Lee Daniel’s Precious: Based On The Novel “Push” By Sapphire won the Cadillac People’s Choice Award as the 34th Toronto International Film Festival wrapped on the weekend.
The audience prize at Toronto is coveted as a harbinger of awards season success, as was the case last year when Slumdog Millionaire went on to Best Picture glory at the Academy Awards.
Precious features a remarkable debut by Gabourey Sidibe and co-stars Mo’Nique, Paula Patton, Mariah Carey, Sherri Shepherd and Lenny Kravitz. Its executive producers include Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry. Audience prize runner-ups were Bruce Beresford’s Mao’s Last Dancer and Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s Micmacs.
Cadillac also backed two new audience awards this year. The documentary audience prize went to filmmaker Leanne Pooley for The Topp Twins, idiosyncratic lesbian country-and-western singing sisters considered national treasures in their native New Zealand. The documentary runner-up was Micahel Moore’s Capitalism: A Love Story. The audience prize for the cult-themed Midnight Madness program went to Sean Byrne’s The Loved Ones. The runner-up was Michael Spierig’s and Peter Spierig’s Daybreakers.
The FIPRESCI jury recognized world premieres in the Special Presentation and debut films in the Discovery programs: the Discovery winner was Indian filmmaker Laxmikant Shetgaonkar for The Man Beyond the Bridge while, in Special Presentations, French filmmaker Bruno Dumont won for Hadewijch. Dumont films L’Humanite and Flandres were both Grand Prix winners at Cannes.
Best Canadian Feature Film honours went to Ruba Nadda’s Cairo Time, starring Patricia Clarkson, Tom McCamus and Alexander Siddig. Burdened with the title ‘the City of Toronto and Astra Media’s The Movie Network Award’, the C$30,000 prize recognized what the jurors described as a “superbly directed lyrical waltz of longing and desire across disparate worlds”. Bernard Emond’s La Donation (The Legacy) was recognized with a Special Jury Citation as “the work of a master”.
The C$15,000Best Canadian First Feature Film award went to Alexandre Franchi for The Wild Hunt. The C$10,000 Best Canadian Short Film was Pedro Pires’ Danse Macabre. The shorts jury gave a special mention to Jamie Travis for The Armoire.