"Silver Linings Playbook"
At a swanky brunch reception Sunday afternoon, the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival announced this year's award winners. Here are some of the highlights.
As many predicted, David O. Russell's crowd-pleasing "Silver Linings Playbook" took home Toronto's BlackBerry People's Choice Award (while actor/director Ben Affleck's Canadian-flavoured spy thriller "Argo" was the runner-up). Although the audience award is no guarantee of future accolades (see last year's winner "Where Do We Go Now?"), past recipients of the TIFF's People's Choice, like "Slumdog Millionaire, "Precious," and "The King's Speech," have gone on to great success come award season.
Starring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook" is the story of a troubled former teacher trying to get his life back on track after a violent nervous breakdown and lengthy stay in a psychiatric hospital.
Martin McDonagh's twisted comedy "Seven Psychopaths" nabbed the Midnight Madness People's Choice award, the highest honour for a genre film at the festival. "In Bruges" star Colin Ferrell re-teams with McDonagh, playing an alcoholic screenwriter whose hunt for criminal source material gets him in hot water.
The People's Choice Documentary award went to "Artifact," a not-so-flattering portrait of the modern music industry. The film follows actor/musician Jared Leto and his band 30 Seconds to Mars as they engaged in a lengthy legal battle with their record company over the production of their new album.
See also: TIFF 2012: By the numbers
On the Canuck front, TIFF's top Canadian prize -- the City of Toronto + Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature Film -- was awarded to Quebec's "Laurence Anyways," director Xavier Dolan's tale of a relationship complicated by gender identity issues. After a strong showing at Cannes earlier this year, many expected Dolan's film to be a contender for the prize.
See also: TIFF 2012's major box office contenders
And what about the festival's award for Best Canadian First Feature Film? It was a tie! Brandon Cronenberg's disturbing social satire "Antiviral" and Jason Buxton's small-town tragedy "Blackbird" share TIFF's Best Canadian First Feature Film award. Instead of splitting the $15,000 prize, each filmmaker will be awarded the full amount. Not a bad haul!