Green Book, the surprise hit of the festival, takes the coveted People’s Choice Award at TIFF, setting it up for a possible winning streak at the Academy Awards.
The 43rd Toronto International Film Festival is officially in our rearview, and while many fans went into the festival with high expectations for buzzed titles like A Star is Born and First Man, an underdog film came out of the blue mid-fest to take the top prize.
Green Book exploded onto everyone’s radar after its World Premiere early last week, and it quickly became one of the most talked about films of the festival, landing the top People’s Choice Award. Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk and Alfonso Cuaron’s ROMA took the second and third place prizes at TIFF.
The People’s Choice Award is an accolade that’s often an early indicator of the Best Picture Oscar. Since TIFF prides itself on kicking off awards season and setting the stage for the Oscar race, we’re making our own Oscar predictions based on the front-runners at this year’s festival.
The big winner at TIFF this year flew under the radar and took everybody by surprise. Helmed by one the Farrelly brothers, and starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, Green Book is the fan-favourite that’s being compared to the likes of Driving Miss Daisy and Planes, Trains and Automobiles. It follows a working-class Italian man (Mortensen) who forges an unforgettable friendship with a black musician (Ali) in the 1960s. There’s already plenty of Oscar buzz surrounding the film, especially for Ali’s performance.
Bradley Cooper proved himself as more than a swoon-worthy leading man with his beautiful directorial debut. Hollywood loves movies about artists chasing their dreams, as evidenced by the fact that this beloved story is being told for the fourth time! The film follows the chaotic romance between an established, alcoholic musician (Cooper) who helps a young, insecure singer (Gaga) live out her fantasy of being a star. Early predictions anticipate that both Gaga and Cooper will receive nominations for their performances.
Ryan Gosling takes on Neil Armstrong in what is unbelievably the first film to tackle the famed Apollo 11 moon landing. Directed by Damien Chazelle, it would be no surprise if he took home Oscar number two for his brilliant work on this film, which is a giant departure from his previous La La Land, proving that he can do just about anything. The film follows the events leading up to the moon landing and gives us insight into Armstrong’s family life. Claire Foy stands out in her honest and emotional performance as his wife, and we could see her scoring a supporting actress nomination for her work.
A teen film that bravely tackles racism and police brutality, The Hate U Give may just be the most important film we saw at TIFF this year, and we’re sure the Academy will take notice. Amandla Stenberg gives yet another incredible performance in her blossoming career, supported by a strong cast that delivers stellar work across the board. This film could very well earn Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay nominations.
Joel Edgerton’s latest directorial effort was universally received as one of the best films at the festival. Lucas Hedges gives an amazing performance as a young gay man who is sent to a conversion camp by his religious parents, played by Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. We’re expecting a lot of Oscar love for this film, including nominations for Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress.
Barry Jenkins is one of the most exciting filmmakers in the biz right now, as anyone who has seen Moonlight would know. His follow-up to the Best Picture winner is just as beautifully told. This time, Jenkins tells the story of a couple fighting for justice when the husband (Stephan James) is wrongly accused of a crime. Based on the James Baldwin novel, we could see Jenkins yet again bring home a win for his screenplay.
Steve McQueen has proven he’s not just an art-house filmmaker with his latest work, Widows. A blockbuster film led by Viola Davis, this movie was one of the most talked about at TIFF, and we think the Academy is bound to recognize it. The story follows four women who step up to reclaim the debt left behind by their criminal husbands, and we’d love to see at least one of these leading ladies earn an Oscar nomination.
While this autobiographical story of a teen’s methamphetamine addiction received mix reviews at TIFF, one thing is certainly unanimous: Timothee Chalamet delivers yet another incredible performance. Steve Carell plays his concerned father, and we’d be shocked if both men didn’t pick up Oscar nominations for their jaw-dropping work.
One of the most beloved working directors, Alfonso Cuaron (the mastermind behind ambitious films like Gravity and Children of Men) goes back to his roots with an autobiographical story about a year in the life of a middle-class Mexican family. Told in stunning black and white, ROMA is a tribute to the women who raised Cuaron, and though it is set in the 1970s, its themes are universal to contemporary issues in Mexico.
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