Awards season for movies typically kicks off in January, but it could also be argued that the real start of awards season is September. Each fall, stars and critics amass in Toronto, Canada, for the Toronto International Film Festival, a 10-day affair during which hundreds of films are screened. The best-received among them often go on to sweep the Oscars. But aside from all that, it鈥檚 a great chance to scope out some of the best movies that will be coming out over the coming months. We鈥檝e grabbed just 10 that we think any Brit + Co reader would love to see, but there are way, way more; take a peek at the TIFF website to see what else there is.

1. American Pastoral: Ewan McGregor鈥檚 first film behind the camera captures the tumultuous 1960s through the lens of one family. Dakota Fanning plays the teenaged daughter of Ewan and Jennifer Connelly, whose opposition to the Vietnam War leads to her leaving her family and committing an act of political violence. It鈥檚 not the first time family strife or the turbulent 1960s have been covered, but the all-star cast and source material (Philip Roth鈥檚 novel of the same name) mean this is sure to be entertaining.

2. The Bad Batch: Ana Lily Amirpour鈥檚 2014 feature film debut, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, made huge waves. How could a movie described as an 鈥淚ranian Vampire Spaghetti Western鈥 not? Her follow-up promises similar intrigue: It deals with cannibals and takes place in a futuristic United States, but offers a clear commentary on what happens when exclusionary politics are taken too far. There鈥檚 hardly an issue more relevant to today鈥檚 world.

"Brain on Fire" via TIFF website

3. Brain on Fire: What鈥檚 one of the scariest things you can imagine? 鈥淒eveloping an illness no one can properly diagnose and that comes with amnesia鈥 is probably up there (or if it wasn鈥檛, it is now, so, sorry about that). That鈥檚 exactly what happened to Susannah Cahalan, who was a writer at the New York Post at the time. Brain on Fire stars Chlo毛 Grace Moretz as Cahalan, and is based on her memoir about the distressing ailment that overtook her and her journey back to herself.

4. Certain Women: Described as a 鈥渢ripartite portrait of striving, independent women whose lives intersect in suggestive and powerful ways,鈥 this film 鈥 starring Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams and Laura Dern as the aforementioned women 鈥 is a must-see. After all, who isn鈥檛 a 鈥渟triving, independent woman鈥 in today鈥檚 world?

via TIFF website

5. Jackie: As with American Pastoral, Jackie covers some well-trod cinematic territory: the lives of John and Jackie Kennedy, and specifically, the violent end John met. But the story gains new interest by being told here through Jackie鈥檚 eyes. Based largely on a Time magazine interview with the first lady just one week after her husband鈥檚 assassination, the film stars Natalie Portman in a new look at a well-worn tale.

6. La La Land: Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling have for reals chemistry, which might explain why they keep teaming up for romantic movies. La La Land marries modern life with the grand, romantic stylings of old-school musical movies. That ambition makes sense, given that it鈥檚 directed by Damien Chazelle, whose first film, Whiplash, also brought music into film in a dynamic fashion.

7. Loving: The story of Richard and Mildred Loving is a heartbreaking and historic one. They were an ordinary pair of people who wanted to be married and live together, as people often do. However, circumstances prevented it: Richard was white and Mildred was black, and they lived in Virginia when interracial marriage was illegal. This film follows the couple as they fought their way up to the Supreme Court and eventually had laws across the country against marriages like theirs overturned.

8. Manchester by the Sea: Casey Affleck is sort of the thinking woman鈥檚 Affleck 鈥 not that there鈥檚 anything wrong with Ben! Casey just isn鈥檛 in flashy superhero or big-budget action movies like his brother, and instead tends toward meditative roles in smaller, critically acclaimed films. Manchester by the Sea is no different. Casey plays a man who seems to be meandering through life, until his brother dies and he鈥檚 made guardian to his nephew. Will he rise to the challenge? Run from it? Take it on and mess up his teenaged charge? (Look out for Michelle Williams in this movie as well!)

"Nocturnal Animals" via TIFF website

9. Nocturnal Animals: Fashionistas will know Tom Ford鈥檚 name from the style world, and may remember that he made his feature-film directorial debut with 2009鈥檚 A Single Man. He鈥檚 back with Nocturnal Animals, starring Amy Adams and Jake Gyllenhaal as former spouses: Amy鈥檚 character begins reading the manuscript for Jake鈥檚 latest novel and is drawn into it, creating a sort of thriller-within-a-thriller.

10. Snowden: The story of 2013 (and one that has continued to play out) was the trove of documents Edward Snowden leaked to the press that proved the NSA is conducting massive surveillance operations both abroad and within the US. Some of it is legal, and some of it is鈥 not so much. This film, directed by Oliver Stone and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, details how Edward Snowden came into the information he eventually shared with the world, why he felt compelled to do so and how he managed it.

Are you excited for any of the other films showing in Toronto this week? Let us know @BritandCo on Twitter!

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