Inside HFPA and Hollywood Reporter TIFF Event With Eddie Murphy, Renee Zellweger, Adam Sandler and More

Renee Zellweger introduced friend and onetime co-star Sarah Paulson to her Judy director Rupert Goold. Jennifer Lopez celebrated her Hustlers world premiere by saying how proud she was to have gotten the movie made in the first place. Eddie Murphy high-fived Adam Sandler by the elevator bay. And Kerry Washington shouted, "I love you, Leslie!" to Leslie Odom Jr., who then turned to Eddie Redmayne to admit to being a "big fan," while Edward Norton snuck toward the entrance with Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell. 

These are just a few snapshots from the lobby inside the Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, site of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Hollywood Reporter's event on Saturday night to celebrate the Toronto International Film Festival.

With presenting sponsors Dior and Four Seasons Toronto, the jam-packed soiree hosted boldfaced names in attendance at this year's TIFF, the 44th annual celebration of film north of the border. It was a celebration that had the feel, at times, of a family reunion among film lovers.

Zellweger, fresh from an airplane and change of clothes to promote her Judy Garland biopic, explained it best. "I've always loved TIFF — it's a bunch of fun reunions with friends," she told THR. "I've been really looking forward to this for quite some time."

Kristen Stewart, relaxing with friends across the room from former Twilight co-star Robert Pattinson, was in town for the North American premiere of Seberg following a showing in Venice. She also confessed her love of Toronto, adding that she made her first movie in the city. "There are always good combos [here]," she said. "It's really nice to talk about movies with other people that also love movies as much as you do."

Same for Bryce Dallas Howard, who presented her documentary Dads, which sold to Apple. “We had our premiere last night, which was so much fun. It was crazy. I had never seen the movie before an audience," she said. "The audiences at TIFF — I don't want to put other festivals down — but there is a warmth and a genuine excitement and a love of movies."

Even actors like Washington, in town to present the world premiere of her film American Son, are excited to see the work of their friends and peers: "I'm dying to see Hustlers, I'm dying to see Just Mercy and I'm dying to see Parasite."

The audience inside Toronto's Roy Thompson Hall had just seen Marielle Heller's A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, and the filmmaker — flanked by her parents — arrived to the party with a sense of relief after presenting her film, which is based on an Esquire article by Tom Junod about the late children's TV personality Mr. Rogers, who is played by Tom Hanks in the movie: "It's really hard to let it go into the world. You spend a lot of time with it and you obsess over every little detail and I’ve been working on my zen-ness and my Fred Rogers-ness and I'm letting it go. It's been a joyful day."

Rob Morgan, one of the stars of the death-penalty legal drama Just Mercy, said he knows what that anticipation feels like. "The premiere was phenomenal. We had an eight-minute standing ovation — and to get that kind of reception in a country that doesn't even practice capital punishment was just flooring,” he said. “It was amazing to see the empathy come from that crowd.”

One of the more crowded corners of the bash was the one reserved for Warner Bros. executives and talent, who were celebrating Joker winning top prize in Venice earlier in the day. The studio's Just Mercy star Michael B. Jordan chatted with Warners execs Toby Emmerich and Blair Rich (as Beyoncé's "Love on Top" played), while Goldfinch star Ansel Elgort (in Dior) took over a sofa with his onetime co-star Shailene Woodley (also in Dior), in town for Endings, Beginnings.

"Something that is so beautiful about Toronto is you have the essence of celebration of filmmaking and art in general and cinema and what it means to be storytellers,” Woodley told THR.

Early in the night, Parasite helmer Bong Joon-ho was spotted being introduced to Aeronauts producer Todd Lieberman, while no introductions were needed for Jamie Dornan (Endings, Beginnings and Synchronic) and Fifty Shades co-star Dakota Johnson (star of TIFF entry The Friend). "It's nice to be here with two vastly different films. It's a cool thing. I love this festival. It's treated me well over the last couple of years," Dornan explained. 

Lopez hustled directly from the world premiere of Hustlers at Roy Thompson Hall over to Yorkville to toast the success of the screening with fiancé Alex Rodriguez. "The audience was amazing,” she said. “We are just so proud. We fought hard to get this movie made, and I love that people are enjoying it." 

Photographer Austin Hargrave set up a portrait studio at the event to snap famous faces for a future issue of The Hollywood Reporter. Over at the bar, guests toasted with Martell cognac and Perrier Jouet while sampling a full dinner and sweet treats including lemon tartlets and chocolate truffles. Toronto-born Stephan James was hanging out with his brother, Shamier Anderson (Endings, Beginnings), near the photo booth and before striking a pose, he delivered an easy explanation for why actors love Toronto. "We are the most diverse city in the world per capita," said James, who, with his brother, is hosting the fourth annual BLACK Ball, presented this year with Charles King's Macro. "It's a gem for art, for culture, for vibes. You really can't be in a better place at a better time."

Also in attendance were A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood stars Rhys, Chris Cooper, Susan Kelechi Watson, Enrico Colantoni and director Heller; Goldfinch stars Nicole Kidman, Oakes Fegley and Ashleigh Cummings; Just Mercy's Jamie Foxx I Am Woman star Tilda Cobham-Hervey and director Unjoo Moon; Harriet star Cynthia Erivo; Waves star Kelvin Harrison Jr.; Briarpatch star Rosario Dawson and creator Andy Greenwald; The Report helmer Scott Z. Burns and star Adam Driver; Knives Out castmembers Christopher Plummer, Toni Collette, Chris Evans, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell and Don Johnson; Endings, Beginnings director Drake Doremus; Riz Ahmed, who debuted his film The Sound of Metal; Ford v Ferrari actors Caitriona Balfe and Jon Bernthal; Beanie Feldstein, Alfie Allen and director Coky Giedroycc of How to Build a GirlPain and Glory star Antonio Banderas; Jojo Rabbit's Taika Waititi; The Lighthouse star Willem Dafoe; and Felicity Jones and her Aeronauts director Tom Harper.

Also in the house was Da'Vine Joy Randolph, fresh from the Dolemite Is My Name premiere with Murphy. She's a TIFF first-timer but is hoping it won't be her last: "I must say it's quite phenomenal. You guys really turn it out. Toronto knows what it's doing. This whole city is on lock.”