TORONTO — Director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave has taken out the People’s Choice Award for Best Film at the 38th Toronto International Film Festival.
The breathlessly-reviewed slavery drama, which stars Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender and Brad Pitt, has already been heralded by some pundits as a lock for a Best Picture nomination come Oscar time, and the TIFF win only confirms its early lead in the awards season race. Last year’s TIFF winner, Silver Linings Playbook, went on to a Best Picture nom, with previous years’ victors including Best Picture champs Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech.
McQueen’s film is currently at 96% positive reviews at Rotten Tomatoes.
The runners up for Best Film were Denis Villeneuve’s thriller Prisoners, with Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal (currently at 89%), and Stephen Frears’ Venice fest favorite Philomena, starring Steve Coogan and Judi Dench (presently at 93%).
Elsewhere, Jehane Noujaim’s Egyptian revolutionary doco
The Square was voted Best Documentary, cult Japanese director Sion Sono’s latest, Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, claimed the Midnight Madness Award, and Alan Zweig’s When Jews Were Funny, an exploration of the history of 20th century American Jewish comedy, was awarded Best Canadian Feature Film.
Look for our complete rundown of how the major films fared with the critics later.