The satire American Fiction starring Jeffrey Wright has won the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) 2023 People’s Choice Award, boosting the crowd-pleaser’s Oscar credentials heading into awards season.
Cord Jefferson’s directorial debut for Amazon/MGM stars Wright as a frustrated Black author whose deliberately dumbed-down novel about cliched Black characters becomes a hit. There are multiple screenings at TIFF Bell Lightbox today (September 17) from 2:30pm-9:30pm ET.
American Fiction follows last year’s recipient The Fablemans and other notable recent winners like Belfast, Nomadland, Jojo Rabbit, Green Book, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, and 12 Years A Slave.
Each of those films was nominated for the best picture Academy Award in their corresponding seasons, with Nomadland, Green Book and 12 Years A Slave winning in their respective years.
All films in TIFF’s official selection were eligible. Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers at Focus Features was first runner-up and Hayao Miyazaki’s TIFF opening night film The Boy And The Heron, released by GKIDS in North America, the second runner-up. Both films are expected to figure in awards season.
A24’s Dicks: The Musical from Larry Charles earned the TIFF 2023 People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award after a raucous world premiere and the runners-up were Nikhil Nagesh Bhat’s Kill, and Hell Of A Summer co-directed by Finn Wolfhard and Billy Bryk.
The TIFF 2023 People’s Choice Documentary Award went to Robert McCallum’s Mr. Dressup: The Magic Of Make-Believe followed by runners-up Summer Qamp by Jen Markowitz, and Mountain Queen: The Summits Of Lhakpa Sherpa by Lucy Walker, which Netflix acquired at the festival.
The full list of TIFF winners appears below:
Short Cuts Awards
Best Film: Electra, dir. Daria Kashcheeva
Short Cuts Award for Best Canadian Film: Motherland, dir. Jasmin Mozaffari
Share Her Journey Award: Shé (Snake), dir. Renee Zhan
Honourable Mention: Gaby’s Hills, dir. Zoé Pelchat.
Each winner receives a bursary of C$10,000 CAD. Jurors were Aisha Jamal, Araya Mengesha, and Shasha Nakhai.
A Match, dir. Digambar Somalkar
Jurors were Sung Moon, Haolun Shu, and Lalita Krishna.
Seagrass, dir. Meredith Hama-Brown.
Jurors were Cem Altinsaray, Elijah Baron, Jindřiška Bláhová, Diego Faraone, and Jenni Zylka.
Amplify Voices Awards Presented By Canada Goose
Best BIPOC Canadian Feature: Kanaval, dir. Henri Pardo
Best BIPOC Canadian First Feature Award: Tautuktavuk (What We See), dirs. Carol Kunnuk, Lucy Tulugarjuk
The 2023 Amplify Voices Trailblazer Award was presented to Damon D’Oliveira, producer.
Jurors were V.T. Nayani, Nisha Pahuja, and Ricardo Acosta.
Best Canadian Feature Film Award
Solo, dir. Sophie Dupuis.
Jurors were V.T. Nayani, Susan Maggi, and Ricardo Acosta.
Best Canadian Feature Film Award Honorable Mention
Kanaval, dir. Henri Pardo
We Grown Now, dir. Minhal Baig.
Jurors were members of TIFF’s Next Wave Committee: Maggie Kane, Linc Guo, Serena Hao, Roni Harel Haber, Ray Wu, Naiya Forrester, Maya Al-Arami, Sara Rana, Daniel Leplae, Tara Sidhu, Tafadzwa Mangwiro, and Elizabeth Albrecht.
Dear Jassi, dir. Tarsem Singh Dhandwar.
The winner receives C$20,000. Jurors were Barry Jenkins, Nadine Labaki, and Anthony Shim.
People’s Choice Award
TIFF 2023 People’s Choice Award: American Fiction, dir. Cord Jefferson.
TIFF 2023 People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award winner: Dicks: The Musical, dir. Larry Charles.
TIFF 2023 People’s Choice Documentary Award: Mr. Dressup: The Magic Of Make-Believe, dir. Robert McCallum.
TIFF ran September 7-17 and Saturday’s closing night film was Thom Zimny’s Sylvestor Stallone portrait Sly.
“We’re grateful to all the audience members, artists, industry professionals, and supporters who graced Toronto’s cinemas, red carpets, meeting spaces, and streets,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF CEO. “As we recognise award winners today, we thank everyone who contributed to this glorious, collective gift.”
“From the most revered veterans to the freshest new voices, this year’s festival played host to the diverse range of filmmakers Toronto is known for,” said Anita Lee, TIFF chief programming officer. “And Toronto’s filmgoers turned up in huge numbers to be a part of the celebration. We’re grateful to our film jurors for their invaluable contributions, for championing emerging talent, and for enriching the film community with their expertise and passion.”