Sunday, September 16, 2012

Audiences Cheer for the Silver Linings Playbook at theToronto International Film Festival

The Hollywood Reporter announced that the dramedy, The Silver Linings Playbook, won the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF). Playbook, which was directed by David O. Russell (The Fighter, I Heart Huckabees) stars Bradley Cooper as Pat Solitano a former teacher who comes back home to live with his parents after a stint in a mental institution.  While at home Pat meets Tiffany played by Jennifer Lawrence who has problems of her own, the two start to go on their own relationship adventures, but their mental status interrupts a true "happy ending."  Robert DeNiro also stars as Pat's dad.  News from TIFF is that the film played uproarious joyful applause from audiences, reminiscent of past winner Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

Over the past years the audience prizes have gone to the following films:

Where Do We Go Now? (2011)
The King’s Speech (2010)
Precious (2009)
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Eastern Promises (2007)
Bella (2006)
Tsotsi (2005)
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
Zatôichi (2003)
Whale Rider (2002)
Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain (2001)
Wo hu cang long (2000)
American Beauty (1999)

Last year's winner did nothing at the Academy Awards, but throughout the years this prize, along with the festival has helped build a buzz helping films garner more attention than they may have received in the past.  Of the audience prize winners Eastern Promises, Hotel Rwanda, Whale Rider, and Le fabuleux destin d’Amélie Poulain all became major players in the acting, and technical categories at the Academy Awards.  Eastern Promises got Viggo Mortensen his first acting nomination, Hotel Rwanda recieved nominations for Don Cheedle, and Sophie Okenedo, Whale Ride helped Keisha Castle Hughes pull off a shocking Best Actress nomination and Amelie was 6 time nominee with nominations in the technical categories and foreign language category.

On the other hand TIFF helped The King's Speech march on The Social Network, and win 4 Oscars including Picture, Director, and Lead Actor. Slumdog Millionaire took home 8 Oscars including Picture, Director, and Adapted Screenplay.  American Beauty won 5 Oscars including Picture, Director, Lead Actor, and Original Screenplay.  Precious was the other film on this list that scored wins, two wins, one for Mo'Nique in the Supporting Actress category, and the Best Adapted 

Where does this leave Playbook in the hunt for Oscar?  Well of the first two festivals of the year, Venice and TIFF, both films that won at each were from The Weinstein Company.  The Master, which won at Venice, will be a much bigger hit with the critics, while Playbook will make a bigger showing at the Globes etc.  Could this be another David vs. Goliath like 2010s Speech vs. Network (both Weinstein films).  There is potential.  Russell's Fighter was well respected netting two major Oscars, this bodes well for him this year.  Paul Thomas Anderson's last film There will be Blood, was one of the most nominated films and grabbed two Oscars as well, for Lead Actor and Cinematography.  So who wins in this battle.  My guess is Argo, the Ben Affleck picture, but only time will tell, and the Oscar race is off to an interesting start.

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