Steven Spielberg’s coming-of-age autobiographical drama “The Fabelmans” won the Toronto International Film Festival’s top prize, the People’s Choice Award, cementing its initial status as an Oscar favorite.
The Toronto People’s Choice Award was announced on Sunday as North America’s biggest film festival concluded its 47th edition and its first large-scale gathering in three years. The return of crowds to TIFF brought the world premieres of a number of long-awaited hits, including Viola Davis-directed ‘The Woman King’, Rian Johnson’s ‘Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery’ and ‘Bros’ by Billy Eichner.
The Toronto People’s Choice Award, presented by festival moviegoers, is a much-anticipated harbinger of the upcoming awards season. Each of the past ten years, the TIFF winner has been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars – and often won. Last year, Kenneth Branagh’s “Belfast” triumphed at a much-diminished Toronto International Hybrid Film Festival. The previous year, Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland” won the TIFF award before winning the Oscars. Other winners include “12 Years a Slave”, “La La Land” and “Green Book”.
This year, no film came to the festival more anticipated than “The Fabelmans,” Spielberg’s memory-soaked film about his childhood. In the film, which Universal Pictures will release Nov. 11, Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play parents, with newcomer Gabriel LaBelle as teenage Spielberg, Sammy Fabelman. The film received rave reviews after its premiere.
“It’s the most personal film I’ve made and the warm welcome from everyone in Toronto made my first visit to TIFF so intimate and personal for me and my entire ‘Fabelman’ family,” Spielberg said. in a statement read by Cameron Bailey. , director of the festival.
The first runner-up for the award was Sarah Polley’s “Woman Talking,” about female members of a Mennonite colony reunited to discuss years of sexual abuse. The second runner-up went to Johnson’s “Glass Onion,” the director’s sequel for Netflix.
Audiences from other sections of the festival also vote for the Audience Awards. The festival’s Audience Award for Documentary went to “Black Ice,” Hubert Davis’ film about the history of black hockey players executive produced by LeBron James. The midnight section winner was “Weird: The Al Yankovic Story,” the musical biographical parody of Eric Appel co-written with Yankovic and starring Daniel Radcliffe.
“Wow,” Appel said in a statement. “I never thought in a million years that our satire of traditional award-winning movies would actually win an award, itself.”
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