Joker And Knives Out Lead First Blast Of Exciting Toronto Film Festival 2019 Titles

Joaquin Phoenix as Joker

The summer blockbuster season continues to roll along at your area multiplexes, with audiences packing houses for Spider-Man: Far From Home and The Lion King while also grabbing tickets for the upcoming Hobbs & Shaw. Busy, busy. But believe it or not, Oscar season is also starting to gain some momentum.

The fall film festivals in Venice, Telluride and Toronto are beginning to reveal their programming choices, giving audiences an idea of which features might find themselves in the heat of awards competition as 2019 draws to a close. Some of these are predictable, especially the awards-pedigreed biopics. Others are major surprises. Like Joker. Really.

CinemaBlend plans to be on the ground in Toronto once again this year to get an early look at some of these top awards contenders, and also to get you excited for the wave of films that will be coming to a theatre near you in the immediate future. We have singled out a handful of films that have us very excited. Do you plan on checking these movies out?

Tom Hanks in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

Tom Hanks. Playing American icon Fred Rogers. Yes, please. This looks like a tender and heartwarming ode to positivity, hope and compassion, and the fact that it's making its World Premiere in Toronto has us extremely excited for the movie, and its Oscar chances.


The combination of Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix make Joker sound like more than a traditional comic-book movie. This isn’t Justice League, and it doesn’t want to be. Now, the fact that Joker is playing Venice as well as Toronto has us believing that the Oscar aspirations of Phillips aren’t that far-fetched. If Phoenix is firing on all possible cylinders, this one could make Oscar waves.

Ford versus Ferrari stars Matt Damon and Christian Bale

Ford v Ferrari

Matt Damon and Christian Bale teaming up for any movie would have us buying a ticket. But when you pair the dramatic actors with director James Mangold (Logan, Walk the Line) for a fast-driving recount of the rivalry between major automakers at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the chemistry of all three collaborators seems ready to combust on screen.

Cynthia Erivo


Oscar season usually delivers a stoic biopic or two, and we are intrigued by the notion of the immensely talented Cynthia Erivo portraying Harriet Tubman in a drama from Kasi Lemmons. Harriet is expected to dig into the work Tubman did to free slaves via the Underground Railroad, bringing a tough slice of American history to life.

Jojo Rabbit

Jojo Rabbit

Very few actors would even attempt to play Adolph Hitler on screen, let alone in a comedy. Leave it to writer-director Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) to accept that challenge head on by playing Hitler as the imaginary friend of a bullied young boy named Jojo. We have no clue where this movie will go, but we can’t wait to find out.

Renee Zellweger is Judy Garland


Another biopic, but this one with a different approach. Previous dramatic contenders such as My Week with Marilyn or The King’s Speech have chosen to focus on specific time periods in the life of an historic figure. Judy catches up with Hollywood royalty Judy Garland (Renee Zellweger) in the twilight of her career, as she lands in London… and falls in love.

Uncut Gems

The Safdie Brothers forever will have our interest after delivering the riveting Good Time with Robert Pattinson. The fact that they are teaming with Adam Sandler for another crime thriller that looks to take the comedian out of his comfort zone. And that's when Sandler is most interesting.

Daniel Craig in Knives Out

Knives Out

Not ever Toronto 2019 selection has to have Oscars on the brain. Some of them can just be rewarding ensemble exercises from ridiculously talented filmmakers. Knives Out, for example, is Rian Johnson trying to do Agatha Christie, with Daniel Craig and Lakeith Stanfield playing investigators whose murder suspects include Toni Collette, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon, Chris Evans and Jamie Lee Curtis. For real, where do we line up, today, to see this movie?

This is but a small sliver of the films that we are eagerly anticipating at the Toronto International Film Festival this year, and we expect to hear even more features added to the mix once Midnight and Global categories are unveiled.

Keep it here on CinemaBlend for the latest on these, and all movies, coming to theaters for the remainder of the year. To stay up to date, make sure to bookmark our release date calendar, and check it often.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.