Toronto Film Festival Picks Will Change The 94th Oscars Leaderboard—Here’s Why?

With both the Venice International Film Festival and the Toronto International Film Festival now over, the whole world is currently looking forward to the 94th Academy Awards. Venice is one of the oldest film festivals in the world, having been established in 1932, whereas the Toronto Film Festival is relatively new. In fact, the festival wasn’t even titled Toronto International Film Festival until 1994. 

A brainchild of founders Dusty Cohl, Bill Marshall, and Henk Van Der Kolk, who introduced the inaugural Festivals of Festivals in 1976, the primary goal of the Toronto Film Festival was to give more exposure to the best picks from other film festivals, alongside attracting major Hollywood productions by being a hospitable movie celebration.

Toronto Film Festival and The Academy Awards

There is no doubt that you get to learn more from a live film festival than a virtual one. The live Cannes and Telluride events held in 2021 offered lots of insights into how movies played for audiences and media. When participants are on solid ground, you can feel it in the room when a movie play—whether it is the Cannes Palme d’Or-winner “Titane,” “A Hero” from Asghar Farhadi, or “The Worst Person in the World” from Joachim Trier. “A Hero” might be Iran’s and “The Worst Person in the World” Norway’s Oscar submission.

TIFF, over the years, has become one of the significant bellwethers for the Oscars. While there exist juried awards, the People’s Choice Award given to the most popular movies at the festival as voted by festival-goers is considered the most important. The first winner of this category in 1978 was Claudia Weill’s “Girlfriend,” featuring Melanie Mayron. Further, in 1979, “Best Boy” Ira Wohl’s documentary that won this award also won the Academy Award for feature documentary.

Nevertheless, the importance of TIFF became really evident in 1981 when “Chariots of Fire,” the People’s Choice winner, went to win four Oscars, including the Best Picture. Other winners of TIFF that also bagged the Academy Awards include:

  • “The Official Story” (foreign language film) in 1985
  • “Antonia” (foreign language film) in 1995
  • “American Beauty” in 1999 (it won five Oscars including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor)
  • “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” in 2000 (it won four Oscars including Best Foreign Film)
  • “Bowling for Columbine (documentary winner) in 2002
  • “Brokeback Mountain” in 2005 (three Oscars including Best Director)
  • “Slumdog Millionaire” in 2008 (eight Oscars including Best Film and Best Director)
  • “The King’s Speech” in 2010 (four Oscars including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actor)
  • “A Separation” (foreign language winner) in 2011
  • “12 Years a Slave” in 2013 (three Oscars including Best Film)
  • “Spotlight” in 2015 (two Oscars including Best Film)
  • “La La Land” in 2016 (six Oscars including Best Director and Best Actress)
  • “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (best actress and supporting actor) in 2017
  • “Green Book” in 2018 (three Oscars including Best Film and Best Supporting Actor
  • “Jojo Rabbit” in 2019 (Academy Awards for the Best Adapted Screenplay)
Toronto Film Festival Picks Will Change The 94th Oscars Leaderboard—Here’s Why? 3

Controversies Surrounding TIFF

Over the years, TIFF has had its fair share of controversies. For example, in 1978, the Ontario Censor Board ordered “In Praise of Older Women” to delete 30-seconds of a love scene. Similarly, in 2004, the movie “Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat”—a documentary in which three men torture and kill a cat as part of an art project—received wild protests from animal activists who wanted the film pulled.

According to Peter Debruge, TIFF is a dumping ground for new movies with any apparent sense of curation. He said in 2016 that Cameron Bailey, an artistic director, accepts almost any film that features a handful of starring names.

Final Thoughts

With the 94th Academy Awards around the corner, a lot of betting sites in Canada have started accepting wagers for several categories. So, why not make your predictions now. In addition, several sportsbooks offer a free and easy-to-use app for Android and iPhone devices. So, you can download these apps and compete against other fans in real-time.

Nevertheless, always remember to keep your predictions up-to-date as they affect the latest odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. So, don’t miss the fun and get started right away.