With the Venice Film Festival kicking off this week, awards season is officially underway. Venice has been the launchpad for a number of films that have gone on to Oscar glory. Last year, the opening night film was Birdman, and the year before it was Gravity. So there are big hopes for this year's opener, the true-life thriller Everest, directed by Icelandic filmmaker Baltasar Kormakur with an ensemble cast including Jake Gyllenhaal, Robin Wright, Emily Watson and Jason Clarke.

Jake Gyllenhaal in 'Everest'Jake Gyllenhaal stars in true story disaster thriller 'Everest'

And anticipation is running even higher for a number of other movies. Venice is hosting the premiere of The Danish Girl, the true story of one of the world's first-known transgender women, played by Eddie Redmayne. Can he win back-to-back Oscars? This week's new poster and trailer are very promising.

More: Watch the trailer for 'The Danish Girl'

Another actor in Venice with a big film, and also in the news this week, is Idris Elba. This week, James Bond novelist Anthony Horowitz had to issue an apology for saying that Elba was "too street" to play 007, which rumours suggest he may do after Daniel Craig retires. Meanwhile, Elba's Venice premiere is for Beasts of No Nation, which is garnering positive buzz. He plays an African warlord in the film, which is about child-soldiers.

Other hotly anticipated films at Venice include Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp as a notorious Boston mobster. Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes and Dakota Johnson star in the cool-looking drama A Bigger Splash. And Michael Keaton will be back, alongside Mark Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci, in Spotlight, about the investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

More: Watch the trailer for 'Spotlight'

Then once Venice ends, it's time for the other autumn launchpad, the Toronto International Film Festival, which will showcase awards-potential movies starring the likes of Matt Damon, Tom Hardy, Toni Collette, Naomi Watts, Sandra Bullock, Ryan Reynolds, Saoirse Ronan, Emily Blunt, Josh Brolin and inevitable nominee Maggie Smith.

More: Watch the trailer for 'Everest'