David O. Russell’s crowd-pleasing comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook, starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro, has taken the Toronto International Film Festival’s coveted People’s Choice Award.
The film, based on a novel by Matthew Quick, had been warmly welcomed at TIFF for deftly balancing moments of oddball humour while following a man trying to rebuild his life amid struggles with mental illness.
“We are thrilled to receive the audience award. We want to thank the Toronto audience for embracing this film and giving us this honour,” Russell wrote.
The runners-up for the prize were Ben Affleck’s slick and suspenseful Argo and Eran Riklis’ drama Zaytoun, about an unlikely alliance between a shot-down Israeli fighter pilot (Stephen Dorff) and a young Palestinian refugee.
TIFF audiences also chose their favourite non-fiction film as well as their favourite title in the Midnight Madness program, with Bartholomew Cubbins’ rock documentary Artifact and Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths earning the honours, respectively.
A new wave of Canadian filmmaking talent also snapped up major honours at the awards luncheon. Young Montreal auteur Xavier Dolan led the way by earning the $ 30,000 best Canadian feature trophy for his epic love story Laurence Anyways.
‘It is not an easy film. I know that. It is as scary for people to go see it …as it was for us to do and have faith in. But we did’—Xavier Dolan
“It is not an easy film. I know that. It is as scary for people to go see it …as it was for us to do and have faith in. But we did.”
Despite being chosen to screen at Cannes in the spring, the film had a lukewarm reception at the Quebec box office and Dolan said he feared Laurence Anyways might have been forgotten. He also noted there were personal sacrifices he made in the past year.
“It’s been a rough year. It’s been rough on egos and friendships,” he told CBC News.
In a rare tie, the prize for best Canadian first feature was awarded to a pair of films: Brandon Cronenberg’s Antiviral and Jason Buxton’s Blackbird. Bailey noted that the $ 15,000 cash prize will be doubled this year to award the full value to each of the filmmakers.
After his gory satire about society’s obsession with celebrity (reminiscent of his father David Cronenberg’s early oeuvre), Cronenberg said he hoped any newfound notoriety from his win would be subdued.
The Toronto Film Festival concludes Sunday with a final day of screenings, including a free showing of People’s Choice-winner Silver Linings Playbook at Toronto’s Ryerson Theatre beginning at 6 p.m. local time.
TIFF CEO Piers Handling, left, and artistic director Cameron Bailey attend the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival awards luncheon. (John Rieti/CBC)
CBC | Arts News