Meryl Streep, August: Osage County, McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club, Chiwetel Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

For most industry observers, the Oscar race effectively kicks off not in December, but in September with the Toronto International Film Festival.

And the 2013 edition is certainly shaping up to be one of the most memorable in years in terms of prestige pictures that will undoubtedly vie for Academy voters' attention in the next several months as we head into awards season.

This year's slate promises major star power with a slew of premieres featuring the likes of Matthew McConaughey, Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal, Nicole Kidman, Liam Neeson, Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Reese Witherspoon, Josh Brolin and Kate Winslet, just to name a few.

Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Labor Day

Paramount Pictures

There are also a number of well-regarded actors who are determined to make their mark on critics and audiences alike and hope Toronto will catapult them to leading man status. They include Chiwetel Ejiofor, whose garnering incredible buzz for his turn as a free man who's sold into slavery in pre-Civil War Louisiana in 12 Years a Slave.

Of course, TIFF has become known as a place where dreams are made. Just ask director Danny Boyle and the stars of 2008's Slumdog Millionaire, Dev Patel and Freida Pinto, who battled their way to a Best Picture Oscar after winning acclaim at the 2008 confab.

Who will be next to follow? We'll have to wait and see when the Toronto Film Festival launches on Sept. 5 and runs through Sept. 15.

But for more on this year's buzz films, check out the gallery below.

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