TIFF Awards 'American Fiction', 'The Holdovers' and 'The Boy and the Heron' | Awards Insights
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TIFF Awards ‘American Fiction’, ‘The Holdovers’ and ‘The Boy and the Heron’

TIFF Awards ‘American Fiction’, ‘The Holdovers’ and ‘The Boy and the Heron’

The Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award is one of the biggest indicators of Oscar success. Since 2012, every winner of the award has been nominated for Best Picture and at least three other awards. This year, Cord Jefferson’s American Fiction topped the festival slate and immediately cements itself as a top six Best Picture contender. MGM distributes the film and with no other major contenders to juggle, they should be able to put all their might into promoting and campaigning it.

According to Metacritic the film’s synopsis is as follows: “Monk (Jeffrey Wright) is a frustrated novelist who’s fed up with the establishment profiting from “Black” entertainment that relies on tired and offensive tropes. To prove his point, Monk uses a pen name to write an outlandish “Black” book of his own, a book that propels him to the heart of hypocrisy and the madness he claims to disdain.” Right now, the film has an 83 on Metacritic from 12 critic reviews. For the type of movie that it is, a socially conscious satire starring major Hollywood stars like Jeffrey Wright, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellie Ross, and Sterling K. Brown. With these highly-respected stars behind it, a major distributor that can throw its complete weight behind it, a mix of social consciousness and accessibility, and general critical acclaim, American Fiction, at this stage, looks like it has a reasonable chance to win Best Picture. An Adapted Screenplay nod is almost guaranteed, and Jeffrey Wright might be able to make it into the stacked Actor field as well. Sterling K. Brown is a longer shot, but as the season goes on his chances in Supporting Actor might increase substantially.

The Holdovers and The Boy and the Heron round out the rest of the TIFF People’s Choice Award honorees. Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers should be pretty much secure for a Best Picture nod. It’s a crowdpleasing dramedy that also has a 82 on Metacritic from 18 reviews. For a dramedy, the level of critical regard it has should be more than enough for it to be nominated. The Boy and the Heron won TIFF’s third place, and as animation legend Hayao Miyazaki’s last film, there’s definitely a narrative for the film to be awarded across the board. The film is said to be gentler, more contemplative, than most Ghibli fare. The film currently holds an 89 Metascore and is clearly loved by many. However, I think the love for the film is partly due to it being Miyazaki’s last and I’m not sure how much traction it will get outside of the Animated Feature category.

Here are the Best Picture nominees that went to Toronto from the past 10 years:

2022 – Special Presentations: All Quiet on the Western Front, The Banshees of Inisherin, The Fabelmans (People’s Choice Award 1st Place), Triangle of Sadness, Women Talking (People’s Choice Award 2nd place)

2021 – Gala Presentations: Belfast (People’s Choice Award 1st place); Special Presentations: Drive My Car, The Power of the Dog (People’s Choice Award 3rd place); Special Events: Dune

2020 – Gala Presentations: Nomadland (People’s Choice Award 1st place); Special Presentations: The Father

2019 – Gala Presentations: Ford v Ferrari, Joker; Special Presentations: Jojo Rabbit (People’s Choice award 1st place), Marriage Story (People’s Choice Award 2nd place), Parasite (People’s Choice Award 3rd place)

2018 – Gala Presentations: Green Book (People’s Choice Award 1st place), A Star is Born; Special Presentations: Roma (People’s Choice Award 3rd place)

2017 – Gala Presentations: Darkest Hour; Special Presentations: Call Me By Your Name (People’s Choice Award 3rd place), Lady Bird, The Shape of Water, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (People’s Choice Award 1st place)

2016 – Gala Presentations: Arrival; Special Presentations: La La Land (People’s Choice Award 1st place), Lion (People’s Choice Award 2nd place), Manchester by the Sea; Platform: Moonlight

2015 – Gala Presentations: The Martian; Special Presentations: Brooklyn, Room (People’s Choice Award winner), Spotlight (People’s Choice Award 3rd place)

2014 – Special Presentations: The Imitation Game (People’s Choice Award 1st place), The Theory of Everything, Whiplash

2013 – Special Presentations: 12 Years a Slave (People’s Choice Award 1st place), Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Philomena (People’s Choice Award 2nd place)

From this, it seems likely that three to five films that played at TIFF will make it into Best Picture. In order of likelihood, Anatomy of a Fall, The Zone of Interest, American Fiction, The Holdovers seem like the best bets. The Boy and the Heron and Rustin also have a chance as well.