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The Toronto International Film Festival is a film-lover’s dream. With nearly 300 films from every imaginable genre and hailing from countries all over planet Earth, the movies are showcased in beautiful state-of-the-art theaters and cineplexes, with many high-profile directors and actors attending their films’ screenings and holding entertaining Q&A sessions afterward. This is my second year attending TIFF and I can’t recommend the experience highly enough. If you’re a fan of films, particularly films of the artsy and prestigious persuasion (although there are many more mainstream films at the festival than you might expect), and you have the opportunity to attend the festival, take it. Unless you are incredibly self-loathing, you’ll be glad you did.

For those that can’t make the trek north of the border to the wonderful city of Toronto, the next best thing is to live vicariously through the people who did. I know this, because until recently, this is what I had to do. It’s not nearly as fun as actually being there, but when you are an awards fiend such as myself, you’ll inhale any little tidbit or review of the latest high-profile premiere from a potential Oscar player that you can get.

With that in mind, and after a couple of weeks of letting the movies really wash over me and make their impact felt, I considered it my civic duty to share with you the cinematic experience I had at TIFF 2013. What follows then is a breakdown of all fourteen films I saw at this year’s Toronto Film Festival, ranked from my least favorite to my favorite, accompanied by my grade for the film, a synopsis on my take on the film, and a look at the film’s Oscar prospects. With Venice, Telluride, and Toronto in the rearview mirror, and the New York Film Festival just having wrapped, the 2014 Oscar landscape is finally starting to take shape.

With that in mind, I’ll be taking stock of the current status of the coming awards season soon, with a category by category breakdown, so be on the lookout for those articles as well.

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This article was first posted on October 14, 2013