The Oscars might not be a popularity contest just yet but the Toronto International Film Festival certainly is, and Peter Farrelly‘s Green Book has the votes. The road-trip drama took home the festival’s People’s Choice Award—voted on by TIFF attendees—giving the film a bit of buzzy momentum as the road to the Academy Awards rolls on. Barry Jenkins‘ romantic drama If Beale Street Could Talk was the runner-up.
Awards season is a fickle beast and there truly is no way to predict the turning of the tides, but TIFF’s People’s Choice Award has acted as a sign of things to come in the past. Nine of the past ten winners have gone on to at least be nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars—2011’s Where Do We Go Now? is the anomaly—with Slumdog Millionaire, The King’s Speech, and 12 Years A Slave going on to win the top prize. Last year’s TIFF People’s pick, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, took home Oscars for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor to go along with seven nominations.
It’s also worth noting that Green Book triumphed in Toronto over A Star Is Born, a film practically tailor-made for a People’s Choice win considering it’s toplined by bonafide superstar Lady Gaga, handsome-faced renaissance man Bradley Cooper, and an earworm-worthy soundtrack.
Green Book stars Viggo Mortensen as New York bouncer Tony Lip accompanying acclaimed jazz pianist Don Shirley (Oscar-winner Mahershala Ali) on a 1960’s deep South concert tour. Check out the trailer below.
Here is the official synopsis for Green Book:
Academy Award® nominee Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises, The Lord of the Rings trilogy) and Academy Award® winner Mahershala Ali (Moonlight, Hidden Figures) star in Participant Media and DreamWorks Pictures’ Green Book. In his foray into powerfully dramatic work as a feature director, Peter Farrelly helms the film inspired by a true friendship that transcended race, class and the 1962 Mason-Dixon line.
When Tony Lip (Mortensen), a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx, is hired to drive Dr. Don Shirley (Ali), a world-class Black pianist, on a concert tour from Manhattan to the Deep South, they must rely on “The Green Book” to guide them to the few establishments that were then safe for African-Americans. Confronted with racism, danger—as well as unexpected humanity and humor—they are forced to set aside differences to survive and thrive on the journey of a lifetime.