Toronto — With more and more Oscar contenders premiering here in major gala screenings, from “Brokeback Mountain” to “Capote,” two films with the most intense awards season buzz, the festival itself has become a stomping ground to tout Hollywood. You can’t walk into the Four Seasons without seeing a celebrity, let alone dozens of screaming youngsters behind barricades desperate for a glimpse of Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger or Jake Gyllenhaal.
Kirsten Dunst came to promote her new movie “Elizabethtown,” in which she stars as a flight attendant; Charlize Theron made the cover of nearly every local newspaper for “North Country,” a “Silkwood” meets “Erin Brockovich” look at a mining factory in Minnesota; Reese Witherspoon strolled the red carpet for the Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line” — she stars as June Carter Cash — in a frock by her favorite designer of late, Alberta Ferretti; Keira Knightley came for a day in support of “Pride and Prejudice,” stopped at a swag suite to pick up some Seven For All Mankind jeans and returned to the set of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” sequels, while Maggie Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore made it to a dinner at the Chanel store on Bloor Street in honor of “Trust the Man,” a film about disintegrating relationships in the West Village directed by Moore’s husband, Bart Freundlich, which Fox Searchlight picked up for a pretty penny.
Some stars came in allegiance to their other halves. Naomi Watts swung by in support of her latest squeeze, Liev Schreiber, and his film “Everything is Illuminated,” before heading to New York for a Vanity Fair cover shoot, while Madonna surprised everyone by showing up (wearing a cast) with Guy Ritchie to a screening of his latest opus, “Revolver,” the word of mouth on which couldn’t really be worse.
But what would Toronto be without an appearance by Canada’s latest major import, Rachel McAdams? She swept into the premiere of “Proof” behind Gwyneth Paltrow, but as she walked the press line, those prepubescent girls were still screaming, “We love you, Jake.”