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PETE HAMMOND

ers—but the love shown by TIFF held Peter Farrelly’s film aloft all the way to the Dolby Theatre, even as it suffered slings and arrows along the way. All of which to say, this year’s crop of fresh premieres will all be vying for that coveted prize, hoping its stamp of approval sends them down a similar path. TIFF world premieres that could make a splash in one way or another include A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which could likely grant Tom Hanks some traction in the Best Actor race also; The Goldfinch, an adaptation of a Pulitzer Prizewinning novel; Harriet, the Cynthia Erivo-starring biopic of Harriet Tubman; and the true death row story Just Mercy, which features strong WELL-WORN PATH Producer David Puttnam with his Oscar for Chariots of Fire.

THE PEOPLE'S OSCAR TIFF'S audience award has propelled many movies to the Academy's stage. So, what does this year have in store?

turns from Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx. Netflix will be premiering Eddie Murphy’s homage to comedian Rudy Ray Moore, Dolemite Is My Name, while Fox Searchlight—always an Oscar player—has chosen TIFF to unveil Taika Waititi’s controversial

The Toronto International Film Festival

Chariots of Fire. Still more nominees

Hitler comedy Jojo Rabbit, as well as

is the one fest on the planet that has

come from the People’s Choice pool:

Noah Hawley’s astronaut picture Lucy

been able to transform an audience-

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Mis-

in the Sky, which stars Natalie Port-

favored picture into something much

souri, La La Land and Room are among

man. And don’t count out Lionsgate,

more significant in the grand scheme

their number.

with the potential crowd-pleaser that

Of course, there are no guarantees—

is Rian Johnson’s all-star mystery

looks to TIFF’s People’s Choice Award

People’s Choice winners like Eastern

Knives Out, which could be propelled

as a strong harbinger of eventual

Promises and Zatōichi stumbled on

towards awards season if it plays well

Oscar glory—whether for a win or a

their journeys—but it remains as good

in Canada.

nomination—in the Motion Picture

an indicator as any. Canadian film

Academy’s most heavily scrutinized

fans seem to have similar tastes to

premiered elsewhere before making

category: Best Picture.

Academy voters.

it to TIFF’s stage. They include Joker,

Past winners include eventual Best

Last year’s Best Picture winner,

Still, there are more that will have

Judy, The Laundromat, Marriage Story,

Picture champs like 12 Years a Slave,

Green Book, started its journey with a

Motherless Brooklyn, Pain & Glory, Para-

The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire,

People’s Choice win, to the surprise of

site, Honey Boy, The Report, The Two

and American Beauty. As far back as

many. The film screened on the 2018

Popes, Ford v Ferrari, and Uncut Gems.

1981, the award signaled a soon-to-be

festival’s sixth day—far later than many

major Oscar upset when it went to

of the more buzzed-about contend-

2

Will TIFF’s influence on Oscar continue for yet another year? Stay tuned. ★

R EX/SHUT T ERSTO CK

of things. Every pundit worth their salt

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