are refusing a blood transfusion because they are Jehovah's Witnesses.



Dame Judi Dench at the premiere of Victoria & Albert - TIFF
  • TIFF
  • Dame Judi Dench at the premiere of Victoria & Albert
  • Dame Judi Dench is back as royalty. Dench is once again playing Queen Victoria, this time in a story about Her Majesty's friendship with a much younger Indian clerk, in Victoria & Abdul.
  • Margot Robbie delivers as Tonya Harding, America's most famous figure skating felon, in I, Tonya. Robbie is in nearly every frame of the film, and she's stupendous.
  • Saorise Ronan stunned TIFF two years ago with her lovely lead performance in Brooklyn. She's back this year in one of the most-buzzed-about films, Lady Bird, the debut directorial effort from Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha).
All right, all right. I know I listed eight and there are usually only five nominees, but I'm glad I don't have to choose which three to cut from the shortlist—and I'm glad you don't have to cut any of these films from your viewing list.