The Imitation Game Wins the People’s Choice Award at TIFF ’14

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With the 39th Annual Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) coming to an end today, winners were announced for the 2014 iteration of the popular Canadian film festival with the Weinstein Company taking their third win in this category over the past five years with The Imitation Game, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley.

Directed by Scandinavian filmmaker Morten Tyldum, whose adaptation of the Jo Nesbo novel Headhunters appeared at TIFF in 2011, the drama tells the story of Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician who helped crack the Nazis’ elusive Enigma code in order to help end World War II, saving the lives of millions. Turing was also a closeted homosexual whose secret was discovered nearly a decade after the war and which got him arrested for indecency.

With critical raves since the film’s debut at Telluride over Labor Day weekend, many feel that Cumberbatch is a shoe-in for his first Oscar nomination for the role with other nominations very likely, including for Best Picture.

Runners-up for the People’s Choice Award were Isabel Coixet’s Learning to Drive, starring Patricia Clarkson and Sir Ben Kingsley, and another Weinstein Company release, Ted Melfi’s St. Vincent, starring Bill Murray, both comedies with dramatic undertones.

The People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award (specifically for movies in the festival’s annual genre track) went to What We Do in the Shadows from “Flight of the Conchords” and Eagle vs. Shark creators Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, which previously played at Sundance and South by SouthWest. First runner-up was Kevin Smith’s Tusk, starring Justin Long, which opens domestically on September 19, followed by Jalmeri (Rare Exports) Helander’s Big Game, starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Hajooj Kuka’s Beats of the Antonov won the People’s Choice Award for documentary, followed by David Thorpe’s Do I Sound Gay? and Ethan Hawke’s Seymour: An Introduction.

Furthermore, Oren Moverman’s third film as a director, Time Out of Mind, starring Richard Gere, received the coveted FIPRESCI award, handed out by a jury of international film critics for the past 23 years.