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Early Oscar buzz is already stirring in Toronto

TORONTO — As is always the case, the screenings of major fall film offerings at the annual Toronto International Film Festival have stirred up early buzz for possible nominations for Oscars and other major prizes in the upcoming “award season.”

There will be more, of course, but at this point it looks like Eddie Redmayne — who took home the best actor Oscar for “The Theory of Everything,” a Toronto hit last year — is a front-runner to repeat the feat for the gender-bending “The Danish Girl,” directed by fellow Oscar winner Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech,” “Les Miserables”). All around the festival this past weekend, I heard people referring to Redmayne as being a possibility to “do a Tom Hanks” — a reference to the actor’s back-to-back Oscar wins for “Philadelphia” and “Forrest Gump.”

However, Redmayne will have some stiff competition, with many assuming Johnny Depp’s performance as Jimmy “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass,” Tom Hardy’s portrayal of the vicious 1960s English gangsters the Kray twins in “Legend” and Bryan Cranston’s Dalton Trumbo in the ’50s Hollywood Blacklist film “Trumbo” will also be contenders for many awards this year.

Also stirring award talk were such very different films as the 1950s-set “Brooklyn” drama about an Irish immigrant girl, starring Saoirse Ronin, and the Mexican drug cartel thriller “Sicario,” toplined by Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin.

On top of all that, many people seem to think Sarah Silverman’s amazing dramatic star turn as the tragic, drug and alcohol-addicted suburban mom in “I Smile Back” might bring her some decent award season attention — given this career-changing role is so different from her image as one of our top comedians.