Chloe Zhao’s Venice Golden Lion winner NOMADLAND took home the Toronto International Film Festival’s People Choice Award on Sunday and now the film will be one to watch as the winner of this award is often looked at closely come Oscar season.
Regina King‘s ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI came in second and BEANS placed third in the slimmed-down competition at the festival. TIFF had about a sixth of the number of films in play than usual and this also means far fewer Oscar hopefuls aiming to get this prize. Despite the limited number of films, the selections shined particularly bright this year with many films standing out in the process.
Nomadland is inspired by Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book “Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century” and it dramatizes the experiences of a generation affected by the 2008 recession who can no longer afford either to retire or a permanent home. Starring Frances McDormand, the film has earned near-universal praise across the board with a current fresh rating of 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film has been steadily moving ahead as a true Oscar contender and this win definitely helps sustain that momentum.
The Toronto award is much sought after in the industry, as it counts a significant number of Oscar best picture awards and nominees among its recent winners, including GREEN BOOK (2018), ROOM (2015), and 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2013). NOMADLAND’s director Chloe Zhao is also the first woman to win the award since 2011 when Nadine Labaki’s WHERE DO WE GO NOW? took home the prize.
Regina King’s directorial debut, ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI, about the serendipitous meeting of four significant African American figures – Malcolm X, Jim Brown, Sam Cooke, and the then-Cassius Clay – after the latter’s 1964 bout with Sonny Liston, also maintains momentum by coming in the runner up position for the award. King has received raves for her first time behind the camera and the film currently sits with a stellar 98% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. It’s sure to be another film that we’ll be seeing come Oscar season.