TIFF 2013: McQueen's '12 Years a Slave' wins Coveted Audience Award

September 15, 2013

12 Years a Slave - TIFF 2013

The winners of many prestigious awards at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival have been announced today as the festival wraps up. The big winner this year is Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, which won the "People's Choice" award. It's one of the most coveted prizes at TIFF considering the prominent history of past winners. Over these last four to five years, the big winner usually goes on to achieve some Oscar glory. The last few winners include: Silver Linings Playbook, Where Do We Go Now?, The King's Speech, Precious and Slumdog Millionaire. Now McQueen's 12 Years a Slave joins those ranks, but it should be noted that Sion Sono's Why Don't You Play in Hell? won the midnight award.

Here's the full list from top to bottom, thanks to the press release put out via If you click on any of the TIFF links, the page includes a little blurb about why it's so good, plus photos and info, so you can find these when/if they get released or hit another fest. Here's the Toronto Film Festival 2013 awards in full:

BlackBerry People's Choice Award:
12 Years a Slave directed by Steve McQueen [TIFF]
Director Steve McQueen follows the acclaimed Hunger and Shame with this shocking, based-on-fact story of a 19th-century freeman kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Deep South. The enormously talented Chiwetel Ejiofor leads an extraordinary cast that includes Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt, Paul Giamatti, Alfre Woodard and Benedict Cumberbatch. (Watch the trailer)
Runners Up: Stephen Frears' Philomena and Denis Villeneuve's Prisoners

BlackBerry People's Choice Documentary Award:
The Square directed by Jehane Noujaim [TIFF]
This documentary epic is the result of director Jehane Noujaim (Control Room) and her crew’s dogged chronicling of activism, unrest and revolution in Cairo’s Tahrir Square.
Runners Up: Alanis Obomsawin's Hi-Ho Mistahey! and Leanne Pooley's Beyond the Edge

BlackBerry People's Choice Midnight Madness Award:
Why Don't You Play in Hell? directed by Sion Sono [TIFF]
A renegade film crew becomes embroiled with a yakuza clan feud in this wild, perverse and blood-soaked orgy of outrageousness from cult director Sion Sono (Suicide Club). (Watch the trailer)
Runners Up: Mike Flanagan's Oculus and Álex de la Iglesia's Witching & Bitching

City of Toronto + Canada Goose Award for Best Canadian Feature:
When Jews Were Funny directed by Alan Zweig [TIFF]

"For three generations of extraordinary, honest and courageous performances in Peter Stebbing's Empire of Dirt, the jury presents a special citation to Jennifer Podemski, Cara Gee and Shay Eyre."

Skyy Vodka Award For Best Canadian First Feature Film:
Asphalt Watches directed by Shayne Ehman & Seth Scriver [TIFF]

"For its technical mastery, polish, sense of fun and ability to scare the pants off us, the jury gives an honourable mention to Afflicted."

FIPRESCI Prize For Special Presentations:
Ida directed by Pawel Pawlikowski [TIFF]

FIPRESCI Prize For Discovery Programme:
The Amazing Catfish directed by Claudia Sainte-Luce [TIFF]

Best Canadian Short Film:
Noah directed by Walter Woodman & Patrick Cederberg [TIFF]
Honorable Mentions: Kevan Funke's Yellowhead and Fraser Munden & Neil Rathbone's The Chaperone 3D

NETPAC Award for World or International Asian Film Premiere:
Qissa directed by Anup Singh [TIFF]

Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award:
All the Wrong Reasons directed by Gia Milani [TIFF]

Congratulations to all of this year's winners. I do like that TIFF focuses on the "People's Choice" audience awards rather than relying on a selective jury to choose the top prize. While they have juries, this shows just how much they care about an entire audience's reaction to a film and how much it means when everyone loves something rather than just a few people. All of the winner's at TIFF are deserving of these accolades and should be sought out at your earliest chance. I loved 12 Years a Slave and wrote in my Telluride review: "From Hans Zimmer's beautiful score, to cinematographer Sean Bobbitt's shots, to McQueen's direction and all of the performances within, this film is a grand achievement and should not be missed by anyone."

This just about wraps up our coverage from TIFF 2013, as the fest comes to an end. However, this is only the start of the awards season and many of these films may still play at other fests, too. For more on the Toronto Film Fest and details on the juries or awards, visit Until next year! Did you see any of these?

Find more posts: Indies, Movie News, TIFF 13


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