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This year's Toronto International Film Festival may have been a star-studded affair, but smaller, international entries got all the glory...
The Lebanese flick Where Do We Go Now?, directed by Nadine Labaki, bested big-gun contenders like George Clooney's Ides of March and Brad Pitt's Moneyball to win the Cadillac People's Choice Award. With the all the Hollywood turnout, this win was a surprise to industry insiders since the award is usually a portent of what's to come at the Oscars. (Past recipients have included The King's Speech, Precious, and Slumdog Millionaire.) How the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts & Sciences will receive a genre-bending, Middle Eastern musical remains to be seen. But Labaki's tale of Christian and Muslim women coming together to keep the peace in their small town is both lyrical and moving -- two qualities that tend to surpass mere audience appeal when it comes to Oscar consideration.
Another favorite at the fest was the Indonesian martial arts flick The Raid, directed by Gareth Evans, winner of the People's Choice Award in the eclectic Midnight Madness category. The festival also honored its own with the SKYY Vodka Award for Best Canadian First Feature Film going to Nathan Morlando's gripping docudrama Edwin Boyd, which tells the story of the notorious Toronto bank robber of the 1940s and 1950s. Ian Harine took home the prize for Best Canadian Short Film for his heartfelt tale of of a Trinidadian family's struggles in Doubles With Slight Pepper.American flicks weren't completely snubbed, however. Island President snagged the Cadillac People's Choice Award, a category in the past that has been dominated by foreign films (or "domestic," if you're a Canuck). But the film is not without its global flair. Director John Shenk chronicles the rise of the charismatic president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, and his journey from former prison inmate to influential international player.Here's the full list of winners:
Cadillac People's Choice Award:
Where Do We Go Now?, directed by Nadine Labaki
Cadillac People's Choice Award For Documentary: Island President, directed by Jon Shenk
Cadillac People's Choice Award For Midnight Madness:
The Raid, directed by Gareth Huw Evans
City of Toronto and Astral Media's The Movie Network Award Award For Best Canadian Feature Film: Monsieur Lazhar, directed by Philippe Falardeau
SKYY Vodka Award For Best Canadian First Feature Film: Edwin Boyd, directed by Nathan Morlando
Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Special Presentations Section: The First Man, directed by Gianni Amelio
Prizes of the International Critics (FIPRESCI Prize) for Discovery Section: Avalon, directed by Axel Petersén
Award For Best Canadian Short Film: Doubles With Slight Pepper, directed by Ian Harnarine
Want more TIFF 2011 AMC News videos? Check out these additional clips:
• Brad Pitt admits Moneyball appealed to his values
• Jonah Hill calls the Moneyball premiere the "best night of [my] life"
• Ryan Gosling calls Drive a "violent John Hughes movie"
• Jacob Soboroff's gives a rundown of the stars at this year's fest