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Toronto International Film Festival Launches Oscar Race; 'Fifth Estate' Is Opener, 'Life of Crime' Is Closer

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 23, 2013 at 11:38AM

DreamWorks’ World premiere of Bill Condon's "The Fifth Estate" will open the 38th Toronto International Film Festival announced that the world premiere of Festival on September 5; the fest will close on September 15 with the world premiere of Daniel Schechter’s "Life of Crime."
'The Fifth Estate'
DreamWorks/Disney 'The Fifth Estate'

DreamWorks’ World premiere of Bill Condon's "The Fifth Estate" will open the 38th Toronto International Film Festival announced that the world premiere of Festival on September 5; the fest will close on September 15 with the world premiere of Daniel Schechter’s "Life of Crime." 

"The Fifth Estate" profiles Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch), the founder of WikiLeaks, who is on a mission to expose the deceptions and corruptions of power, only to become susceptible to them himself. The timely thriller also stars Daniel Brühl, David Thewlis, Stanley Tucci, Laura Linney, Anthony Mackie and Dan Stevens. Condon premiered his first feature "Sister, Sister" in Toronto in 1987, and last attended the fest in 2004 with "Kinsey." 

Presented by DreamWorks Pictures and Reliance Entertainment in association with Participant Media, "The Fifth Estate" is produced by Steve Golin and Michael Sugar. The screenplay is by Josh Singer, based on the book "Inside WikiLeaks" by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and the Guardian book "WikiLeaks" by David Leigh and Luke Harding. Disney will  released the film in North America on October 18, 2013.

Based on Elmore Leonard’s 1970s Detroit novel "The Switch," "Life of Crime" stars Jennifer Aniston, John Hawkes, yasiin bey (a.k.a. Mos Def), Isla Fisher, Will Forte, Mark Boone Jr, and Tim Robbins. "Life of Crime" trails criminals Louis and Ordell (Hawkes and bey) who kidnap the wife (Aniston) of a corrupt real estate developer (Robbins) and hold her for ransom. “'Life of Crime' is a whip-smart story of a ransom, double-crosses and a marriage going south,” said Cameron Bailey, Artistic Director of the Toronto International Film Festival. “It also introduces us to the film’s protagonists Ordell and Louis as young men. These are the same hoods that Samuel L. Jackson and Robert De Niro played in Quentin Tarantino’s Jackie Brown, which was an adaptation of Leonard’s novel 'Rum Punch.'”

TIFF's first slate of 16 Galas and 55 Special Presentations ranges from South Africa, France, Canada, South Korea, Australia and Germany to the USA and the United Kingdom and includes 40 world premieres from filmmakers including: Condon, Steve McQueen, Sylvain Chomet, John Carney, Jean-Marc Vallée, Atom Egoyan, Amma Asante, Godfrey Reggio, Jason Reitman, John Wells, Denis Villeneuve, Don McKellar, Jasmila Žbanić, Justin Chadwick, Mike Myers, Liza Johnson, Richard Ayoade, David Gordon Green, Ralph Fiennes, Paul Haggis, Manuel Martín Cuenca, Jason Bateman, Bertrand Tavernier and Matthew Weiner.

Among the expected Oscar contenders included are: 

Warner Bros. offers Alfonso Cuaron's 3-D sci-fi drama "Gravity," starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock as two astronauts stranded in space, and Denis Villeneuve's child kidnapping drama "Prisoners," starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal. 

Paramount has booked Jason Reitman's "Labor Day," starring Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. 

Weinstein Co. is represented with John Wells' "August: Osage County," starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," with Idris Elba in the title role. 

Fox Searchlight unveils anticipated Steve McQueen slave drama "Twelve Years a Slave," starring Chiwetel Echiofor and Michael Fassbender. 

Sony Pictures Classics has Cannes entries "The Past," from Asghar Farhadi and Jim Jarmusch's "Only Lovers Left Alive," starring Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston, as well as Sundance hit "Kill Your Darlings," starring Daniel Radcliffe as a young Allen Ginsberg. 

Universal/Working Title offers Ron Howard's Formula 1 racing drama "Rush," starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl, who also stars in the opening night film, and Focus Features has Jean-Marc Vallee's "Dallas Buyer's Club," starring an emaciated Matthew McConaughey as a man fighting AIDS. 

Sundance Selects' lesbian romance "Blue is the Warmest Color" won the Palme d'Or at Cannes.  

Among the films for sale in North America are "Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner's movie directorial debut, "You Are Here," a relationship comedy starring Owen Wilson and Zach Galifianakis, which Lionsgate is repping worldwide. 

See the full Galas and Special Presentations program lineup below:

This article is related to: Oscars, Toronto International Film Festival, Festivals, Twelve Years a Slave, Steve McQueen, Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor

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Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.