The Toronto International Film Festival announced this year's award winners and moviegoers in the Great White North have once again found a way to influence the always competitive Oscar race.
David O. Russell's adaptation of Matthew Quick's novel "The Silver Linings Playbook" won the notable People's Choice Award this year. Ben Affleck's "Argo" and Eran Rikli's "Zaytoun" were first and second runners up. "Playbook" now joins "Slumdog Millionaire," "The King's Speech" and "Precious" as recent awards season players who were able to snag the festival's most publicity worthy honor. Even if it doesn't lead to Oscar glory, the win certainly is a key indicator that The Weinstein Company may have a much needed box office smash waiting in the wings.
Having attended the world premiere of "Playbook" at Roy Thompson Hall, it was clear the audience adored the unexpected love story. Moreover, Weinstein not only has a serious best picture player on their hands but a best actor candidate in Bradley Cooper, a best actress contender in Jennifer Lawrence and directing and potential screenwriting and directing nods for Russell. And don't be surprised if Robert De Niro sneaks into the best supporting actor field for his first nomination in 20 years.
[Watch an extended clip from "Silver Linings Playbook" at the top of this post.]
Among the festival's other honors, CBS Films' "Seven Psychopaths" took home the Midnight Madness People's Choice Award giving the CBS film division their first awards worthy picture in their short history. The dark comedy starring Sam Rockwell, Colin Farrell, Christopher Walken and Woody Harrelson arrives in theaters on Oct. 12. Barry Levinson's warmly received "The Bay" was first runner up in this category. Sundance Film Festival Midnight selection "John Dies at the End" was second runner up.
In something of a shock, the People's Choice Award for Documentary went to "Artifact." The doc focusing on the difficulties of Jared Leto and his band Thirty Second to Mars in the music business beat out "Storm Surfers 3D" and "Revolution." It was assumed that Sarah Polley's critically acclaimed "Stories We Tell" would win this honor, but doc went home empty handed.
Other winners included "Laurence Anyways" for Best Canadian Feature Film and "Antiviral" and "BlackBird" for Best Canadian First Film. The FIPRESCI International Critic's prizes when to Francois Ozen's "Dans la maison" and Mikael Marcimain's "Call Girl."