UPDATE: Open Road Films announced on Thursday that it has picked up Jon Stewart’s directorial debut Rosewater and will be releasing the film on November 7th.
Jon Stewart’s directorial debut Rosewater, Reese Witherspoon’s naturalist weepie Wild and Jake Gyllenhaal’s noirish character study Nightcrawler are among the big films premiering at the Toronto Film Festival this year. The venerable festival, long considered a key stop for Oscar hopefuls, announced its Galas and Special Presentations lineup this morning, thus signaling the kick-off to this year’s awards season.
The Daily Show host’s film is an adaptation of journalist Maziar Bahari’s memoir about being detained in an Iranian prison for reporting on the country’s 2009 presidential elections; Stewart had taken a 12-week hiatus from the late-night program to shoot the movie in Jordan last summer.
The Robert Downey Jr. legal drama The Judge has been announced as the festival’s opening-night selection, with Alan Rickman’s historical epic A Little Chaos closing out the fest. Other highly anticipated titles in the Galas and Special Presentations lineup include The Drop, a Brooklyn crime thriller starring Tom Hardy and featuring the final screen appearance of James Gandolfini; While We’re Young, the latest from The Squid and the Whale‘s Noah Baumbach, starring Ben Stiller, Naomi Watts, and the Beastie Boys’ Adam Horovitz; The Imitation Game, a biopic on the British cryptographer Alan Turing (who cracked the Nazis’ Enigma code) starring Benedict Cumberbatch; Cake, in which Jennifer Aniston portrays an off-putting woman who bonds with a widower; and This is Where I Leave You, a dysfunctional-family dramedy starring Tina Fey, Jason Bateman and Girls‘ Adam Driver.
Several notable Cannes’ titles will also be making their North American and Canadian premieres, notably Foxcatcher, director Bennett Miller’s award-winning dramatization of the relationship between Olympic wrestling champions Mark and Dave Schultz (played by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo) and schizophrenic multimillionaire John du Pont. Steve Carell’s performance as du Pont has a number of award-season pundits saying that the comedian may be a front-runner for the Best Actor Oscar. Cannes competition titles from Toronto’s favorite son David Cronenberg (Maps to the Stars) and Mike Leigh (Mr. Turner) will also be making their North American and Canadian premieres, respectively.
In other film festival news, the New York Film Festival announced that David Fincher’s Gone Girl, based on the Gillian Flynn bestseller, will open the event’s 52nd edition; Paul Thomas Anderson’s Inherent Vice and Alejando González Ináritu’s Birdman have also been announced as the fest’s centerpiece and closing-night selections.