Things got off to a solid start on Thursday at the Toronto International Film Festival, with press for Prisoners. The film earned staggeringly positive reviews in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter when it screened at the Telluride film festival.

It’s a haunting, violent and brutal film about the destruction of a family when a young daughter goes missing. Hugh Jackman is the tormented dad, and Jake Gyllenhaal the tic-laden cop tasked with figuring out what happened to her. It opens Sept. 20 and co-stars Maria Bello as Jackman’s wife, Paul Dano was a weird potential suspect, and Terrence Howard and Viola Davis as the couple next door whose daughter also disappears.

Have either paid attention to the sudden Oscar buzz?

“This year, for me personally, has been such an incredible journey,” says Gyllenhaal. “What I’ve learned and taken away is just incredible. I don’t think anybody expected anything. I was just so satisfied by this process. But I have to say, I do think it’s probably too early to talk about that.”

Adds Jackman: “There’s something great about being an underdog. Aussies love an underdog. We have a movie that I think will surprise people. I’ll take that.”

For Gyllenhaal, it was tough to shake off the role.

“It took a while to kind of not look at everybody and question their truth. Everyone was like, ‘(Expletive) off.’ Go question your truth,” jokes Gyllenhaal.

Both actors are busy. Jackman is picking up the Golden Icon Award from the Zurich International Film Festival next month, and he’s set to star in the original musical Houdini on Broadway. Gyllenhaal, meanwhile, is having a major career moment, first with glowing notices for playing a cop in last year’s End of Watch and now for Prisoners.

The Toronto film festival runs Sept. 5-15 and showcases movies from around the world, starting Oscar buzz in earnest for many offerings screened here – including such past winners as American Beauty and No Country for Old Men. Among the stars attending: Glenn Close, Kevin Kline and Mia Wasikowska, who flew from New York this morning with this reporter. They sat in first. I did not.