As if it wasn't a major Oscar contender already, "The King's Speech" won the coveted People's Choice Award at the 2010 Toronto Film Festival today. The Tom Hooper drama stars Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush and Helena Bonham Carter and tells the true story of how King George VI, with the help of an quirky Australian therapist, overcame a serious speech impediment to help lead England during the early days of WWII. It will be one drama moviegoers will be hearing about for quite awhile. Second place went to Justin Chadwick's inspiring tale "The First Grader."
Previous People's Choice winners include a slew of past Academy Award Best Picture winners or nominees including "Brokeback Mountain," "Slumdog Millionaire," "Precious," "American Beauty" and "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon." So, yes, place your money on "Speech" at least garnering a well deserved nomination.
Other populist winners included "Stake Land" in the Midnight Madness category ("Fubar II" was runner-up) and "Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie" for Documentary ("Nostalgia for the Light" was runner-up).
The Prize of the International Critics for the Discovery program (which limited the pool) went to American Shawn Ku's "Beautiful Boy." The Prize of the International Critics in the Special Presentations drama "L'Amour Fou" from France.
Toronto does not give out grand jury prizes such as Venice, Cannes, Berlin or Sundance, but it does hand out a slew of other notable awards. This year, the impressive "Incendies" won the City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian Feature, "The High Cost of Living" won Best Canadian First Feature Award and Vincent Biron's "Les Fleurs de l'age" won Best Canadian Short Film.
This year's festival was notable for the opening of the festival's beautiful new home, the Bell Lightbox center which features a museum, theaters and restaurants.