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Toronto Audience Award Cements American Fiction Oscar Contender Status – The Hollywood Reporter

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Anybody who was inside Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre on Friday, Sept. 8, for the world premiere of American Fiction — an Amazon/MGM movie that got here into the pageant with nearly no profile — may really feel it: Twine Jefferson’s satire about American racial dynamics was clicking on all ranges. Viewers members have been howling with laughter, choking again tears and utterly riveted from begin to end. It was all sufficient to immediate Amazon/MGM to encourage Jefferson, who had left Toronto after the movie’s first screening, to come back again to city for subsequent screenings. He did.

And now, 9 days after the movie’s unveiling, TIFF attendees have chosen it because the winner of the pageant’s Viewers Award, cementing its standing as one among this season’s top-tier Oscar contenders.

As I famous in an evaluation that posted yesterday (by which I predicted that American Fiction would take dwelling this prize), this was my seventeenth yr overlaying TIFF. Over the 16 prior festivals, 14 TIFF viewers award winners (all however 2007’s Japanese Guarantees and 2011’s The place Do We Go Now?) went on to nominations for the perfect image Oscar. And 5 of them — Slumdog Millionaire (2008), The King’s Speech (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2013), Inexperienced E book (2018) and Nomadland (2020) — took dwelling that final prize.

It’s laborious to say why TIFF attendees and Academy members have a tendency to answer movies equally. I suppose it may be a matter of demographics — Toronto is crammed with folks from all world wide, as is the Academy, and the typical TIFF attendee’s age, academic background and stage of affluence may nicely mirror these of Academy members. Regardless of the cause(s), that observe report of the viewers award presaging Academy recognition is undeniably lengthy and spectacular.

I believe that it is going to be additional confirmed by the trajectory of American Fiction, a movie that’s sensible, humorous and has one thing to say in regards to the world — identical to latest finest image Oscar winners Parasite and Every part In every single place All at As soon as. (By the way, had both of these titles had their world premiere at TIFF, versus screening first at Cannes and SXSW, respectively, I’d wager quite a bit that TIFF audiences would have chosen them over the movies that they as an alternative gave their viewers award to, Jojo Rabbit and The Fabelmans, respectively.)

At this level, I believe that Amazon/MGM is reevaluating its awards priorities. Heading into the autumn fests, it appeared as in the event that they thought that Emerald Fennell’s Saltburn was their most promising contender, however that movie — which I noticed at Telluride and occurred to love quite a bit — has confirmed to be relatively polarizing, whereas nearly everybody I do know who has seen American Fiction at the very least appreciated it.

Now, I’d anticipate the marketing campaign engines to rev up for not solely American Fiction for finest image but in addition Jefferson for finest director and finest tailored screenplay, Jeffrey Wright for finest actor, Sterling Ok. Brown for finest supporting actor and Erika Alexander — in addition to, maybe, Issa Rae, Tracee Ellis Ross and Leslie Uggams — for finest supporting actress. (Speak about an enormous and extremely likable solid — a finest ensemble SAG Award nomination needs to be on the want checklist, too.)

Most significantly, each Academy member who wasn’t in Toronto — as in, the overwhelming majority of them — however who pays consideration to the information, will now be itching to see American Fiction. Maybe that’s the true worth of the TIFF viewers award and clarification for its longstanding observe report of foretelling finest image Oscar nominations: Academy members, like different moviegoers, are merely on the lookout for a advice. And it is a large one.

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