The Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award is the top award that the Canadian fest has to offer. Voted for by audiences and currently sponsored by Grolsch, the prize has become something of a weathervane for awards season. Many consider it the true beginning of Oscar buzz in the fall, and for good reason. Of the past ten winners, nine went on to be nominated for Best Picture and three won it (including Green Book, which still stings). This year, competition at TIFF was tight, but audiences went with Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit.
The anti-hate satire about a young German boy, his imaginary best friend Adolf Hitler, and the young Jewish girl living in his attic proved highly popular with audiences, even as critics went back-and-forth on their feelings over the movie. Whatever the case, this bodes well for its future awards season, assuming Disney and Fox Searchlight give it a fair chance with audiences. So far, the marketing has been very smart given the tricky nature of the story, so here’s hoping that keeps up. It’s a great movie and deserves to be seen.
Coming in second with the voters for the audience award was Marriage Story, Noah Baumbach’s critically beloved drama about a splintering relationship that’s garnering some of the best reviews of his career. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson star and are both hotly tipped for awards success this season. At number three was Parasite, the Bong Joon-ho drama that won this year’s Palme d’Or. This one was especially popular at TIFF and proved extremely difficult to get into screenings of (believe me, it was a miracle I got into the one I attended!) Foreign language films are seldom considered front-runners at the Oscars and, believe it or not, South Korea have never had a movie nominated for Best Foreign Language Film (soon to be known as Best International Film), so this would be one hell of a breakthrough for them if it happened. For me, it’s one of the best films of 2019 so far, no contest.
So, we’re kicking off this Oscar season properly with two big wins: Jojo Rabbit with the TIFF audience award and Todd Phillips’s Joker with the Venice Film Festival’s Golden Lion. If this is any indication of things to come, expect the awards race to be weird, exhausting, and unpredictable!
Header Image Source: Getty Images