TORONTO — These are the things you try to commit to memory as you sit across from your interview subject, days before the plane takes off from Toronto's Pearson International Airport headed home, before the massive, 10-day Toronto International Film Festival begins receding into a gauzy dream. This is the stuff you never get on the voice recorder:

Daniel Radcliffe, who had three films at the fest (I talked to him about his turn as a young Allen Ginsberg in "Kill Your Darlings"), wore a white T-shirt and faint bristles on his young face; his parent, sitting across the restaurant, had come from London because, "Who knows when this will ever happen again," said the actor formerly known as Harry Potter.

Lupita Nyong’o stars in "12 Years a Slave," which opened at the Toronto Film Festival. The film, by director Steve McQueen, is being hailed
Lupita Nyong'o stars in "12 Years a Slave," which opened at the Toronto Film Festival. The film, by director Steve McQueen, is being hailed as a masterpiece and an Oscar heavyweight. (Chris Pizzello, Invision)

Other outtakes: Lupita Nyong'o, who has an auspicious debut in Steve McQueen's rightly unrelenting "12 Years a Slave," has the smoothest complexion on the planet. Josh Brolin likes to move around during an interview. He's as animated as the escaped convict he plays opposite Kate Winslet in "Labor Day" is still. And "Dallas Buyers Club" co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto don't just make potent counterparts onscreen — as a bigoted Texas electrician and a transsexual, each with AIDS in the early years of the pandemic. They make for fascinating back-to-back interviews.


The opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival — or TIFF, as it's widely known and branded — is a star-crammed affair.

Cannes has the glitz, but Canada's largest city (population 2.6 million) shares that stardust with its vast citizenry. Crowds standing behind barricades outside theaters or this year's stargazing hub, the Ritz Cartlon, make an argument for the rise of the new paparazzo: the guy or gal with camera phone raised and ready for the movie-making perp walking down the red (or at one venue, blue) carpet.

Who was here — and this is a very abridged list: Al Pacino without a movie; Julia Roberts for "August: Osage County"; Sandra Bullock on behalf of "Gravity"; Brad Pitt in his capacity as producer o f "12 Years a Slave"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Nicole Holofcener's charmer "Enough Said," which stars the late James Gandolfini; James Franco; Joseph Gordon-Levitt; Scarlett Johansson; Mila Kunis; Chris Hemsworth and director Ron Howard. From a block away, a high-pitched roar could be heard as Zac Efron arrived for "Parkland," about the hospital JFK and his assailant were taken to after each was shot. That is just the TIFF of the iceberg. By Wednesday, with the press junkets ended, most of the studios had decamped from their lux hotel suites.

What was left: a film festival rife with world cinema offerings, a still- teeming market for films in search of foreign or domestic distributors.

The conclusion of Toronto also signals — along with Telluride and Venice — the true start of Oscar's handicapping season.

It's impossible to imagine McConaughey not being recognized by Academy voters; the late AIDS drug activist Ron Woodroof is just the best in the actor's searing hot streak.

And the Toronto screenings of "12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity" confirmed what Telluride film festgoers discovered earlier this month: Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sandra Bullock should be locks for nominations: him for his portrayal of a free man kidnapped and sold into slavery and her for her turn as one of two astronauts who survive a debris storm.

Lisa Kennedy: 303-954-1567,,