Want to know who will rule the upcoming awards season? Keep an eye on Toronto, the Oscar kingmaker.

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Laura Rose and Edward Norton as Lionel Essrog in the drama "Motherless Brooklyn," which will be put to the test at this month’s Toronto International Film Festival. (Glen Wilson/Warner Bros.)

Gugu Mbatha-Raw as Laura Rose and Edward Norton as Lionel Essrog in the drama "Motherless Brooklyn," which will be put to the test at this month’s Toronto International Film Festival. (Glen Wilson/Warner Bros.)

Producers Gigi Pritzker and Rachel Shane will bring the period drama “Motherless Brooklyn” to Toronto as part of a festival strategy that will capitalize on the film being Edward Norton’s directorial debut, its literary pedigree and its thematic grounding in New York history (it will be the closing night film at the New York Film Festival).

Whether “Motherless Brooklyn” wins the audience award or not, Pritzker adds, she welcomes its role in shaping a film’s fortunes. “We’re now in a world where there really aren’t gatekeepers as much as there used to be,” she notes. “People can source opinions directly and so many things are disaggregated. So it makes total sense that the audience awards would start to gain more power.”

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