The Toronto International Film Festival, has, as it always does, given the first reliable indication of which films and actors will be in contention for honors at awards time.
Its reputation as a showcase for potential winners remains intact but this year several of the highly anticipated and touted movies failed to arouse much interest. George Clooney's Suburbicon, Alexander Payne's Downsizing, Aaron Sorkin's Molly's Game and Alfonso Gomez-Rejon's The Current War all suffered from muddled scripts and unsatisfactory storylines.
Many performances were better than the movies they were in and
Emma Stone with Billie Jean King
it has so far been a year for outstanding acting, particularly from the women. Jennifer Lawrence turns in a remarkable tour de force in Darren Aronofsky's mad house-of-horrors extravaganza; Emma Stone is excellent as former tennis champ Billie Jean King in the delightful Battle of the Sexes; Sally Hawkins deserves a nomination for her role as a deaf mute cleaner in Guillermo del Toro's Beauty and the Beast-style fairy story The Shape of Water and Frances McDormad is terrific as a mother seeking her daughter's killer in Martin McDonagh's outrageously funny, sad, shocking and riveting Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the winner of the People's Choice Award.
Jennifer Lawrence in mother!
Then there's Judi Dench in Victoria and Abdul, Jessica Chastain in Molly's Game and Saoirse Ronan in Lady Bird. On the male side, Gary Oldman gives a towering performance as Winston Churchill in The Darkest Hours; Liam Neeson overcomes a saggy script as Deep Throat in Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House; and Steve Carell is excellent as Bobby Riggs in Battle of the Sexes. So expect some wonderful performances although some are in pretty lame movies.