Tiff 2019: Meryl Streep and Joaquin Phoenix, Paying Tribute to Late Brother River, Launch Oscar Bids

September’s Toronto International Film Festival has long been a launching pad for Oscar contenders, and its coveted People’s Choice award often presages the Best Picture Oscar winner. “Green Book” last year was no exception.

So it was inevitable that Tiff would jump-start the awards season with its own Awards Gala. This year’s first installment gave out two acting awards, to Joaquin Phoenix, star of DC’s “Batman” spin-off “Joker”, which surprisingly won the Golden Lion in Venice, and Oscar perennial Meryl Streep (21 nominations). Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas, Her costars in Steven Soderbergh’s “The Laundromat”, came onstage to remind us that Streep breaks the record for the most nominations of all time every time she gets a nod — because it’s a record she set herself.

The Streep sizzle reel stretched back to “Kramer vs. Kramer,” through “Sophie’s Choice,” “Silkwood,” “Bridges of Madison County,” “The Devil Wears Prada,

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