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Silver Linings Playbook wins the People’s Choice Award at TIFF (despite the lame name)

TIFF differs from Cannes and Venice in that it’s not in a glamorous European city its major awards are chosen by audiences rather than by a jury. So, while critics and industry types raved about Argo, it was David O. Russell’s romantic comedy-drama Silver Linings Playbook that took home the BlackBerry People’s Choice Award—plus $15,000, which we imagine the celebrated director doesn’t exactly need, but will certainly appreciate. Ben Affleck will have to content himself with runner-up status (according to Roger Ebert, Oscar season will likely ease Affleck’s pain). Finally, Eran Riklis’s Zaytoun was second runner-up as crowd favourite. Here are the rest of the awards handed out this year at TIFF, and the films that won them:

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TIFF Talk

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TIFF Roundup: what the stars had to say about Toronto, its fest—and its hot dogs

While in Toronto, Bill Murray weighed in on the city’s hot dogs (Image: Eric Charbonneau/WireImage/Getty Images)

Now that the red carpets, press conferences and, of course, parties have all wrapped up, it’s time to take stock of how things went down at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival. And what better way to start than to see what kind of impression the festival made on the various visitors who flooded the streets of King West for 10 days? Below, some of our favourite reactions to TIFF, Toronto and its hotdogs.

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TIFF Oscar Scorecard: what this year’s fest tells us about next year’s Academy Awards

It’s still far too early for Oscar pools, but now that the big TIFF movies have screened, it’s high time to get in on the nomination prediction game. Festival buzz, of course, is often the most reliable forecast for Academy Award nominations: Monsieur Lazhar, Slumdog Millionaire and American Beauty are just a few of the films that made a big impression in Toronto before going on to collect Oscar gold. We break down which of the fest’s buzziest films seem bound for a nod come January.

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TIFF PHOTO GALLERY: Adam Brody, Greta Gerwig and Analeigh Tipton join Whit Stillman at the red carpet for Damsels in Distress

Adam Brody, Greta Gerwig, Analeigh Tipton and Carrie MacLemore on the red carpet for Whit Stillman’s new film (Image: Lia Grainger)

The wind whipping down Yonge Street yesterday afternoon wreaked havoc on the hemlines of the Damsels in Distress ladies, in the most delightful way. Carrie MacLemore was the first to arrive, her flouncy grey knee-length frock bouncing in the breeze, and seemed quite tickled to be walking the carpet for her feature film debut. Mumblecore queen Greta Gerwig strolled by in black and didn’t pose for a single solo shot (earning a few enemies in the photo pit) while a very slender Analeigh Tipton playfully blew kisses at the cameras in a long, sheer number. Adam Brody cut a dashing figure in a skinny black suit with a matching tie and curls, and the man of the hour, director Whit Stillman—this is his first film since The Last Days of Disco in 1998—played down the buzz by posing only briefly for a group photo. But if anything says a film is one to watch, it’s the arrival of Roger Ebert and his wife Chaz at the premiere. Ebert, who has undergone many serious surgeries for thyroid cancer over the past decade, seemed in good spirits, smiling for photographers, who for once didn’t yell for eye contact, but rather whispered hushed thank-yous to the legendary critic.

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SPOTTED: Roger Ebert down by the Ritz

Looks like the fun is over for actors and filmmakers already—everyone’s favourite professional dream-crusher critic Roger Ebert was just spotted by Metro Morning’s Matt Galloway near the Ritz-Carlton (Galloway offered him a characteristically polite, “Welcome back to T.O., sir” on Twitter). Thin-skinned stars can now stay clear.

Find this story on our Star Spotting Map, where we plot the locations of celebrities spotted around Toronto.

TIFF Talk

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Roger Ebert is in the building: five reasons we’re happy to have the world’s best-known film critic in town

Roger Ebert with his wife Chaz at the George Christy luncheon at last year’s TIFF (Image: George Pimentel/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

We’d feign resistance to making this terrible pun, but there’s really no way around it, so here it goes: Roger Ebert touched town in Canada last night to grace Toronto with his presence, effectively giving TIFF two thumbs up. At 69, Ebert has been attending the festival since its inception and his opinion has only become more respected throughout the film world over the years. After the jump, a few reasons why we’re so happy to have him in town.

