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Oscars 2013: EW's no-nonsense Prize Fighter analysis of early race

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The conversation begins …

The Toronto International Film Festival unofficially kicks off the Oscar race each year as the best-of-the-best line up for their shot at awards glory – and the movie-fan attention (and ticket sales) that inevitably accompanies it.

Right now, we’re six months away from the March 2 Academy Awards, any film can still pull ahead or fall back. But as the Toronto festival draws to a close this weekend, it’s clear which films will rank among the fiercest competitors.

Blue Jasmine, The Butler, and Fruitvale Station opened this summer to their share of buzz, and some major players such as Saving Mr. Banks, American Hustle, and The Wolf of Wall Street haven’t played anywhere yet, so there are still a lot of variables.

Click through for a quick rundown of the Oscar strengths and weaknesses of Toronto’s top titles:

• 12 Years a Slave

• August: Osage County

• Dallas Buyers Club

• Enough Said

• The Fifth Estate

• Gravity

• Labor Day

• Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

• Prisoners

• Rush