Sunday, March 3, 2024

Toronto Film Fest Surprise: Audience Chooses Buddy Film over Michael Moore, Lady Gaga, Moon Landing Astronauts


Surprise! The Toronto Film Festival audiences have voted for their favorite film.

It was not Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in ” A Star is Born” or Ryan Gosling in “First Man” or Michael Moore’s anti Trump doc “Fahrenheit 11-9.”

The winner of the Audience Award was Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book,” a kind of “Driving Miss Daisy” for the new generation. Viggo Mortensen stars as an Italian bouncer in the South, circa the early 60s, who has to drive around a famous musician, played by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali. They use the “Green Book” which is a guide to restaurants and motels were blacks were allowed.

“Green Book” is now certainly a main Oscar contender. It was shown at TIFF toward the end, after many critics had left. But audiences loved it.

The runners-up were Barry Jenkins’ excellent “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” both of which are likely Oscar candidates as well. Grolsch gives the Audience Award and pays the winning director $15,000.

Farrelly is usually not associated with award winning films, but funny ones and box office hits. His credits include “Dumb and Dumber,” “There’s Something About Mary,” and “Shallow Hal.”

The films that lost the Grolsch award will absolutely be Oscar contenders. But the studios that made them are getting quite a marketing referendum here. The audience didn’t vote for them despite critical raves.

“Green Book” will be released on November 21st by Dreamworks/Amblin, the same mini-studio that also has “First Man.”

Here’s the full list of winners:

IWC Short Cuts Awards – Canadian:  Brotherhood

IWC Short Cuts Awards- International:  The Field

Canadian First Feature: Roads In February

Canadian Feature Film: The Fireflies Are Gone

Fipresci Jury Award – Discovery: Float Like A Butterfly

Fipresci Jury Award – Special Presentations: Skin

Eurimage Audentia Award   –  Fig Tree

NETPAC Award For World or International Asian Premiere:  The Third Wife

Toronto Platform Prize: Cities Of Last Things

Grolsch People’s Choice Award –  Midnight Madness: The Man Who Feels No Pain

Grolsch People’s Choice Award – Documentary: Free Solo

Grolsch People’s Choice Award: Green Book

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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