|Chiwetel Ejiofor begins the unforgettably harrowing journey of Solomon Northrup in "12 Years a Slave."|
The 38th Toronto International Film Festival all but wrapped up another 10-day movie feast this afternoon by announcing its annual award winners. They include:
BLACKBERRY® PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARDS
This marked the 36th year that Toronto audiences were able to cast a ballot for their favorite festival film. The 2013 honor goes to director Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave. The film tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 and finally freed in 1853.
Northup's tale is about one man’s courage and perseverance to reunite with his family, not to mention an important historical and cultural marker in American history. The award offers a $15,000 cash prize and custom award, sponsored by BlackBerry. The first runner-up is Stephen Frears’ Philomena. The second runner-up is Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, which opens Friday throughout North America.
Last year's top two films in this category, "Silver Linings Playbook" and "Argo," became key players in the Oscar race, with the latter and director Ben Affleck taking home Academy Awards in the two key categories.
The BlackBerry People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award goes to director Sion Sono’s Why Don't You Play in Hell? (Jigoku de Naze Warui). First runner-up is Mike Flanagan and his OCULUS, and the second runner-up is Álex de la Iglesia's Witching & Bitching.
The BlackBerry People’s Choice Documentary Award goes to Jehane Noujaim for The Square. It's a story of revolution — behind the headlines -- from the 2011 overthrow of a 30-year dictator, through military rule, and culminating with the overthrow of the Muslim Brotherhood president in the summer of 2013. First runner-up is Alanis Obomsawin’s Hi-Ho Mistahey!, with Leanne Pooley’s Beyond the Edge earning second runner-up plaudits.
CITY OF TORONTO, CANADA GOOSE AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILMThe winner is Alan Zweig’s When Jews Were Funny, which drew jury praise "for its deeply moving exploration of memory, identity and community and for its coherent and profoundly humorous representation of the personal as universal."
This award is made possible, thanks to the City of Toronto and Canada Goose and comes with a cash prize of $30,000.
For a complete list of festival award-winners, go to http://tiff.net/thefestival/festivalawards.
And click here to read more about the People's Choice third-place feature film winner.