The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) People’s Choice Award is always presented at the end of the festival after audiences get the chance to see the films. The winning movie is usually the most popular among all of them. Many times, when a film goes on to win one of these awards at the annual film festival, it will win other awards, including Oscars.
From some older films on the list to recent ones, there are plenty of names here that you might recognize that not only won the TIFF People’s Choice Award, but also went on to win Academy Awards as well. Among the films that have achieved these honors, here are some of the AMC staff’s favorites.
Directed by Danny Boyle and loosely based on the novel, “Q & A,” by Vikas Swarup, SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE tells the story of a young man who gets the chance to go on the Indian-Hindi version of “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?” During his time on the show, he ends up answering every question correctly and is accused of cheating. The film shows him recapping the events of his life in order to explain how he was able to do so well at the game, and how he was most certainly not cheating.
The musical drama film began its awards season with the TIFF People’s Choice win in 2008, and after that, the awards began to come in big time for SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won eight of them – including Best Picture.
The film itself is wonderfully shot, well-acted, and has a fun dance sequence at the end that anyone will want to get up and dance to. It’s certainly a great pick for a TIFF award and understandable as to why it ended up winning so many Oscars afterwards.
Directed by Sam Mendes, AMERICAN BEAUTY is a black comedy/drama film that tells the story of a father and husband who is frustrated with his life and job and experiencing a midlife crisis, leading to a strange infatuation with his daughter’s teenage friend.
AMERICAN BEAUTY went on to win the TIFF People’s Choice Award and later was nominated for eight Academy Awards, and ended up winning five. These included Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography and of course, Best Picture.
The film dives deeper into the meaning behind beauty within American society, as well as the meaning of life and what people choose to do with it. There are also themes of sexuality and much more. It explores the dark secrets behind the so-called “perfect” American family, and how not everything is what it seems on the surface.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Directed by Ang Lee and based on the Chinese novel of the same name, CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON tells the story of a swordsman entrusting one of his closest friends to deliver his sword somewhere to keep it safe. However, when a thief in the night steals it, it’s up to them to find this legendary weapon once again.
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON stars Chow Yun-fat and Michelle Yeoh in the lead roles, and both deliver expert performances mixed in with some seriously astounding martial arts moments. The film won the TIFF People’s Choice Award in 2000 and would then get nominated for ten Academy Awards, including Best Picture. It ended up winning four – Best Foreign Language Film, Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, and Best Original Score.
The film was a pioneer in female empowerment and told a brilliant story with some beautiful cinematography. It truly was one of Ang Lee’s best films yet.
Other TIFF Winners That Won Oscars
There are several other TIFF Winners that would go on to win other Academy Awards. In 1981, CHARIOTS OF FIRE won the TIFF People’s Choice Award and ended up getting seven Academy Award nominations, winning four, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
Another would be LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, which won the TIFF People’s Choice Award in 1998, and was nominated for seven Academy Awards. It won three, including Best Actor for Roberto Benigni, Best Foreign Language Film, and Best Music, Original Dramatic Score.
More recent films that also won the TIFF People’s Choice Award are THE KINGS SPEECH (2010), 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013), GREEN BOOK (2018), and NOMADLAND (2020). All four of which went on to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards, as well as several other accolades.
It’s always a telling sign on what films are going to do the best when one wins the TIFF People’s Choice Awards. And judging from this list, several of these are some of the best movies ever made. Time will only tell what the 2022 pick will be for the Toronto International Film Festival People’s Choice Award.