By William Wolf


Of all the awards bestowed in connection with the Toronto International Film Festival the most coveted is the one in which the people speak—The BlackBerry People’s Choice Award. At the various screenings representatives stand with ballots for viewers to mark. Enough suspense: This year’s people’s choice is “Silver Linings Playbook,” directed by David O. Russell and starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro.

The plot involves efforts to repair wounded lives against a background that includes compulsive bookmaking. There is a $15,000 cash prize. Ben Affleck’s “Argo” is first runner-up, with Eran Riklis’s “Zaytoun” second runner-up.

The best Canadian feature film this year is “Laurence Anyways,” directed by Xavier Dolan. The honor is known as the City of Toronto Canada + Goose Award and comes with a cash prize of $30,000. The film was cited “For its breathless cinematic energy and its entirely new love story.”

There is a tie for the Skyy Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Film. The prize is split between “Antiviral,” directed by Brandon Cronenberg, and “Blackbird,” directed by Jason Buxton.” A $15,000 cash prize goes with the award. What do with two winners? The decision is a generous one. Each winner gets $15,000.

Each year awards are given by a jury of FIPRESCI, an organization of critics from around the world. This time the award in the Special Presentations category goes to “Dans le maison,” directed by François Ozon, and the award in the Discovery program goes to “Call Girl,” directed by Mikael Marcimain.

Other prizes include:

Best Canadian Short Film -- “Keep a Modest Head,” directed by Deco Dawson.

BlackBerry People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award--“Seven Psychopaths,” directed by Martin McDonagh.

BlackBerry People’s Choice Documentary Award--“Artifact,” directed by Bartholomew Cubbins.

New this year is a prize for Best First or Second Feature World or International Asian Film Premiere given by a jury selected from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC). The winner is “The Land of Hope,” directed by Sion Sono.


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