Oscars frontrunner ‘La La Land’ wins Toronto Film Festival People’s Choice Award

Damien Chazelle‘s musical romance “La La Land” won the People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival over the likes of “The Birth of a Nation,” “Manchester by the Sea” and “Loving.” (See the full list of winners below.) This prestigious prize boosts its already strong chances of winning Best Picture. Among our Oscars experts — a panel of 22 journalists who cover the film industry year-round — it is the clear frontrunner drawing the votes of a dozen of them. Expect that number to increase in the coming days.

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Of the previous 38 TIFF champs, 14 reaped Best Picture bids at the Oscars and five of them won the top Academy Award: “Chariots of Fire” (1981), “American Beauty” (1999), “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008), “The King’s Speech” (2010) and “12 Years a Slave” (2013).

The nine also-rans at the Oscars were “The Big Chill” (1983), “Places in the Heart” (1984), “Shine” (1996), “Life is Beautiful” (1998), “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” (2000), “Precious” (2009), “Silver Linings Playbook” (2012), “The Imitation Game” (2014) and last year’s winner “Room.” That dark drama contended for four Oscars, winning Best Actress (Brie Larson).

In all, 27 of the TIFF top choices have contended in at least one category at the Oscars, winning 45 awards from 134 nominations.

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This TIFF triumph is also a boon for “La La Land” leading lady Emma Stone. She already had the backing of eight of our experts and leading odds of 3 to 1, just ahead of Viola Davis (“Fences”) at 7/2.

Over the years,  the stars of 17 TIFF picks for best pic scored a collective 32 Oscar nominations for their performers. Before Larson, nine others won: Sally Field for “Places in the Heart” (Actress, 1984), Mercedes Ruehl for “The Fisher King” (Best Supporting Actress, 1991), Geoffrey Rush for “Shine” (Actor, 1996), Roberto Benigni for “Life is Beautiful” (Best Actor, 1998), Kevin Spacey for “American Beauty” (Best Actor, 1999), Mo’Nique for “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire” (Best Supporting Actress, 2009), Colin Firth for “The King’s Speech” (Best Actor, 2010), Jennifer Lawrence for “Silver Linings Playbook” (Best Actress, 2012) and Lupita Nyong’o for “12 Years a Slave” (Best Supporting Actress, 2013).

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PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
“La La Land”

PEOPLE’S CHOICE DOCUMENTARY AWARD
“I Am Not Your Negro”

PEOPLE’S CHOICE MIDNIGHT MADNESS AWARD
“Free Fire”

FIPRESCI DISCOVERY PRIZE
Discovery Section: “Kati Kati”
Special Presentations Section: “I Am Not Madam Bovary”

BEST CANADIAN FILM FEATURE
“Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves”

BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE
“Old Stone”

BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM
“Mutants”

BEST INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM
“Imago”

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