TIFF15: Room Wins Toronto Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in, Room

Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay in, Room

From the minute I saw Room weeks prior to the start of the Toronto International Film Festival, I was certain that not only would it capture people's hearts but would go on to be a huge award winner. 

Today the Festival announced that Lenny Abrahamson's touching and unforgetable film  had claimed this year’s People’s Choice Award. The prize, often an awards season shoe-in, has gone to films such as “American Beauty,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” “The King’s Speech” and “12 Years a Slave” in the past.

The bestseller adaptation of Emma Donoghue's stunning novel  began its journey at the Telluride Film Festival two weeks ago, where it was one of the most popular films of the fest. It is in a prime position to be a best picture nominee, with Brie Larson a sure-fire leading actress contender and 8-year-old Vancouver native Jacob Tremblay an absolute shoe-in for a supporting actor nod. 

Room centers around Ma and Jack, a young woman (Larson) and her five-year-old son (Tremblay) who struggle to adjust to the strange, terrifying and wondrous world outside their one-room prison after escaping from the captivity in which they have been held for half a decade.

Other big winners at this year's Toronto International Film Festival include  Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah’s “Black” won Toronto’s Discovery programme award; short film prizes went to “Maman(s)” and “Overpass”; Andrew Cividino’s “Sleeping Giant” won best Canadian first feature; the best Canadian feature award went to Stephen Dunn’s “Closet Monster”; 24th annual FIPRESCI honors were awarded to Marko Skop’s “Eva Nová” and Jonás Cuarón’s “Diesierto”; Sion Sono’s “The Whispering Star” won the NETPAC award for world or international premiere; and the new juried Platform prize went to Alan Zweig’s “Hurt.”

Finally, Ilya Naishuller’s “Hardcore” won the People’s Choice Midnight Madness award, while Evgeny Afineevsky’s “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom” won the People’s Choice documentary award.

Below is my interview with Room director Lenny Abrahamson and the emotional trailer for the film.