You asked for it, you got it. More awards talk coming out of the Toronto International Film Festival.
Yet, while TIFF has become an annual launch pad for Oscar hopefuls, we’ve come up with fictional awards we’d love to bestow on the movies that struck a particular chord in us. We don’t have trophies. There won’t be any speeches. Just the knowledge that these films screening at TIFF ’13 went above and beyond to entertain us in unique ways. Isn’t that enough?
Without further ado, here are our choices for this year’s “winners” from the Toronto International Film Festival.
The Julia Child Award for Random Baking Instructions
The clear-cut winner in this culinary category goes to Jason Reitman’s Labor Day. Sure, the adaptation of Joyce Maynard’s novel might be about an escaped convict (Josh Brolin) who holds a mother (Kate Winslet) and her son (Gattlin Griffith) hostage for a long weekend. But that doesn’t mean it can’t find time for a lengthy scene informing audience members how to make a peach pie from scratch.
The “I Don’t Think They’re Acting Anymore” Award
This category was dominated by Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is the Warmest Color… particularly during the film’s graphic sex scenes between passionate lovers Léa Seydoux and Adèle Exarchopoulos. We had plenty of time to analyze these carnivorous trysts, because Kechiche’s scenes extend far beyond the conventional love scenes. And I’m fairly convinced that what might have started out as “simulated” sex eventually because actual sex between willing partners. Again and again and again.
The “Maybe You’re Typecast for a Reason?” Award
Paul Dano takes this year’s prize, for playing disturbing, despicable characters in both Denis Villeneuve’s Prisoners and Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Dano experimented with softer roles in For Ellen and Ruby Sparks, but the abnormal performer scoots right back to the murky morality of kidnappers and slave abusers on TIFF’s slate this year. This must be his creepy comfort zone, strange as that seems.
The “You’re Only Pretending to Be a Douche, Right?” Award
Maroon 5 frontman and The Voice judge Adam Levine makes his feature-film debut in John Carney’s winning musical drama Can a Song Save Your Life? And he’s incredibly convincing at playing a self-absorbed, superficial pop star who cheats on his girlfriend (Keira Knightley), grows a pensive beard, burns every personal bridge and then begs forgiveness when he grows lonely. Is Levine really acting? Did Carney cast the handsome singer solely so he could play a version of himself? We won’t know until Levine shows up in other films, but for Song, it works perfectly.
The "Is It OK to Breathe Yet?" Award
Gravity. We sure didn't know what to expect out of Alfonso Cuaron's groundbreaking film when we walked into the screening. Roughly 90 minutes later, we stumbled out, clutching our hearts and gasping for breath thanks to the roller-coaster sci-fi ride Gravity takes audiences on. There's still no way you'll get details out of me. But go see Gravity for yourselves the minute it opens... and hold on for dear life.
The Most Gif-Worthy Scene from TIFF
It has to go to Benedict Cumberbatch’s painfully awkward dance from Bill Condon’s The Fifth Estate. The brilliant ‘Batch is playing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in this biopic, and the sequence is famously pulled from this viral video of Assange letting his guard down and celebrating at a nightclub. That doesn’t make it any less bizarre… and absolutely GIF worthy.
The Festival's Most Memorable Quote
Easy. There are several outstanding lines you could pull from Tracy Letts’ scathing August: Osage County script. But based on the reaction to the film on Twitter following screenings, Julia Roberts screaming at Meryl Streep to “Eat your fish, bitch” seems like it’s going to stand the test of time and become one of those quotes film geeks are using for an eternity.
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