Four times in the era of the ranked-choice ballot the Toronto People’s Choice winner also won Best Picture. See below:
Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire – Screenplay, Supporting Actress
Mao’s Last Dancer
The King’s Speech – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor
The First Grader
Where Do We Go Now? (وهلّأ لوين؟)
Silver Linings Playbook – Actress
Argo – Picture, Screenplay, Editing
12 Years a Slave – Picture, Screenplay, Supporting Actress
The Imitation Game – Screenplay
Learning to Drive
Room – Actress
Angry Indian Goddesses
Spotlight – Picture, Screenplay
La La Land – Director, Actress, etc.
Queen of Katwe
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Actress, Supporting Actor
I, Tonya – Supporting Actress
Call Me by Your Name – Screenplay
Green Book – Picture, Screenplay, Supporting Actor
If Beale Street Could Talk
Roma – Director
Jojo Rabbit – Screenplay
Parasite – Picture, Director, Screenplay, Int. Feature
Nomadland – Picture, Director, Actress
One Night in Miami… supporting Actress
Belfast – Screenplay
The Power of the Dog – Director
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
Winning in Toronto usually means you’re going to win something at the Oscars if you also get in for Best Picture and sometimes even if you don’t. What is rare is for the Best Picture at TIFF to match the Best Picture at the Oscars. It happens. But it’s rare.
When it does happen, that movie has an acting prize that goes with it, at least since 2009. Prior to that, movies could win without one – like Slumdog Millionaire, though that was also rare.
So let’s say, for instance, The Fabelmans becomes our “defacto frontrunner” — which it likely will after winning here. That would mean Michelle Williams is probably going to also be the frontrunner to win Supporting Actress. It could win Picture, Screenplay, Supporting Actress under the current system. Spielberg would still win two Oscars but he might not win THREE Oscars and they’d give Best Director to, say, Sarah Polley for Women Talking (which would also win adapted) or perhaps Gina-Prince Bythewood for the Woman King.
The key thing to remember about the People’s Choice vs. the Best Picture Oscar is, quite simply, the ranked-choice ballot which I urge the Academy to get rid of to make its show and its top prize more interesting. The Toronto awards had a great solution to honor marginalized groups with their “Amplify voices” awards. Why couldn’t the Academy do the same thing? Why couldn’t they have a category for filmmakers who fit their requirements for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion but then have five of the best films of the year compete for the majority vote?
It’s just more fun to have a majority vote on five movies, especially now that films in the theater are dying, and the Oscar no longer drives box office the way it used to. A majority vote is going to match what the public thinks more so than a negotiated winner that knocks out divisive films. I’m just saying.
Unless of course, you tell me that the TIFF People’s Choice is counted as a ranked choice, which I don’t believe it is.
As far as the Fablemans goes, it might be our juggernaut winner. But that isn’t a call anyone can make until we see the rest of the movies on tap for this year, including Babylon and Avatar.
Now, it should be mentioned here and probably goes without saying that Spielberg is an American icon. That this was his first Toronto Film Fest no doubt played into at least some of the reaction to the film. I haven’t seen it yet. I can’t wait to see it. But I can imagine that enhancing the experience quite a bit. It’s not every day God strolls in the room.
Also worth noting that since they started listing their runners-up, only once have all three have gotten in for Best Picture and that was in 2019. Two out of three is more common. But it still bodes well for both Glass Onion and Women Talking in this case.