The Audience Award at Toronto goes to…Where Do We Go Now?

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Yes indeed, over at the Toronto Film Festival the audience award has been announced, something I always look forward to learning about each year.  The expectation was that the winner would be one of the many Oscar hopefuls playing to acclaim and that this boost would fuel it going into the soon approaching precursor season (previous winners include Slumdog Millionaire and most recently The King’s Speech).  Well, things didn’t exactly turn out that way at all, as you can see here from The Hollywood Reporter:

-Attendees of the Toronto International Film Festival have voted to award the 2011 Cadillac People’s Choice Award, the festival’s highest honor, to Nadine Labaki‘s Where Do We Go Now?, a Lebanese drama, that premiered at the Cannes Film Festival back in May, and is still seeking domestic distribution.

Where Do We Go Now? prevailed over a number of other popular options including Jonathan Levine‘s 50/50Michel Hazanavicius‘s The ArtistJim Field Smith‘s ButterAlexander Payne‘s The DescendantsNicolas Winding Refn‘s DriveJennifer Westfeldt‘s Friends with KidsLuc Besson‘s The LadyBennett Miller‘s MoneyballDee Rees‘s PariahOren Moverman‘s RampartSteve McQueen‘s Shame, and Jeff Nichols‘sTake Shelter.

I’m not going to lie, I’m very surprised by this.  Granted, I wasn’t expecting something like Shame to take the prize, but I had thought that The Artist was easily the favorite, with something like 50/50 or The Descendants also being well in play, with even Take Shelter waiting in the wings.  So much for that…

Thoughts?