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Stray Observations From the Criticwire Toronto Poll: What Surprised Us About This Year's Winners

Festivals
by Steve Greene
September 17, 2012 2:14 PM
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James Franco in "Spring Breakers."

As you may have seen this morning, we posted our usual end-of-festival films/performances poll for the Toronto International Film Festival. Aside from the year-in-review poll that we conduct every December, this is one of our biggest opportunities for lovers of movies and movie-related data to sift through a bevy of responses.

  • We mentioned in the poll story intro that 110 documentaries and narrative features received votes as being among the five best in their respective categories at TIFF 2012. Although there was some overlap, 74 different lead performances and 96 supporting performances were also singled out. Even though some movies emerged as festival favorites and subsequently enjoyed some additional exposure, that's still a nice variety.
  • In addition to Bradley Cooper, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken, other actors who received votes for multiple performances included Logan Lerman ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower" and "Writers") and David Oyelowo ("The Paperboy" and "Middle of Nowhere").
  • A few critics got creative with their performances lists and singled out some unconventional figures. Non-human entries like the fishing boat from "Leviathan," the titular building from "Museum Hours" and the raccoon from "Tower" got mentions, as did documentary subjects like Michael Polley ("Stories We Tell") and Dwight D. Eisenhower ("Far from Afghanistan").
  • While in most cases one actor was recognized by most critics who liked the film in question, in a few cases recognization was spread across an ensemble cast: "The Place Beyond the Pines," "Ginger and Rosa" and "Argo" each had five cast members singled out on individual ballots.
  • Some presumed heavy hitters at the start of the festival were conspicuously absent from critics' ballots. Bill Murray's turn as Franklin Delano Roosevelt earned just one vote out of over 40 ballots, while Keira Knightley's role in "Anna Karenina" was passed over entirely. The A-list stars of "Cloud Atlas" were presumably included in one critics vote for the film's entire cast, but none landed specific mentions.
  • While some performances transcended the lead/supporting divide, some performances missed out on both top ten lists by splitting votes. If you combined all their votes, Ryan Gosling ("The Place Beyond the Pines") and Sam Rockwell ("Seven Psychopaths") would have had a shot at placing as well.
  • A couple of films received several votes for best film and the biggest disappointment: "To the Wonder," "The Master," "The Place Beyond the Pines," "The Impossible" and "Frances Ha." As these films make their way to theaters over the coming months, time will tell what side of the ledger audiences will place them under.

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Notice anything else interesting among all the responses? Surprised by some of the standouts? Let us know in the comments.

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