Toronto Film Fest: Eastern Promises Takes Audience Award

Juno, La Zona also make it big.

by | September 17, 2007 | Comments

exploding heads
car crash sex fetishes
, director
is ever eager to freak out the audience. But Toronto was ready and willing this time around: Cronenberg’s latest,
Eastern Promises
has nabbed the audience award at the Toronto Film Fest.

The People’s Choice Award grants a $15,000 cash prize
to Cronenberg, whose
Eastern Promises

stars Viggo
as a mysterious Russian hitman and
Naomi Watts
as a housewife who crosses his path. The award bodes well for Eastern‘s
future box office performance (which debuted to strong business this past
weekend) and reflects the 85 percent Tomatometer it has with both critics and Rotten
Tomatoes users. But what this will indicate for awards season remains
to be seen. In 2005, Cronenberg was primed to have several best director nominations
on his plate for
A History of
but was curiously ignored by a majority of prestigious award panels.

While you’re at it, check out our exclusive interview with Cronenberg and Mortensen.

starring Ellen
as a high school student planning her immediate future with an
unplanned pregnancy, won the runner-up People’s Choice Award. Juno‘s
positive buzz was palpable during Toronto and fun, whimsical comedies
always draw attention to themselves amidst a festival’s usual offerings of art
flicks and dramas. The movie will hit theaters December 14 from Fox Searchlight.

The Prize of the International Critics went to Mexico’s
Rodrigo Plá,
making his feature length debut with
La Zona
.  The film
was chosen by a panel of critics who hail from all over the world, including
France, Chile, and Canada, with the United States represented by L.A. Weekly’s
Scott Foundas.  The
panel calls La Zona a film whose "subtle use of cinematographic codes
(thriller, anticipation) [brings] to light a sadly realistic dichotomy: the gap
in Mexican society and the frailty of human convictions."