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La La Land wins Audience Award at Toronto Film Festival

La La Land

Story by Jack Foley

DAMIEN Chazelle’s La La Land has won the coveted People’s Choice award at the Toronto Film Festival.

The follow-up to the writer-director’s Oscar-winning Whiplash, La La Land stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone as a couple of Hollywood strivers who fall in love. It’s designed as an homage to the classic musicals of days gone by.

The People’s Choice award at Toronto is often a barometer of future Academy Award nominations, which means that La La Land now looks poised to follow in the footsteps of Whiplash. It has had critics raving.

Previous TIFF audience award winners like 12 Years a Slave, Slumdog Millionaire and the Brie Larson-starrer Room last year rode a wave out of Toronto to Oscars glory after earning the People’s Choice award.

In other awards, the first runner-up for the top audience award was the Dev Patel-starrer Lion, directed by Garth Davis and which debuted in Toronto to considerable acclaim. The film is another that has already been mentioned as part of the forthcoming awards season conversation.

The second runner-up was Mira Nair’s Queen Of Katwe.

The People’s Choice award for best Midnight Madness sidebar title went to Ben Wheatley’s Free Fire, which stars Brie Larson and Cillian Murphy.

The first runner-up was André Øvredal’s The Autopsy of Jane Doe, while the second runner-up was Julia Ducournau’s cannibal horror Raw, which left some audience members requiring ambulance attention.

The top audience award for a documentary went to Raoul Peck for I Am Not Your Negro, which is based on an unfinished James Baldwin novel. The first runner-up prize went to Steve James’ ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail, while the second-runner up was Fisher Stevens’ Before The Flood.

Elsewhere, the Platform award for best international film was picked up by Jackie, by Pablo Larrain and starring a now Oscar-tipped Natalie Portman. The film offers a raw, intimate portrait of Jackie Kennedy in the days immediately after the assassination of her husband, John.

The NETPAC award for the best Asian film receiving a world or international premiere in Toronto was given to Maysaloun Hamoud’s In Between, an Arabic and Israeli language film about three Palestinian women living in Tel Aviv.