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Spielberg’s The Fabelmans wins Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award

Universal Pictures will release The Fabelmans on November 11 in New York and Los Angeles before releasing in other US theatres on November 23.

Spielberg’s The Fabelmans wins Toronto International Film Festival’s People’s Choice Award
Steven Spielberg/Twitter
  • Team OTTplay

Last Updated: 01.19 AM, Sep 19, 2022

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The autobiographical coming-of-age tale The Fabelmans, directed by Steven Spielberg, won the audience choice prize at the Toronto International Film Festival, greatly enhancing its chances throughout the awards season.

TIFF’s People’s Choice Award is one of the most reliable predictors of eventual Oscar success.

In past years, winners such as Green Book and Nomadland went on to capture the best picture prize at the Academy Awards.

Other recent recipients, including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, La La Land and Jojo Rabbit were best picture nominees and major forces during awards season. Five of the recipients over the past 20 years—out of the seven since the category's inception in 1978—won the best picture at the Oscars.

“As I said on stage the other night, ‘Above all, I’m glad I brought this film to Toronto!’ This is the most personal film I’ve ever made, and the warm reception from everyone in Toronto made my first visit to TIFF so intimate and personal for me and my entire Fabelman family,” Spielberg said in a statement.

“Thank you to Cameron Bailey and the incredible staff at TIFF; thank you to Universal Pictures, and a very special thank you to all the movie fans in Toronto who have made this past weekend one I’ll never forget.”

The Fabelmans, which stars Michelle Williams, Paul Dano, Seth Rogen and Gabriel LaBelle as Sam Fabelman, Spielberg’s screen surrogate, was enthusiastically embraced at its world premiere, where the film earned a roaring standing ovation.

At this year’s festival, the first runner-up for the audience award was Sarah Polley’s drama Women Talking, while the second-runner up was Rian Johnson’s whodunnit Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.

After two years of virtual premieres or screenings with a small audience, the Toronto Film Festival, which runs from September 8 through September 18, is back in full force. The final film of the 47th annual gathering of movie buffs was Mary Harron's Daliland, a biography of the late surrealist artist Salvador Dali.

Other high-profile films that premiered at TIFF include Viola Davis and director Gina Prince-Bythewood’s historical epic The Woman King, the Harry Styles-led romantic drama My Policeman and Billy Eichner’s romantic comedy Bros.

“2022 brought an exceptional selection of films that excited festival audiences around the world,” said TIFF’s executive director Cameron Bailey.

“Our lineup showcased beloved auteurs alongside fresh voices in filmmaking, including numerous women powerhouses. TIFF welcomed guests, press, industry, international stars, and directors back to the city and into cinemas. The sweeping range in cinematic storytelling from around the world is a testament to the uniqueness of the films that are being made. We’re so grateful and proud of this year’s festival.”

Universal Pictures will release The Fabelmans on November 11 in New York and Los Angeles before releasing it in other US theatres on November 23.

Early 8-millimetre camera experiments, family-produced short films, and progressively ambitious short films make up The Fabelmans. They all closely resemble Spielberg's own early attempts at filming, despite minor variances.

Spielberg grinned and continued, “I made all the behind-the-scenes stuff in this movie much better than the actual films I made when I was Sammy's age. It was a great second chance.”

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