What do "No Country For Old Men," "Slumdog Millionaire," "The Hurt Locker," "The King's Speech" and "The Artist" all have in common? Well, besides being the last five Best Picture winners, each film has screened at the prestigious Toronto International Film Festival. With apologies to the wonderful festivals held in Cannes, Venice, Telluride and New York, it's becoming more and more apparent that Oscar season doesn't officially begin until the first film unspools at the TIFF Bell Lightbox theater.
This year, over 200 films will screen at the Toronto Film Festival, with many eyeing Academy Awards. From Ben Affleck's "Argo" to Andy and Lana Wachowski's adaptation of "Cloud Atlas," some of 2012's biggest Oscar early contenders will screen in Canada over the next week. Which will be "The Artist" of 2012? Ahead, HuffPost Entertainment asks 12 key questions about some of the biggest films screening at TIFF 2012.
Is Ben Affleck's third film the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/01/argo-reviews-telluride-ben-affleck_n_1848831.html" target="_hplink">Best Picture contender many at the Telluride Film Festival claimed</a>, or just a tightly wound and crowd-pleasing Hollywood thriller?
Will Paul Thomas Anderson's highly anticipated "The Master" be too weird for Academy Awards voters, or is it the Best Picture front-runner?
'Hyde Park on Hudson'
Is "Hyde Park on Hudson," with Bill Murray playing Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the next "My Week With Marilyn"? (A high-minded bit of awards bait more notable for its lead performance than actual quality.)
Will TIFF audiences embrace Rian Johnson's twisty sci-fi thriller in the same way that they did "Drive" last year?
'Silver Linings Playbook'
Does David O. Russell's drama-comedy thread the needle between Oscar bona fides and populist entertainment in the same manner that his last film, "The Fighter," did?
Is "Anna Karenina" the classic novel adaptation that finally gets director Joe Wright ("Pride and Prejudice" and "Atonement") over the Oscar hump?
Have the Wachowskis and Tom Tykwer created an incredible, sure-fire Best Picture contender or the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/04/the-wachowskis-cloud-atlas_n_1853912.html" target="_hplink">next Hollywood cautionary tale</a>?
Is Noah Baumbach's secret film (co-written and starring Greta Gerwig) as good as the early buzz indicates, and will whatever studio acquires "Frances Ha" release it during awards season?
Will "The Impossible" be the Best Picture dark horse of the season or just the latest in a long line of disaster porn?
'Rust and Bone'
Will this French import give Marion Cotillard her second Best Actress trophy in five years?
While <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/30/the-sapphires-trailer-chris-odowd_n_1844234.html?utm_hp_ref=entertainment" target="_hplink">Harvey Weinstein is on record</a> as saying Oscars aren't the first thing on his mind with regards to "The Sapphires," the question needs to be asked: Is the Australian import the next out-of-nowhere Oscar contender?
'To the Wonder'
Has Terrence Malick actually made a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/02/terrence-malick-to-the-wonder-reviews_n_1850287.html" target="_hplink">bad movie</a>?
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