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Twelve Years A Slave wins Audience Award at Toronto

12 Years A Slave

Story by Jack Foley

STEVE McQueen’s slave drama Twelve Years A Slave has taken the prestigious audience award at this year’s Toronto Film Festival.

The accolade underlines its credentials as an Oscar front-runner as several audience winners at Toronto have gone on to enjoy Academy Award success – most notably Slumdog Millionaire and last year’s winner Silver Linings Playbook.

The film tells the true story of Solomon Northup, a free Black man from upstate New York who was kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1841 and finally freed in 1853. It stars Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead role and reunites McQueen with Michael Fassbender.

UK audiences will have the chance to see it when it makes its UK debut at the forthcoming London Film Festival.

McQueen said in a statement following news of his award: “At a festival that has shown so many brilliant films, I cannot be more thrilled to receive this award. I am deeply grateful to all the people who have worked on this film, and that their amazing work has been recognized.”

The first runner-up in the People’s Choice Award competition was Stephen Frear’s Philomena (starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan), while the second runner-up was Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners, a child abduction thriller starring Hugh Jackman and Jake Gyllenhaal.

The People’s choice Midnight Madness award went to director Sion Sono’s Why Don’t You Play in Hell?, while the people’s choice documentary award went to Jehane Noujaim’s The Square, which looked at recent unrest in Cairo.

Other notable Toronto prizes saw Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida win the juried FIPRESCI Prize for best film in the festival’s Special Presentations program, while the FIPRESCI jury named Claudia Sainte-Luce’s The Amazing Catfish best film in the Discovery program.

All The Wrong Reasons, which starred the late Glee actor Cory Monteith, was announced as the winner of the Discovery award.

Next story: Woody Allen to get Cecil B DeMille award at Golden Globes