A24; Paramount; Courtesy TIFF (2)
September 06, 2017 at 11:35 AM EDT

As Entertainment Weekly prepares to head north to the Toronto International Film Festival, I decided to poll my fellow festival attendees about what we are all most excited to see. Below you’ll find our picks. I’ll go first! But before we begin, a caveat (that will sound like a humblebrag) (but is really just a caveat). I’ve been lucky enough to see a bunch of Toronto Festival Films before actually going to Toronto (wrap your head around that!). So that is the only reason many of the following movies will not be appearing on my list: mother!Battle of the Sexes, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Killing of a Sacred Deer, Brad’s Status, Mudbound, Call Me By Your Name, Stronger, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool, The Florida Project 

Sara Vilkomerson, Senior Writer

 Lady Bird: I already couldn’t wait to see Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut but now after hearing all the rapturous praise coming out of the Telluride Festival, consider me double, triple in.

Hostiles: I could talk about Scott Cooper’s 2013 Out of the Furnace forever. (Just ask my co-workers) I think it is my favorite Christian Bale performance to date which makes me extra excited to see Hostiles, with Cooper and Bale re-teaming for a western that looks just incredible. This one doesn’t have distribution yet but I’m guessing that won’t be the case for long.

The Square: Ruben Östlund’s last film, Force Majeure, remains one of my all time favorites. This one, starring Elisabeth Moss, Claes Bang, and Dominic West looks to be every bit b-a-n-a-n-a-s and I cannot wait.

Leah Greenblatt, critic at large 

mother!: Pretty much the most obvious pick, but a Darren Aronofsky psych-horror experiment starring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer? I am all-caps INTO IT.

Darkest Hour: Because John Lithgow’s Winston Churchill in The Crown (or the other nine million iterations of the legendary Prime Minister’s life story) were not enough. And because if any director can mine something fresh from classic-slash-done-to-death material, it’s probably Joe Wright (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Anna Karenina). Plus how can you not love that Gary Oldman will now forever have Sid Vicious and England’s greatest statesman on his IMDB page?

Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool: Okay so this one is definitely cheating but my coworker Joe McGovern got to see an early screening of this memoir-based dramedy starring Annette Bening and Jamie Bell (she’s fading 1950s movie goddess Gloria Grahame, he’s the young thing she romances in the last years of her life), and he loved it. Also, can we please give Bening her goddamn Oscar already?

BPM (Beats per Minute): This French AIDS drama—set in 1990s Paris at the height of the epidemic—has already won the Grand Prix at Cannes, which I’m hoping will help it rise above some of the festival’s more obvious star-powered picks and find a wider English-language audience.

Lean on Pete: Another “boy and his horse” tale? Boo, you say. But Andrew Haig has already made two brilliant, complicated, and very adult films—Weekend and 45 Years—so saddle me up.

Christopher Rosen, executive editor 

Like Sara, I’ve seen some of the most highly anticipated movies already, including the outstanding Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, the also-outstanding The Florida Project, and more… But!

mother!: Has Darren Aronofsky ever made a bad movie? Okay, sure. But has Darren Aronofsky ever made a movie that didn’t leave audiences talking for days on end? Not yet. The odds are good that streak will continue with mother! which stars Jennifer Lawrence (pitched at hysteria) and looks like the baby Lars von Trier and Roman Polanski never had.

Lady Bird: Greta Gerwig made a coming-of-age movie set in 2002. Give me the music cues!

Roman J. Israel, Esq.: Don’t write this one off because of that title. This is Dan Gilroy’s follow-up to the excellent (and keeps-getting-better-with-distance) Nightcrawler, with Denzel Washington and Colin Farrell playing defense attorneys.

Joey Nolfi, editorial assistant

My list is very diva centric. But, here we go:

Gaga: Five Foot Two: Once, when I was 19, I cleared my bank account buying tickets to a Lady Gaga concert in another city, and slept overnight on a park bench after the show because I couldn’t pay for a hotel. Need I say more about my dedication to this queen?

First They Killed My Father: Angelina Jolie’s skills as a director far exceed the credit she’s been given by critics thus far. She’s grown with each release (I still think By the Sea is a masterpiece), and I’m anticipating here an intimately wrought narrative that incorporates the same empathetic, passionate care she’s shown across her years of humanitarian efforts in Cambodia, where this film takes place.

A Fantastic Woman: First-time actress Daniela Vega could be a historic breakout in the Best Actress Oscar race for her work in this thriller from the increasingly exciting arena of Chilean cinema.

The Wife: Here’s hoping this adaptation of Meg Wolitzer’s novel of the same name bags a hefty distribution deal on the TIFF market (also, someone please give Glenn Close her damn Oscar already).

Disobedience: The Rachel-on-Rachel lesbian drama/spiritual sequel to Carol we’ve all been waiting for!

The Toronto International Film Festival kicks off this week.

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