LOS ANGELES, July 29 ― Steven Spielberg, Jennifer Lawrence and Harry Styles will bring their world premieres to Toronto, as North America's largest film festival signalled a return to full strength with the unveiling of a star-studded lineup yesterday.

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), which bills itself as “the world's biggest public film festival” and has launched countless Oscar winners, will welcome back A-listers to glamorous red carpets and exclusive after-parties after two heavily scaled-back editions during the pandemic.

Spielberg's eagerly awaited and deeply personal The Fabelmans will be among the hottest tickets during the festival, which begins September 8.

Based on the revered director's childhood in Arizona, exploring the family secrets of a young man with an early passion for filmmaking, the coming-of-age drama stars Michelle Williams, Paul Dano and Seth Rogen.

Director Rian Johnson launches Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, a whodunit sequel from Netflix in which Daniel Craig's gentleman sleuth meets a new star-studded cast including Edward Norton, Ethan Hawke and Jada Pinkett Smith.

Peter Farrelly, whose 2018 race drama Green Book began its path to Oscars glory at Toronto, will bring The Greatest Beer Run Ever, another world premiere. Zac Efron plays a merchant seaman who travels to Vietnam in the 1960s to deliver a case of beer to his army buddies, alongside co-stars Bill Murray and Russell Crowe.

TIFF is a key part of the fall festival lineup, along with Venice and Telluride, at which movies hoping to build early Oscars momentum typically hold lavish premieres.

Toronto's annual People's Choice Award has become an increasingly accurate Oscars bellwether, predicting eventual best picture winners such as Nomadland, which took home the Academy Award in 2021, and Green Book. Last year, organisers held a reduced in-person event over Covid-19 fears, while a year earlier the festival took place almost entirely online.

Stars expected to return to the Toronto red carpets this year include Oscar winners Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne ― in The Good Nurse ― and pop mega-star Harry Styles, who plays a closeted 1950s cop in My Policeman.

Jennifer Lawrence stars in Causeway, a drama about a solider suffering from a traumatic brain injury, while Viola Davis plays The Woman King, and Nicolas Cage appears in Butcher's Crossing.

Ewan McGregor and Hawke will feature in the world premiere of Raymond & Ray, produced by Alfonso Cuaron for Apple which ― fresh from its historic best picture win with CODA ― is also bringing a Sidney Poitier documentary produced by Oprah Winfrey.

Sidney will feature Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington and Quincy Jones.

Billy Eichner's Bros ― billed as the first gay rom-com from a major studio ― will have a splashy first showing, as will movie mogul Tyler Perry's A Jazzman's Blues.

Additionally the festival will play host to several major movies expected to premiere weeks earlier at other festivals, including Sam Mendes' Empire of Light, Darren Aronofsky's The Whale, and Women Talking starring Frances McDormand.

TIFF runs from September 8-18. ― AFP