The crowd-pleasing “Silver Linings Playbook” took the top award at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday, closing the 37th edition world-renowned festival after 11 days and more 300 movies. The film, from writer-director David O. Russell, which starred Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, took the People’s Choice Award, an honor voted on by the audience. Past winners of the award include “Slumdog Millionaire” and “The King’s Speech.” The runner-up was Ben Affleck’s “Argo,” also considered a big Oscar contender this year. The news was actually leaked on Twitter hours before the official announcement by TIFF Artistic Director Cameron Bailey, who later deleted the Tweet congratulating the film.
This certainly bodes well for the Weinstein Company release, scheduled to hit theaters on Nov. 21. While buzz surrounded Lawrence’s performance and Russell’s direction and screenplay, this positions the film as a major Best Picture contender. The Best Picture Oscar was won the previous two years by Weinstein releases—“The King’s Speech” and “The Artist”—so the question is raised whether Harvey Weinstein can pull off a hat trick. The Weinstein Company also has Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master,” the Cannes favorite “The Sapphires,” and the upcoming Quentin Tarantino film “Django Unchained” in the race.
Also scoring with audiences was Martin McDonough’s “Seven Psychopaths,” which won the People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award, and will be released by CBS Films next month. And the People's Choice Documentary Award went to “Artifact,” which centers on actor Jared Leto’s band, “30 Seconds to Mars.”
Awards voted on by juries included The International Critic’s Prize – Discovery, which went to “Call Girl,” while the International Critic’s Prize – Special Presentations was awarded to “In the House.” Winning Best Canadian Short Film was “Keep a Modest Head,” about artist Jean Benoit, while Best Canadian Feature Film went to “Laurence Anyways.” The Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema awarded a prize to “The Land of Hope” and director Sion Sono. The Best Canadian First Feature Award was shared by the films “Blackbird” and “Anti-Viral.”