The Imitation Game won the big prize, the People’s Choice Award, at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. TIFF’s audience award winner is often a precursor to Oscar glory. Last year, the award went to the eventual best picture winner 12 Years a Slave, and previous TIFF audience award winners have included American Beauty, Slumdog Millionaire and Silver Linings Playbook.
The festival reached its conclusion today, as the drama, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as British code-breaker Alan Turing, won the award, voted by fest’s audiences. The World War II drama, directed by Morten Tyldum, will be released by the Weinstein Company on Nov. 21.
Toronto Film Festival artistic director Cameron Bailey praised The Imitation Game and its director for spotlighting a little-known story about Turing. “He’s a man whose mind was instrumental in ending the Second World War early, who is one of the fathers of the computers we all use today, and the fact that he had to suffer because of his sexual orientation is a drama that should be told,” he said.
Isabel Coixet‘s Learning to Drive, starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley, was named first runner-up, while Theodore Melfi‘s St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, was named the second runner-up. It will be released by the Weinstein Company on Oct. 10.
Kevin Smith‘s Tusk, a horror comedy about a serial killer who turns his victims into walruses, was named runner-up for the People’s Choice Award in the fest’s Midnight Madness sidebar. Distributor A24 will release the movie Sept. 19. Jemaine Clement, co-director along with Taika Waititi of What Do We Do in the Shadows, the audience prize winner in that category, in his acceptance speech named and shamed vampire hunters and urged an end to that “barbaric sport.”
And director Oren Moverman‘s Time Out of Mind, starring Richard Gere as a homeless man, claimed the FIPRESCI Jury Prize for Special Presentation Film.
Maxime Giroux, whose film Felix and Meira was judged the best Canadian feature this year, was unable to accept his jury prize in person. “Unfortunately I can’t be with you in Toronto today as I’m in Paris,” the director said in a statement read out to envious award luncheon attendees. He then thanked the festival for the honor.
The complete list of winners follows.
People’s Choice Award: The Imitation Game, directed by Morton Tyldum
People’s Choice Award, first runner-up: Learning to Drive, directed by Isabel Coixet
People’s Choice Award, second runner-up: St. Vincent, directed by Theodore Melfi
People’s Choice Documentary Award: Beats of the Antonov, directed by Hajooj Kuka
People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award: What Do We Do in the Shadows, directed by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement
People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award, first runner-up: Tusk, directed by Kevin Smith
NETPAC Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere: Margarita, with a Straw, directed by Shonali Bose
FIPRESCI Jury Prize for Best Special Presentation Film: Time Out of Mind, directed by Oren Moverman
FIPRESCI Critics Prize: May Allah Bless France!, directed by Abd Al Malik
Best Canadian Feature: Felix and Meira, directed by Maxime Giroux
Best Canadian First Feature: Bang Bang Baby, directed by Jeffrey St. Jules
Best International Short Film: A Single Body, directed by Sotiris Dounoukos
Best Canadian Short Film: The Weatherman and the Shadow Boxer, directed by Randall Okita