‘Room’ takes top audience award in Toronto, picking up Oscar momentum

20 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘Room’ Wins Toronto Audience Award, Awards Bellwether.

Lenny Abrahamson’s psychological drama “Room” won the Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award on Sunday, snagging one of the fall season’s earliest, if most populist, honors.Room, Lenny Abrahamson’s drama about a woman abducted, raped and trapped for years in a room with her son – whose father is their kidnapper – has taken the top honour at the Toronto film festival.

If you didn’t get your fill over the past 10 days, today is your last chance to catch any last-minute films or get that photo with celebrities that who still be hanging around Toronto. The film, which world premiered the week before at Telluride, won rave reviews for Brie Larson as the woman, and for Jacob Tremblay, who plays five-year-old Jack. Dubbed the “Awards season harbinger”, the People’s Choice gong has previously been won by Oscar winning feature films such as 12 Years a Slave, Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech. “The program this year was full of extraordinary films, and for such a knowledgeable, film-loving audience to choose ours as their film of the festival is something of which I will always be hugely proud.” Inspired by Josef Fritzl’s incarceration of his daughter Elisabeth, it tells the story of a young woman who has spent seven years of her life in a 12-foot-square room. In a prepared statement, the film’s director said he was “so honoured” by the audience choosing his film from “such a rich and diverse” program.

Six of the last seven winners have gone on to be nominated for Oscar’s best picture, with half of the six—“Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech” and “!2 Years A Slave”—winning the Academy Awards’ top prize. It is the fifth feature from Irish film-maker Abrahamson, whose film Frank, starring Michael Fassbender as Frank Sidebottom, opened to much acclaim at Sundance last year. Because so many past winners have been not only Oscar contenders but winners, going back to 1981’s “Chariots of Fire” and on through “Life is Beautiful,” “Shine,” “American Beauty,” “Precious,” “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “The King’s Speech,” and “Silver Linings Playbook.” While “Room” came out strong from Telluride and played well in Toronto, this is a sign that it has the right stuff to be a hit. This award recognizes the stars who are breakout favorites on IMDbPro’s STARmeter chart, which is determined by the actual search behavior of IMDb’s more than 250 million unique monthly visitors worldwide.

Given all of the pre-festival attention put on Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight —about the Boston Globe reporters who uncovered a massive scandal of child abuse within the local Catholic Church — and Ridley Scott’s The Martian — about a stranded NASA astronaut struggling to survive on Mars — Room’s win could be considered something of a surprise. Brie Larson is a definite Best Actress contender, but also earning strong notices is Jacob Tremblay, her pint-sized co-star; A24 will campaign for him in the Best Actor category.

A24 will release the movie in October. “Room” is considered an early-season favorite in the awards sweepstakes, though the film must overcome the perception of difficult subject matter, which could deter some tastemakers from seeing it. IMDb has since presented STARmeter Awards to Miles Teller for his role in WHIPLASH at TIFF 2014 and Jeffrey Tambor for his work in TRANSPARENT at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. Speaking to the Guardian on Friday, Tiff’s Artistic Director, Cameron Bailey, tipped the film as one which “everyone will be speaking about through the autumn”. The Canadian feature film profiles Steve Fonyo, who despite losing a leg to cancer, raised millions of dollars for cancer research with a coast-to-coast run in the mid-eighties.

The jury gave an honorable mention to Sol Friedman’s “Bacon & God’s Wrath.” The City of Toronto Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film goes to for Andrew Cividino’s “Sleeping Giant.” This award carries a cash prize of $15,000, made possible by the City of Toronto. carries a cash prize of $30,000 and a custom award, sponsored by Canada Goose. Last year’s winner, the code-breaking drama “The Imitation Game,” went on to garner $228 million around the world, including $91 million in the U.S., among the highest specialty-film grosses of the year. Also on Sunday, Evgeny Afineevsky won the People’s Choice Award in the doc category for “Winter on Fire,” about the recent Ukrainian revolution, while Ilya Naishuller’s “Hardcore,” a stylized first-person action movie, took honors in the genre-themed Midnight Madness section. IMDb offers a searchable database of more than 185 million data items including more than 3 million movies, TV and entertainment programs and more than 6 million cast and crew members.

Consumers rely on the information IMDb provides — including local movie showtimes, ticketing, trailers, critic and user reviews, personalized recommendations, photo galleries, entertainment news, quotes, trivia, box-office data, editorial feature sections and a universal Watchlist – when deciding what to watch and where to watch it. Films which had been considered frontrunners, such as Michael Moore’s new documentary, Where to Invade Next, and the Cate Blanchett vehicle Truth, went home empty-handed.

IMDb’s portfolio of leading entertainment apps (http://www.imdb.com/apps/) includes its popular “Movies & TV” app for iPhone, iPad, Kindle Fire, Android Phones, Android tablets and its Mobile-optimized website. IMDb’s X-Ray for Movies & TV Shows (www.imdb.com/x-ray) is a feature that revolutionizes the viewing experience by bringing the power of IMDb directly to Kindle Fire HD, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. IMDb’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/imdb) and official Twitter account (https://twitter.com/imdb) are followed by more than 7 million passionate entertainment fans. IMDbPro provides a casting service, contact information, in production listings for film and television projects, exclusive STARmeter rankings that are determined by user searches on IMDb, and a Mobile optimized website.

But it was still a successful year for Toronto, with industry attendance at a record high and sales, though initially sluggish, picking up as the week progressed. Additionally, IMDb owns and operates Withoutabox (http://www.withoutabox.com), the leading submission service for film festivals and filmmakers, and Box Office Mojo (http://www.boxofficemojo.com), the leading online box-office reporting service.

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