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The Informer

People

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Canadian comedian Leslie Nielsen dies at age 84

Nielsen with his wife, Barbaree Earl Nielsen, in 2009 (Image: Noel Vasquez/WireImage/Getty Images)

Canadian actor Leslie Nielsen died yesterday afternoon at the age of 84 in a Florida hospital due to complications from pneumonia. Nielsen, who is perhaps best known for his roles in Airplane! and The Naked Gun, was born in Regina (his father was a Mountie) and moved to Hollywood in the ’50s. Of his earlier career, Nielsen once remarked, “I played a lot of leaders, autocratic sorts; perhaps it was my Canadian accent.” Roger Ebert has posted a terrific piece on the Chicago Sun-Times’ Web site about Nielsen’s career, which includes four clips of highlights from The Naked Gun, Airplane!, Forbidden Planet and his unsuccessful screen test for Ben Hur. Take a look at them here.

Leslie Nielsen, Actor, Dies at 84 [New York Times]
Actor Leslie Nielsen dead at 84 [Globe and Mail]
Leslie Nielsen, RIP. “And don’t call me Shirley” [Roger Ebert's Journal]

The Informer

Politics

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Roger Ebert decidedly underwhelmed by Toronto’s election of Rob Ford

(Image: Will Perkins)

The city of Toronto holds a special place in Roger Ebert’s heart. We saw that during this year’s TIFF, when the critic’s Twitter stream was filled with mash notes to the city. It’s also the city where he joined AA and began his journey to sobriety. The election of Rob Ford seems to have hit Ebert a little hard. From his Twitter stream on Wednesday, in the aftermath of the American midterm elections:

Meanwhile, Toronto elects a mayor who doesn’t believe in public transit, arts funding, environment or homosexuality. Toronto?

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The Informer

Culture

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David Cronenberg launches Bell Lightbox public programming on Thursday

Cronenberg will be at the Lightbox for two screenings (Image: TIFF)

The film festival may be over, but the action at TIFF’s new home, the Bell Lightbox, has just started. This Thursday and Friday, Toronto’s movie buffs get a two-for-one deal: meet legendary Canadian filmmaker David Cronenberg and see inside the ‘box.

Cronenberg will introduce his film Videodrome both days as a kickoff to the Lightbox’s regular public programming. (Tickets are $18.75 at tiff.net.) The building has already been well received by film nerds. On his blog, Roger Ebert, who was in town for the festival, commented, “The Bell Lightbox is superb. No other word for it.”

TIFF Talk

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Casey Affleck admits I’m Still Here is fake, Joaquin Phoenix is an actor after all

Casey Affleck has finally given into the public’s badgering and admitted that I’m Still Here, his Joaquin Phoenix documentary that showed at TIFF, is a sham, albeit a “terrific performance.” In an interview with the New York Times this morning, Affleck claimed he “never intended to trick anybody” and “the idea of a quote, hoax, unquote, never entered my mind.” But even David Letterman wasn’t in on the joke when Phoenix famously appeared on his show last year. The film has received dreadful reviews from Roger Ebert and several others, so we wonder whether Affleck is trying to drum up positive press for Phoenix’s acting skills.

Joaquin Phoenix doc was fake: Affleck [Toronto Star]

TIFF Talk

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Guests ogle Anthony Hopkins at the George Christy luncheon

Anthony Hopkins was the talk of the luncheon (Image: George Pimentel/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

The luncheon and reception at the Four Seasons hosted by famed Hollywood columnist George Christy is always one of the hottest TIFF tickets. At Saturday’s reception, mega-stars mingled with the genteel set—including Galen and Hilary Weston, Kim Newport-Mimran and Joe Mimran (looking regal in plush blue and gold slippers) and Ben Mulroney—in the Avenue Bar before proceeding to a sumptuous lunch upstairs.

