The People’s Choice Award from the just wrapped 2022 Toronto International Film Festival has gone to Steven Spielberg’s The Fabelmans. First Runner Up is Canada’s own Sarah Polley’s Women Talking. And Second Runner Up was Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery. The Documentary Award went to Black Ice, and the Midnight Madness winner was Weird: The Al Yankovich Story .
Voted online by audience members since 1978, and often considered a harbinger for the Best Picture Oscar, the TIFF People’s Choice Award has in the past been won by such eventual Best Picture Academy Award winners as Nomadland, Green Book, 12 Years A Slave, The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millinaire,American Beauty, and Chariots Of Fire. Among those that went on to Best Picture nominations include last year’s winner Belfast, as well as JoJo Rabbit, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Room, La La Land, The Imitation Game, Silver Linings Playbook, Precious, Life Is Beautiful, Places In The Heart, and The Big Chill.
With the closing of the first fully live Toronto fest in three years, impacted as everything else was by Covid in the recent past, this also represents the end of the Fall Festival Trifecta of Venice, Telluride, and Toronto that traditionally open the official six month awards season. With Venice awarding its Golden Lion unusually to a documentary, All The Beauty And The Bloodshed from director Laura Poitras, and now the People’s Choice Award from TIFF going to The Fabelmans the race is on and at this point appears wide open and perhaps heading into unpredictable territory. However this award, and the general feeling that Fabelmans emerged coming off its wildly enthusiastic TIFF premiere a week ago as the Oscar front runner, at least for now, means the film is in a very good early position for Universal and Spielberg’s most personal film yet. Time will tell. Festival director Cameron Bailey notified Spielberg very early this morning and he said was very grateful and again, as he said after the huge standing ovation at its premiere, that he was very glad they brought it to Toronto (what he noted was his first festival ever for one of his directed films). On to the New York Film Festival later this month, and then London.