The award was announced at a ceremony on Sunday, the closing day for the festival that began on September 8.
The film premiered on Monday in Toronto following well-received bows in Venice and Telluride. “‘La La Land’ is something special, a lovely and touching concoction that simultaneously embraces the dazzling form of old Hollywood musicals while simultaneously admitting that musical fantasies are sort of a con,” wrote TheWrap after the film’s TIFF premiere.
Toronto’s People’s Choice Documentary Award went to Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro,” based on an unpublished book by James Baldwin, while the award for the festival’s Midnight Madness section was given to “Free Fire” by Ben Wheatley.
Johnny Ma won the award for Best First Canadian Feature for “Old Stone,” while Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie won the Best Canadian Feature award for “Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves.”
FIPRESCI Awards from the international film critics’ organization went to Mbithi Masya’s “Kati Kati” from the Discovery section, and Feng Xiaogang’s “I Am Not Madame Bovary” from the Special Presentations program. Maysaloun Hamoud’s “In Between” won the NETPAC Award for the festival’s best Asian film premiere.
Toronto short film awards were given to Raymond Ribay Gutierrez’s “Imago” and Alexandre Dostie’s “Mutant,” with honorable mentions for Orlando von Einsiedel’s “The White Helmets” and Or Sinai’s “Anna.”
The People’s Choice Award is open to each one of the nearly 300 features that played Toronto, including Denis Villeneuve‘s “Arrival,” Peter Berg‘s “Deepwater Horizon,” Oliver Stone‘s “Snowden,” Amma Asante‘s “A United Kingdom,” Ewan McGregor‘s “American Pastoral” and Nate Parker’s “The Birth of a Nation.”
Three TIFF audience winners have gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture over the last eight years: “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 “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Imitation Game” and last year’s choice, “Room.”
Audience members cast ballots by depositing their ticket stubs as they leave the theater, or voting online using the TIFF app. The winners are the films that received the largest percentage of votes from the total audience that saw the film in Toronto.
Grolsch People’s Choice Award: “La La Land,” Damien Chazelle
Runners-up: “Lion,” Garth Davis; “The Queen of Katwe,” Mira Nair
People’s Choice Documentary Award: “I Am Not Your Negro,” Raoul Peck
Runners-up: “ABABUS: Small Enough to Jail,” Steve James; “Before the Flood,” Fisher Stevens
People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award: “Free Fire,” Ben Wheatley
Runners-up: “The Autopsy of Jane Doe,” André Øvredal; “Raw,” Julia Ducournau
Platform Prize: “Jackie,” Pablo Larrain
Honorable Mention: “Hema Hema: Sing Me a Song While I Wait,” Khyentse Norbu
Best Canadian First Feature: “Old Stone” (“Lao Shi”), Johnny Ma
Best Canadian Feature Film: “Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves,” Mathieu Denis and Simon Lavoie
International Critic (FIPRESCI) Prize for Special Presentations: “I Am Not Madame Bovary,” Feng Xiaogang
International Critic (FIPRESCI) Prize for Discovery Program: “Kati Kati,” Mbithi Masya
NETPAC Award for Best Asian Film: “In Between,” Maysaloun Hamoud
Short Cuts Award for International Short Film: “Imago,” Raymond Ribay Gutierrez
Short Cuts Award for Canadian Short Film: “Mutants,” Alexandre Dostie
Short Cuts Honorable Mentions: “The White Helmets,” Orlando von Einsiedel; “Anna,” Or Sinai
Dropbox Discovery Programme Filmmaker Award: “Jeffrey,” Yanillis Perez