Every September, Hollywood stars and the crème of the film industry crop migrate north of the 49th parallel to Canada’s biggest city for the Toronto International Film Festival. Because TIFF consistently showcases the year’s best films, it has turned into quite the hotbed of early Oscar chatter.

Some of the festival’s past premiered films that went on to win or be nominated for Best Picture include American Beauty, Slumdog Millionare (director Danny Boyle openly credits TIFF for saving it from a straight-to-DVD release), Precious, The King’s Speech, Silver Linings Playbook and 12 Years A Slave.

This year is TIFF’s 40th Anniversary, and we were on hand to get the scoop on which flicks just might take home Hollywood’s highest-profile statuettes in 2016. Here’s a sneak peek.

Beasts Of No Nation is the first piece of original feature film content to go up on Netflix. It’s a two-hour long drama about West African child soldiers. So you could say the whole ‘Netflix and chill’ theme just got a whole lot more interesting.

The Danish Girl
Early buzz for: Best Picture, Best Director (Tom Hooper), Best Actor (Eddie Redmayne), Best Actress (Alicia Vikander), Best Adapted Screenplay (Lucina Coxen) 

The Danish Girl tells the story of artist Lil Elbe, who was born Einar Wegenor and became one of the first recipients of gender reassignment surgery in the 1920s. Now, I know what you’re thinking, Caitlyn Jenner. And yes, this movie is timely, perhaps opportunistic. That and Tom Hooper’s direction are two of many reasons it’s a contender for Best Picture.

And let’s just say Eddie Redmayne has that Oscar playbook down pat: 1. Be in a movie that is based on true events 2. Play a transformative character. But let’s not forget semi-newcomer Alicia Vikander (Ex-Machina), who is arguably the true lead in this film and remarkable in her performance. Her character stands by Einar/Lil’s side as he transitions into a woman, all the while watching her marriage disappear before her eyes.

Early buzz for:Best Actress (Brie Larson)

Based on a best-selling book inspired by a true story, Room is about a young woman (Larson) and her son (Jacob Tremblay) held captive for years in a tiny room, who then struggle to integrate into the real world when they are released.

Larson is a force in the lead role. She has been a rising star for a while, but her performance here promises to take her stock to a whole new level—and quite possibly some Oscar hardware.

Black Mass
Early buzz for: Best Actor (Johnny Depp)

Black Mass looks at the brutal reign of gangster Whitey Bulger, who ruled South Boston while covertly working as an FBI informant, feeding the bureau information on his competitors and shielding his schemes from prosecution.

Depp completely transforms into this nightmarish boogeyman with a thinning pate, pale blue eyes, and rotting teeth. Depp’s performance isn’t showy either—his most chilling moments on-screen, like the dinner table scene in the trailer, are subtle. One of the best roles of Depp’s career makes him a near lock for a Best Actor nod. Hopefully that takes some of the sting away from Mortdecai.

Beasts Of No Nation
Early buss for: Best Director (Cary Fukunaga), Best Supporting Actor (Idris Elba)

Beasts Of No Nation is the first piece of original feature film content to go up on Netflix. It’s a two-hour long drama about West African child soldiers. So you could say the whole ‘Netflix and chill’ theme just got a whole lot more interesting.

The story is based on the book of the same name about Agu (Abraham Attah), a young villager who is separated from his family by war—and forced into service by a commander (Idris Elba) who convinces Agu that by joining his rebel group, he is fighting to avenge his family. Fukunaga is of the most gifted filmmakers working today and Elba is magnetic in this role; both are getting plenty of early buzz.

Early buzz for: Best Actress (Saoirse Ronan), Best Adapted Screenplay (Nicky Hornby)

Set in the 1950s, Brooklyn is about a young Irish woman who leaves her family behind to start a new life in the US. She falls in love with a blue-collar American (Emory Cohen), but a tragedy forces her to return back home. She then begins to fall to the charms of a kindly neighbor (Domhnall Gleeson), causing her to be unsure where her true home lies.

Ronan’s performance should separate her from prior, more juvenile roles and elevate her as a serious actress. And Hornby, who penned the scripts for An Education and Wild, delivers a potential winner on the writing side.

Early buzz for: Best Supporting Actor (Benicio Del Toro) 

Sicario is a dark, harrowing look at the drug war. While Emily Blunt is convincing as an idealistic FBI agent, it’s Benicio Del Toro, looking like Brad Pitt’s Mexican doppelganger, who really steals the show.

The only thing to possibly prevent Sicario from receiving nominations come awards season? The Academy might be too prudish for the subject matter Sicario brings to the table.

Early buzz for: Best Picture, Best Director (Tom McCarthy), Best Supporting Actor (Micheal Keaton), Best Original Screenplay (Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer) 

Spotlight has been garnering some of the best reviews at this year’s festival. It’s this year’s ‘surprise hit’ for a few different reasons. First off, again, the film emerges from a real-life event: one of the most fascinating police investigations ever. Set in 2001, Spotlight follows the team of Boston Globe reporters who uncovered a massive scandal of child abuse and cover-ups within the local Catholic Church.

Second, the film boasts one of the strongest ensemble casts you could imagine, including Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, and Stanley Tucci. Keaton’s role diverges sharply from his critically acclaimed work in last year’s Birdman, perhaps proving once and for all that an actor doesn’t have to play disabled or female to be great.