Anthony Hopkins, in town to promote his film, the Woody Allen-directed You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger, had the ladies a-twitter (“He looks so good. How old is he?”) and brought the inevitable fava bean and chianti jokes as he offered one-word answers to our questions. Yes, he does like Toronto, and yes, it was good working with Allen. Roger Ebert chatted with Norman Jewison and took pictures of actor Dominic Cooper. As hotel staffers tried to wrap the party and usher guests out, they were stopped by one who insisted, “It’s George’s decision. Let it go on as long as he likes.”

Star graphic

= Find this story on our Celebrity Sightings Map, where we plot the locations of stars spotted throughout Toronto

TIFF Talk

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Today at TIFF: Roger Ebert Twitter showdown, Hello! party, Vanity Fair party, OneXOne fundraiser

Our daily roundup of opening galas, parties and screenings.

• 12:00 p.m. George Christy Luncheon at Avenue Bar and Print Room (Four Seasons Hotel)
• 1:30 p.m. Little White Lies world premiere gala at Roy Thomson Hall
• 2 p.m. The Whistleblower world premiere at Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 3 p.m. Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie world premiere at Ryerson Theatre
• 3 p.m. Conviction world premiere at Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 4 p.m. Roger Ebert Twitter showdown at the Hyatt Regency
• 6 p.m. Made in Dagenham world premiere at Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 6:30 p.m. The Conspirator world premiere gala at Roy Thomson Hall
• 6:30 p.m. Artists for Peace and Justice Fundraiser at Pears on the Avenue
• 7 p.m. HELLO! Magazine Film Festival Cocktail Party at Royal Conservatory Telus Centre for Performance and Learning
• 7 p.m. ReelWorld Film Festival Indie Film Lounge Reception at Empire Lounge
• 9 p.m. Beginners world premiere at Visa Screening Room (Elgin)
• 9 p.m. It’s Kind of a Funny Story world premiere at Ryerson Theatre
• 9 p.m. Vanity Fair Party at Thompson Hotel
• 9:30 p.m. The Town North American premiere gala at Roy Thomson Hall
• 10 p.m. Forest Park hosted by Hayden Christensen at Ultra
Dipdive Nights featuring Will.i.am at Festival Central (148 Cumberland St.)
OneXOne fundraiser at Bisha
Late Night It’s Kind of a Funny Story after-party at Brassaii
• 11:59 p.m. Bunraku world premiere at Ryerson Theatre

TIFF Talk

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Fight! Roger Ebert takes on Rainn Wilson in a tweet-off moderated by Dan Levy

Our money's on Ebert

Roger Ebert seems to love getting into fights at TIFF. Two years ago, at the Slumdog Millionaire screening, he got whacked in the head with a notebook by New York Post critic Lou Lumenick after he tapped Lumenick on the shoulder to get him to move his head (Ebert’s thyroid cancer prevented him from speaking). Tomorrow, Ebert is participating in another throwdown, this time in a test of opposable thumb speed and 140-character creativity. Ebert will compete with Rainn Wilson, director James Gunn, Movie City News’ David Poland, Onion AV critic Scott Tobias and two other social network fiends in a tweet-off, with the subject being the state of the film industry. The After Show’s Dan Levy is set to moderate the Twitter-style debate.

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The Informer

Features

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From the Archives: a look back on TIFF’s most memorable moments

Oh, Snap
This month, the Toronto International Film Festival celebrates its 35th year with a glossy new home in the Bell Lightbox. Much has changed since the inaugural year, when Hollywood studios turned up their noses at the fledging fest. Then again, much hasn’t. It’s still two weeks of celebrities and fans behaving badly. Here, a look back on TIFF’s most memorable moments, from the coke-fuelled ’70s to the paparazzi-riddled oughties.

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TIFF Talk

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The Big Chill, Water, Fly Away Home and more: we rate TIFF’s best and worst opening night films

Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany at the premiere of Creation in 2009 (Image: James Helmer)

This year, the Toronto International Film Festival will open with the homegrown Score: A Hockey Musical, which stars Olivia Newton-John and boasts a bunch of cameos from our countrymen (Nelly Furtado, George Stroumboulopoulos). We’re waiting to see if the film will be corny-awesome or corny-awful. In the meantime, we’ve gathered the most spectacular opening night failures and successes in TIFF history to see how they fared after the festival. Begin the slide show now >>

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