As I’m sure you’re all aware by now, Lenny Abrahamson‘s “Room” with Brie Larson won the prestigious People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival earlier today. The A24 distributed film beat out some big competition including Tom McCarthy’s “Spotlight” and John Crowley’s “Brooklyn,” all of which were heavily loved at the Canadian festival.
Why is this such a big deal? Six out of the last seven winners of the People’s Choice Award have gone on to be nominated and/or win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Past winners have included Morten Tyldum’s “The Imitation Game,” Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” David O. Russell’s “Silver Linings Playbook,” Nadine Labaki’s “Where Do We Go Now?,” Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech,” Lee Daniels’ “Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire,” and Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire.”
“Room,” which originally premiered at the Telluride Film Festival over the Labor Day weekend, started off with strong word for Brie Larson’s powerful performance but at the time, didn’t seem like much of a player in other categories. This goes to show how one festival alone cannot determine a film’s reception with all audiences. With now Brie Larson likely jumping in the ranks of the hotly competitive Best Actress race, the film is now in play for categories like Picture and Adapted Screenplay. They’re also vocal admirers for the performance of young Jacob Tremblay, who might be in the hunt depending on his category placement. There’s also three-time Oscar nominee Joan Allen on the table, who’s said to deliver in her limited screen time.
A24 Films must be feeling pretty excited at the moment. Last year, they missed out on several possible Oscar nominations for a strong slate of films that included J.C. Chandor’s “A Most Violent Year,” despite a very high-profile win from the National Board of Review. This year, they’ll be looking to come back with a vengeance. A24 will be throwing money behind James Ponsoldt’s “The End of the Tour” for Jason Segel and the screenplay. The documentary “Amy” was a big moneymaker and will surely be in the conversation for Documentary Feature, should it make the bakeoff. Alex Garland’s “Ex Machina” is still very much loved in some circles and perhaps its in the hunt for some techs, its screenplay, and Oscar Isaac in Supporting Actor. They’ll also be handling John Maclean’s “Slow West” and Noah Baumbach’s “While We’re Young,” although those seem like long shots at best.
“Room” opens in theaters on October 16 in limited release before going wide on November 6.
Check out the latest Oscar Predictions (updated 9/20/15 before the announcement) and see where “Room” ranks!
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