C.J. LaFrance/Getty Images

C.J. LaFrance/Getty Images

You’ve seen Tom Ford maybe in fashion magazines. He ran Gucci, then started his own line. He appears in ads, shirt wide open, surrounded by beautiful women. Did we ever think he’d make a feature film that would spark a bidding war at a film festival? No, no way.

Well, he did it.

Last night, his “A Single Man,” sort of influenced by a novel by Christopher Isherwood, premiered in Toronto and caused a sensation. Co-stars Colin Firth and Julianne Moore‘(pictured here with Tom) are so spectacularly good in it that the audience is already giving Oscar congratulations. Every buyer for every major distributor turned up at the Isabel Bader Theater to see Ford’s completed movie, and they went crazy for it. At the after party across the street, old Miramax’s Harvey Weinstein and new Miramax’s Daniel Battsek were among those circling Ford like he was chum in the water.

And why not? “A Single Man” taps into a lot of popular themes right now. For one it’s set in 1962, the year of “Mad Men.” It even has the uncredited voice of Jon Hamm on an important’phone call. He doesn’t give his name but it could be Don Draper calling from New York.

The story ‘ written and reinvented by Ford ‘ takes Isherwood’s 1964 autobiographical novel and fleshes it out rather brilliantly. Firth plays George, the Isherwood stand in, a middle-aged gay British professor living in Santa Monica. His lover of 16’years’has died, and George is contemplating suicide. His best friend, Charlotte, is a boozy English divorcee. That’s’Julianne Moore, who’s a knockout.’The centerpiece sequence, when George goes over to her’house for dinner, is an instant classic. From the time Moore opens the door to Firth to the second she shuts it, you know’the two actors have done something extraordinary.

The film is in the same vein as “Far from Heaven,” “Gods and Monsters,” and “The Hours.”

Whoever wins the rights to “A Single Man” picks up Oscar noms for at least Best Actor, Supporting Actress, Adapted Screenplay, Score, Set Design, Costumes, and Make Up. Best Director is not outside the realm of possibilities.

And “A Single Man” was a’hot ticket last night in what I call Fashion Night in Toronto. The movie that preceded Ford’s at the Bader was also very good. “Tanner Hall” was written and directed by Tatianna’von Furstenberg and Francesca’Gregorini.’They are the daughters of designer Diane VF, and actress Barbara Bach, aka Mrs. Ringo Starr. As such, DVF’was there with husband Barry Diller, Barbara brought her sister Marjorie, who lives with the Eagles’ Joe Walsh, and they brought the magnificent Olivia Harrison, widow of Beatle George.’ I mean, like, wow.

Yet, all of these great guests would have meant nothing if “Tanner Hall” weren’t very, very good. It’s a smarter, hipper, better played kind of “Mona Lisa Smile.” The cast comprises Tom Everett Scott, Amy Sedaris, Chris Kattan, Tara Subkoff, and four newcomers: Brie Larson, Rooney Mara, Georgia King, and Amy Ferguson.

The result is an expertly fashioned, heartfelt and funny, even sexy, coming-of-age story. And get this: Gregorini and von Furstenberg raised the money just like all indie filmmakers. They didn’t go to rich relatives. DVF and Mrs. Starr can be proud; their girls have a hit on their hands. Now let’s see who buys it.

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Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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