‘Green Book’ Wins Toronto Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award

Toronto Film Festival 2018: Nine of the last 10 winners have gone on to receive Oscar Best Picture nominations, and three have won

Green Book Mahershala Ali
Courtesy of TIFF

Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book” has won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, TIFF announced at an awards ceremony on Sunday.

The film, which tells the true story of an Italian-American nightclub bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) who serves as the chauffeur for a black pianist on a tour through the Deep South in the early 1960s, opened at the festival on Tuesday and was an instant hit with audiences and critics, although Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” had been considered the likely winner of the People’s Choice Award.

Runners-up for the award were Barry Jenkins’ lyrical James Baldwin adaptation “If Beale Street Could Talk” and Alfonso Cuaron’s moving memory piece “Roma.”

In the past, Toronto audience members voted by depositing their ticket stubs in a box at the theater, or by using the TIFF app — festival organizers took into account the size of the theaters in which each film screened — with the films that received votes from the largest percentage of their audience winning the prizes.

This year, though, the voting moved online only, which caused fans of Lady Gaga, Timothee Chalamet and Robert Pattinson, among others, to lobby for “A Star Is Born,” “Beautiful Boy” and “High Life,” respectively, encouraging fans to vote as many times as possible. However, TIFF VP of Corporate Affairs Andrea Grau said the festival “takes many steps to ensure the integrity of the votes recorded,” including checking the origin of the votes against a ticket buyer database, to prevent “mass campaign voting.”

The People’s Choice Documentary Award went to “Free Solo,” with runner-up awards going to “This Changes Everything” and “The Biggest Little Farm.”

The top award in the Midnight Madness section went to “The Man Who Feels No Pain” by Vasan Bala, followed by David Gordon Green’s “Halloween” and Sam Levinson’s “Assassination Nation.”

A jury chose Ho Wi Ding’s “Cities of Last Things” as the winner in the Platform section, whose 12 selections included Karyn Kusama’s “Destroyer,” Alex Ross Perry’s “Her Smell” and Carol Morley’s “Out of Blue.”

A new award for the best film by a  female director at the festival, the Eurimage Audentia Award, went to Aalam-Warge Davidian for “Fig Tree.”

The FIPRESCI jury of international film critics gave honors to Guy Nattiv’s “Skin” and Carmel Winters’ “Float Like a Butterfly.” The NETPAC jury singled out “The Third Wife” as the festival’s best Asian film from an emerging director (Ashleigh Mayfair).

The award for the festival’s best Canadian film went to Sebastian Pilote’s “The Fireflies Are Gone,” while the award for best Canadian first feature went to Katherine Jerkovic for “Roads in February.”

Every one of the 254 feature films that played Toronto was eligible for the People’s Choice Award, with competitors including Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born,” Damien Chazelle’s “First Man,” Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma,” Peter Farrelly’s “Green Book,” Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk,” David Lowery’s “The Old Man & the Gun,” Paul Greengrass’ “22 July,” Steve McQueen’s “Widows,” Felix Van Groeningen’s “Beautiful Boy,” Jason Reitman’s “The Front Runner” and Marielle Heller’s “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Nine of the last 10 People’s Choice Award winners went on to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Picture, with only 2011’s “Where Do We Go Now?” failing to make the cut with Academy voters.

Three TIFF audience winners have gone on to win the Best Picture Oscar in that time: “12 Years a Slave” in 2013, “The King’s Speech” in 2010 and “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008. Two others won before that: “American Beauty” in 1999 and “Chariots of Fire” in 1981. Other recent Toronto winners include “La La Land,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Imitation Game,” “Room” and last year’s choice, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.”

The winners:

Grolsch People’s Choice Award: “Green Book,” Peter Farrelly
Runners-up: “If Beale Street Could Talk,” Barry Jenkins; “Roma,” Alfonso Cuaron
People’s Choice Documentary Award: “Free Solo,” E. Chai Vasarhelvi and Jimmy Chin
Runners-up: “This Changes Everything,” Tom Donahue; “The Biggest Little Farm,” John Chester
People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award: “The Man Who Feels No Pain,” Vasan Bala
Runners-up: “Halloween,” David Gordon Green; “Assassination Nation,” Sam Levinson

Platform Prize: “Cities of Last Things,” Ho Wi Ding
Special Mention: “The River,” Emir Baigazin

Eurimage Audentia Award for Best Female Director: “Fig Tree,” Aalam-Warge Davidian

Best Canadian Feature Film: “The Fireflies Are Gone,” Sebastien Pilote
Best Canadian First Feature: “Roads in February,” Katherine Jerkovic

International Critic (FIPRESCI) Prize for Special Presentations: “Skin,” Guy Nattiv
International Critic (FIPRESCI) Prize for Discovery program: “Float Like a Butterfly,” Carmel Winters

NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film: “The Third Wife,” Ash Mayfair
Special mention: “The Crossing,” Bai Xue

Short Cuts Award for International Short Film: “The Field,” Sandhya Suri
Honorable Mentions: “F— You,” Anette Sidor; “This Magnificent Cake!,” Emma de Swaef and Marc James Roels
Short Cuts Award for Canadian Short Film: “Brotherhood,” Meryam Joobeur
Honorable Mention: “Fauve,” Jeremy Comte