The highly anticipated Nelson Mandela biopic, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, will premiere in Canada at the Toronto Film Festival. The film – already collecting Oscar momentum – sees Idris Elba take the leading role, with Naomie Harris in a supporting role as Winnie Mandela.

Idris ElbaNaomie Harris
Elba and Harris star in Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom

"As soon as we saw it, we knew that it would set the right tone for opening night. It's a movie about what we thought is one of the most important issues of the day - information and who controls it," said Cameron Bailey, the festival's artistic director.

The 11-day event will kick off on September 5th, and it’s unlikely that Nelson Mandela, who has been hospitalized with a lung infection for the last six weeks, will be fit enough to make an appearance. Piers Handling, chief executive officer and director of TIFF, said the first round of films "offers a taste of the powerhouse line-up at this year's festival. These are the works that will have everyone talking because they capture the mood of the times." (via BBC)

Idris ElbaElba at the Los Angeles premiere of 'Pacific Rim' held at the Dolby Theatre

It’s going to be a mammoth festival for film lovers and critics alike, with 12 Years a Slave - Steve McQueen’s new film - and The Invisible Woman - Ralph Fiennes's drama about Charles Dickens – also being handed debuts. It will officially mark the start of Oscars season, as various film festivals creak into motion, giving the critics a chance to file early reviews.

Check out the Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom