<p>Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Mandela in &quot;Winnie.&quot;</p>

Jennifer Hudson as Winnie Mandela in "Winnie."

Jennifer Hudson's 'Winnie' among newly announced Toronto Film Festival galas

Plus: Saoirse Ronan and Alexis Blendel are 'Violet & Daisy'

The Toronto International Film Festival revealed a number of new galas and premieres for the upcoming September festival today including some long awaited features, some curious acquisition titles and a number of just plain surprises.  Most notably is "Winnie" starring Jennifer Hudson as the controversial freedom fighter Winnie Mandela and Geoffrey Fletcher's thriller "Violet & Daisy."  Here's a complete rundown with some thoughts for added measure.

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<p>Billy Crystal stops by the 83rd Academy Awards earlier this year.</p>

Billy Crystal stops by the 83rd Academy Awards earlier this year.

Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

Surprise: Billy Crystal wants to host the Oscars again

Should he?

After the startling news that the Academy was bringing back last year's Oscar co-producer Don Misher and teaming him with, um, Brett Ratner (lord, it's gonna be a long season) it appears one of the award show's most famous faces has seen an opening.  

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<p>Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's &quot;J. Edgar&quot;</p>

Leonardo DiCaprio as J. Edgar Hoover in Clint Eastwood's "J. Edgar"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Clint Eastwood says Hoover's sexuality open 'for interpretation' in 'J. Edgar'

Plus: New images of the Leonardo DiCaprio drama

The fall movie season is less than a month away and with the shorter days and chillier nights Hollywood enters it's "serious" season.  The prestige picture extravaganza will begin with the triple threat of festivals in less than three weeks, Venice, Telluride and Toronto.  However, there are a few films currently skipping those early showcases in hopes of awards season glory later one.  One is the increasingly curious biopic "J. Edgar."

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<p>Caesar (emoted by Andy Serkis, CG by WETA) hugs John Lithgow in Rupert Wyatt's &quot;Rise of the Planet of the Apes.&quot;</p>

Caesar (emoted by Andy Serkis, CG by WETA) hugs John Lithgow in Rupert Wyatt's "Rise of the Planet of the Apes."

Credit: 20th Century Fox

Is 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' really an Oscar player?

Can Andy Serkis make motion capture history?

Sometimes it's best to wait through the pre-release hype to see a movie. That's a rare occurrence for this pundit, but every once in awhile it happens with a big movie. In this case, travel and business schedules dictated viewing Rupert Wyatt's acclaimed "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" six days after its debut.  The early buzz had been iffy on "Apes" and Fox certainly wasn't screening it early, but a funny thing happened on the way to opening day - some very strong reviews.

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<p>Tom Hanks and Thomas Horn in Stephen Daldry's &quot;Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks and Thomas Horn in Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close."

Credit: Warner Bros.

First Look: Tom Hanks in Stephen Daldry's 'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close'

Oscar player hits theaters in Nov.

A strong resume can be both a blessing and a curse.  For director Stephen Daldry it's been just the latter.  Unless, of course, he lives under the pressure of having every two of his three films nominated for the Academy Award for best picture and personally being nominated in the best director category for all of them.  Something tells us that with the constant stream of good source material at his hands, he doesn't.

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<p>Carey Mulligan discuss her new thriller &quot;Drive&quot;&nbsp;at San Diego's Comic-Con 2012.</p>

Carey Mulligan discuss her new thriller "Drive" at San Diego's Comic-Con 2012.

Carey Mulligan on the power of quiet love with Ryan Gosling in 'Drive'

A deep conversation on the art of acting at, um, Comic-Con

SAN DIEGO - Comic-Con is not necessarily the first "festival" that springs to mind when thinking of British ingenue Carey Mulligan.  An Oscar nominee for her sparkling turn in "An Education," Mulligan career has seemed more suited for the red carpets of Cannes, Toronto, Venice and Park City.  And yet, last month, Mulligan and a few of her co-horts found their way to Comic-Con's massive Hall H where they pitched the new thriller "Drive" to the pop culture festival's more genre-friendly audience. 

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<p>Anna Paquin in an unapproved image from &quot;Margaret.&quot; Or maybe it was.&nbsp; It's been awhile.</p>

Anna Paquin in an unapproved image from "Margaret." Or maybe it was.  It's been awhile.

'Margaret' will finally be released almost six years after production began

Anna Paquin drama has legendary behind-the-scenes drama

Fox Searchlight announced today that Kenneth Lonergan ensemble drama "Margaret" will be released in theaters Sept. 30.  Normally, this would be intriguing, but not major news in the movie industry except that "Margaret" is Lonergan's follow up to his critically acclaimed directorial debut "You Can Count on Me."  That film was released in 2000, almost 11 years ago.  

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<p>Brett Ratner</p>

Brett Ratner

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Hell freezes over: Brett Ratner to co-produce the 84th Academy Awards

Don Mischer also returns

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that Brett Ratner and Don Mischer will produce the 84th Academy Awards telecast.

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<p>Michelle Williams as the legendary Marilyn Monroe in &quot;My Week with Marilyn.&quot;</p>

Michelle Williams as the legendary Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn."

Credit: The Weinstein Company

'My Week with Marilyn' gets its close up at the New York Film Festival

Marilyn Monroe love story a NYFF gala centerpiece

There were a number of expected awards season players missing from the Venice, Telluride and Toronto Film Festival lineup announcements last week including Jason Reitman's "Young Adult" and "The Iron Lady."  Now we know why as one of those titles, "My Week with Marilyn," has been selected as the centerpiece gala for the 2011 New York Film Festival.

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<p>Director Nick Broomfield in a scene from his new documentary &quot;Sarah Palin - You Betcha!&quot;</p>

Director Nick Broomfield in a scene from his new documentary "Sarah Palin - You Betcha!"

Sarah Palin, Comic-Con and Werner Herzog highlight 2011 Toronto Film Festival doc selections

Oscar winning filmmakers debuting new documentaries

The Toronto International Film Festival announced a new wave of documentary screenings for this year's festival and they include some premieres from notable filmmakers.  Morgan Spurlock, Wim Wenders, Jessica Yu, Alex Gibny, Nick Broomfield and Toronto regular Werner Herzog will all have documentaries debuting.  Additionally, Jonathan Demme's doc "I'm Carolyn Parker: The Goo, the Mad, and the Beautiful" was announced along with the bulk of the narrative selections last week.  

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