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Worst: That standing ovation problem
The festival is proud of its reputation as a welcoming event to filmmakers and their stars. Over the years anyone trying to gauge audience reaction knows a TIFF audience will clap a little longer or a little louder or segue into a standing ovation more than audiences at its counterpart festivals around the globe. That goodwill might have hit a tipping point in 2014. The festival's gala venue, Roy Thompson Hall, has essentially been set up for a guaranteed standing O. After the film ends, the talent receives a spotlight in their balcony, which is the cue for the audience to give them some love. This isn't new (and Cannes has something similar), but too many films earned sustained standing ovations this year instead of the appropriate seated, polite applause. When publicists are trying to frame a film's reaction as an "extended" or "sustained" standing ovation when just a general one would be noteworthy, you've got a problem. The issue isn't just that it's disingenuous. The issue is that it's hard for anyone to take TIFF seriously when the audience appears to love everything.
- Gregory Ellwood