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Toronto fest’s hottest party

By: - Columnist
/ 02:28 AM September 17, 2015

LOS ANGELES—Eddie Redmayne, Dakota Johnson, Alicia Vikander, Benicio Del Toro, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon, Brie Larson and 8-year-old

Jacob Tremblay—some of the actors earning praises for their performances in this year’s Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) entries—graced the fest’s hottest party, the annual bash hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) and InStyle magazine.

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Winning acclaim for his portrayal of transgender pioneer Einar Wegener in “The Danish Girl,” Eddie and his wife, Hannah Bagshawe, were easily the most popular couple at the Windsor Arms Hotel. In a sea of the usual dark-hued clothes, last year’s Oscar and Golden Globe best actor winner stood out in a cream suit.

For Eddie, one of the evening’s highlights was bumping into Susan Sarandon (in town for “About Ray” and “The Meddler”), his costar in the 2011 TV movie, “The Miraculous Year.” The two actors hugged and laughed as they animatedly updated each other.

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Eddie was also very happy to see an old friend, Tom Hiddleston who stars in the Hank Williams biopic entry, “I Saw the Light.”

Alicia Vikander, just as compelling in “The Danish Girl” as Gerda Wegener who watches her husband gradually transform into Lili Elbe, came in a Louis Vuitton dress.

Dakota Johnson, impressive in her short role in “Black Mass,” arrived with the film’s producer, John Lesher. The “Fifty Shades of Grey” star, who plays Johnny Depp’s girlfriend and the mother of his son, holds her own against the actor in their few scenes together, especially in one wrenching scene in a hospital.

Also a standout in “Black Mass,” Joel Edgerton was almost unrecognizable in his new blond buzz cut (for a new film role, “Loving”) and thick-rimmed glasses. As disgraced FBI agent John Connolly, the Aussie and costars Johnny (effective as Boston gangster Whitey Bulger) and Dakota lead the film’s strong performances.

Joel, Dakota and their fashionable director Scott Cooper (whom I teased as “Mr. GQ” because he was always sharply dressed whenever I bumped into him), joined by Rachel Weisz, who was in Toronto for her “The Lobster” entry, huddled together at one point and drew many guests to flock to this spot.

Benicio Del Toro kept himself warm with a gray wool scarf on this rainy night in the Canadian city. In the riveting “Sicario,” the actor delivers one of the best performances in his career as a Colombian consultant in the United States’ war on drugs but whose motives are suspicious.

Michael Shannon, looking different these days with his long hair (he’s shooting “Wolves” with Bart Freundlich, Julianne Moore’s director husband), earned congratulations for his depiction of a callous real estate broker in “99 Homes.”

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Quite a sight in this bash celebrating film and the talents behind the entries was young boy Jacob Tremblay who’s stirring best supporting actor nod buzz for his work in “Room.” Lenny Abrahamson’s drama, which first made a splash in the Telluride Film Festival, is told from the perspective of Jacob’s character, a child who was born and raised in a small shed where his mom (Brie Larson who is earning raves) was held captive for seven grueling years.

Pint-sized reveler

Jacob, accompanied by his real-life mom Christina, caught everyone’s attention and eventually saw Brie who excitedly chatted with her pint-sized costar. The very young actor even danced at one point.

In the news these days because of all that next-James-Bond talk, Idris Elba, representing “Beasts of No Nation” (which tackles the story of African child soldiers), kept his sunglasses on throughout the star-studded event.

When Naomi Watts, one of the first to arrive, caught up with Susan, her “About Ray” costar, and Sarah Silverman (the comedienne shows off her serious acting chops in “I Smile Back”), it was a women-power personified moment.

Sarah was overheard saying about who will be the next Golden Globe Awards host: “How are you supposed to follow Tina (Fey) and Amy (Poehler), the greatest hosts of all time?”

Despite the rain, even the outdoor courtyard was packed. Eddie, Hannah and friends hung out there, in one of the covered spots, for a while.

HFPA president Lorenzo Soria graciously welcomed the guests, which included Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart, Paul Dano and girlfriend Zoe Kazan, Michael Peña (who represented the entertaining “The Martian”), Elizabeth Olsen, Emmanuelle Chriqui (a standout in a short white jumpsuit), Ben Foster, Greta Gerwig, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Geoffrey Rush, Martin Landau, Harry Shum Jr., Molly Ringwald and Zach Levi.

As the party wound down, Benicio, Paul and Christian Slater braved the rain and walked over to the fans who have been standing outside, cheering the stars as they arrived in limos and black SUVs. The actors signed autographs and posed for pictures with the grateful fans. That was a class act by these guys.

(E-mail the columnist at [email protected] Follow him at http://twitter.com/nepalesruben)

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TAGS: Alicia Vikander, Benicio del Toro, Brie Larson, Canada, Cinemas, Dakota Johnson, Eddie Redmayne, Entertainment, Jacob Tremblay, Joel Edgerton, Michael Shannon, TIFF, Toronto International Film Festival
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