2019 Toronto International Film Festival unveils a diverse array of awards season contenders

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) rolled out the first wave of its 2019 films — its Gala and Special Presentations lineup — on Tuesday, and once again, several LGBTQ-inclusive titles are amongst the splashy array of films debuting at the world-renowned film-lovers paradise.

Hustlers, which co-stars Transparent actress Trace Lysette as well as Lizzo, J.Lo, and others, will make its world premiere at TIFF. Lysette made the announcement herself on her social media channels.

Frankie Ira Sachs filmAmongst the prominent queer films are three that debuted earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival, Ira Sachs’ FrankiePedro Almodóvar’s Pain and Glory, and writer-director Céline Sciamma Portrait of a Lady on Fire. The former, about a French art-house movie star, features Isabelle Huppert, Marisa Tomei, Brendan Gleeson, and Greg Kinnear. Pain and Glory is the 21st film from the gay Spanish auteur, stars Antonio Banderas and an ensemble cast that includes Penelope Cruz.

portrait of a lady on fireThe latter film tells the story of a woman hired to paint a portrait ahead of a prospective marriage, who finds herself in 18th-century Brittany falling for the reclusive would-be bride. The fourth feature from writer-director Sciamma won the Cannes Queer Palm prize at Cannes. It is the first time the prize had gone to a female director. 

Pansexual actress Janelle Monáe stars in Focus Features’ Harriet, the long-awaited film about Harriet Tubman, starring Cynthia Erivo in the titular role. 

Warner Bros. will present the world premiere of their adaptation of the popular novel The Goldfinch, starring Nicole Kidman, Ansel Egort, and Finn Wolfhard, alongside out actors Sarah Paulson and Denis O’Hare. The book features a character called Hobie, who will be played by Jeffrey Wright, who is alluded to being gay in the source material. 

Renee in JudyThe world will get its first look at Renée Zellweger in Judy, featuring the Oscar-winner's performance as Judy Garland during the last year of her life, in Rupert Goold’s moving adaptation of the stage play End of the Rainbow.

Armando Iannucci will premiere The Personal History of David Copperfield, which will star out actor Ben Whishaw alongside Dev Patel and Tilda Swinton. 

a beautiful day in the neighborhood tom hanksTom Hanks will star in Sony’s A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which will feature Tom Hanks taking on the role of children’s television host Mister Rogers. The film is directed by Marielle Heller, who also helmed last year's GLAAD Media Award-nominated film Can You Ever Forgive Me? The 2018 documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? — also about the popular TV host — featured a touching interview with Mister Roger's Neighborhood actor Francois (Officer) Clemmons, in which he spoke about how kind Fred was to him after he came out to his boss. Interviewer Tom Snyder asked Rogers, "Are you straight?" in an on-camera interview for the documentary. Clemmons, who is gay, says Fred Rogers was not: "I spent enough time with him, if there was a gay vibe, I would have picked it up." 

However, Rogers’ sexual orientation was back in the news in 2019, when a new interview with him surfaced in which he allegedly said, “Well, you know I must be right smack in the middle. Because I have found women attractive, and I have found men attractive.”

Other big titles premiering at TIFF 2019 include the new Joker movie in the long-running Batman franchise, Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit, Abominable, Matt Damon-Christian Bale race car film Ford v Ferrari, Eddie Murphy starring Dolemite Is My Name, and Rian Johnson’s Knives Out.

The full lineup for TIFF 2019 will be released on Thursday, July 25th. Check back here for updates.