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‘Silver Linings Playbook’ and ‘Seven Psychopaths’ Win TIFF Audience Awards

TIFF Silver Linings Playbook
The Weinstein Co.

Of every film festival award, few seem to matter as much as the People’s Choice Award (i.e., audience award) at the Toronto International Film Festival. Sure, the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival has an air of prestige that Toronto can never achieve (not quite French enough), but the big winners in Toronto tend to make a big splash when they hit theaters. Or, in the case of ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ and ‘The King’s Speech,’ they take home a Best Picture Oscar. This spells good things for ‘Silver Linings Playbook,’ which won the the People’s Choice today.

The latest film from David O. Russell (he of ‘The Fighter’ and ‘Three Kings’ fame), ‘Silver Linings Playbook’ stars Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert DeNiro and is described by the festival as “an intense, loving, emotional and funny family story… in which [Cooper] and [Lawrence] find themselves partners in a secret arrangement to rebuild their broken lives.” Combine this festival buzz with the notoriously Oscar-aggressive Weinstein Company (who are distributing the film) and you’ve got a surefire awards contender. However, it certainly has a contender in the Runner Up: Ben Affleck’s ‘Argo,’ which is also riding high on praise.

The other big winner coming out of the fest was ‘Seven Psychopaths,’ the latest film from the brilliant Martin McDonagh (whose ‘In Bruges’ is one of the best films you may not have given a chance yet). The ultra-violent, pitch black comedy about dogknapping and screenwriting won the People’s Choice Midnight Madness award, highlighting the best of the fest’s oddball and genre programming. Barry Levinson’s found footage horror movie ‘The Bay’ was the Runner Up.

The People’s Choice Documentary Award went to ‘Artifact,’ which “gives intimate access to singer/actor Jared Leto and his band Thirty Seconds to Mars as they battle their label in a brutal lawsuit and record their album This Is War.” Best Canadian First Feature Film (this is Toronto, after all), went to Brandon Cronenberg’s ‘Antiviral.’ It must run in the blood: Brandon is the son of David Cronenberg, a regular at the fest and one of the finest directors the Great White North has gifted to the world.

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