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Steve McQueen's '12 Years A Slave' Wins Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist September 15, 2013 at 1:58PM

While not always an accurate prediction of future awards season success (2011 winner "Where Do We Go Now?" basically was never heard from again), the Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award has more often than not been early augur of a film's potential. Previous winners including "Silver Linings Playbook," "The King's Speech" and "Slumdog Millionaire" point toward a specific kind of crowdpleaser that tends to gain traction among audiences, though tougher films like "Precious" have also won the hearts of the TIFF moviegoing public that vote on the winner. But certainly, we weren't expecting this.
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12 Years A Slave

While not always an accurate prediction of future awards season success (2011 winner "Where Do We Go Now?" was basically never heard from again), the Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award has more often than not been an early augur of a film's potential. Previous winners, including "Silver Linings Playbook," "The King's Speech" and "Slumdog Millionaire," point toward a specific kind of crowd-pleaser that tends to gain traction among audiences, though tougher films like "Precious" have also won the hearts of the TIFF movie-going public that vote on the winner. But certainly, we weren't expecting this.

In a festival filled with more obvious, and easier-to-digest contenders like Stephen Frears' "Philomena," TIFF crowds instead voted for Steve McQueen's tough, brutal and celebrated "12 Years A Slave" as this year's People's Choice Award winner. The film has been drawing nothing short of rave reviews (including our own) even if by all accounts it's a tough, wrenching watch. That being said, it was easily the most talked about movie around Toronto by a mile, and clearly those conversations resonated in a big way.

Check out the full list of winners below. Joining in the People's Choice Award were runners-up: the aforementioned "Philomena" and Denis Villeneuve's dark crime drama "Prisoners."

People's Choice Award:
"12 Years a Slave"
Runners-up: "Philomena," "Prisoners"

People's Choice Award For Documentary:
"The Square"
Runners-up: "Beyond the Edge" and "Hi-Ho Mistahey"

People's Choice Award For Midnight Madness:
"Why Don't You Play In Hell?"
Runners-up: "Oculus," "Witching & Bitching"

Best Canadian Feature Film:
"When Jews Were Funny"

Best Canadian First Feature Film:
"Asphalt Watches"

Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations Section:
"Ida"

Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Discovery Section:
"The Amazing Catfish"

NETPAC Award For Best Asian Film:
"Qissa"

Award For Best Canadian Short Film:
"Noah" (watch it here)

The Grolsch Film Works Discovery Award:
"All The Wrong Reasons"

This article is related to: TIFF, Toronto International Film Festival, 12 Years a Slave, Philomena, Prisoners, Why Don't You Play In Hell?


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