Seth Rogen, Robert De Niro, Alexander Payne... The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) unveiled Monday a lineup with many American headliners, despite the actors' and screenwriters' strike that is currently paralyzing Hollywood. A usual springboard for many Oscar contenders, the event will be held from September 7 to 17, but this year must deal with major uncertainties, because American stars may not walk its red carpet.
During the strike, the actors' union SAG-AFTRA prohibits its members from promoting films from major studios and streaming platforms, with which negotiations to raise salaries and regulate the use of artificial intelligence have failed. Only actors working in independent films will be able to benefit from a “provisional agreement” in order to promote their production, explained Duncan Crabtree-Ireland, the chief negotiator of SAG-AFTRA, in an interview with the specialized site Deadline.
Several potentially Oscar-winning films must be unveiled during this new edition of TIFF. Among them, we find in particular Dumb Money, with Seth Rogen and Paul Dano, who looks back on the rebellion of thousands of stockbrokers in 2021 to raise the action of GameStop video game stores against investment funds betting on its fall. Robert De Niro embodies him, in Ezra, a father who sees his son return to live under his roof, after the sinking of his career and his marriage.
The festival announces other world premieres, including those of the drama Les Indésirables by French director Ladj Ly, the sports comedy Une Equipe de rêve by Taika Waititi, and Seven Veils by Atom Egoyan with Amanda Seyfried. The international premiere of The Holdovers, by American director Alexander Payne, is also scheduled. The film tells the story of a teacher (Paul Giamatti) in charge of supervising the students of a boarding school who cannot return home for the Christmas holidays. TIFF chief executive Cameron Bailey said in a statement that the programming featured a "rich mosaic of talent, vision and storytelling".
Along with Venice and Telluride, Toronto is a key stop for fall festivals, where many of the contenders for American awards reveal themselves in first millimeters. Its People's Choice Award has stood out as an important barometer in the race for the Oscars: in recent years, two of its winners, Nomadland and Green Book, have won the Oscar for best picture after being noticed in Toronto.