Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” a low-key drama starring Frances McDormand as a woman who loses her house and travels around the Western United States in a van, has won the People’s Choice Award at the 2020 Toronto International film Festival, TIFF organizers announced on Sunday.
The first runner-up for the award was “One Night in Miami,” the first feature to be directed by actress Regina King. The second runner-up was “Beans,” a coming-of-age story from indigenous Canadian director Tracey Deer.
The People’s Choice Award in the documentary section went to Michelle Latimer’s “Inconvenient Indian,” while the Midnight Madness winner was Roseanne Liang’s “Shadow in the Cloud.”
Over the last eight years in a row, and nine of the last 10 years, the TIFF People’s Choice winner has gone on to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, and has won three times: “The King’s Speech” in 2010, “12 Years a Slave” in 2013 and “Green Book” in 2018. This year’s festival was slimmed down significantly because of the coronavirus, with fewer big awards contenders on display — but Searchlight’s “Nomadland” won rave reviews and was the likeliest Oscar movie at the festival, so the TIFF streak has a very good chance of remaining intact.
The film also won the jury prize at the Venice International Film Festival, which began just before TIFF. It is the first time those two awards have ever gone to the same film.
In other TIFF awards, the Changemaker Award went to “Black Bodies” by Kelly-Fyffe Marshall, the Amplify Voices Award for the best Canadian film went to “Inconvenient Indian,” with a special mention to “Fauna”; and the Amplify Voices Award for non-Canadian films went to “The Disciple” and “Night of the Kings,” with a special mention to “Downstream to Kinasha.”
Among short films, the IMDb Pro Award for best short film went to “Dustin,” the award for best Canadian short went to “Benjamin, Benny, Ben” and the Share Her Journey Award for best short film by a woman went to “Sing Me a Lullaby,” with a special mention to “O Black Hole!”
Two independent juries at TIFF, one from the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI) and one from the Network for the Promotion of Asian Pacific Cinema (NETPAC) also announced prize winners. The FIPRESCI award went to the Georgian film “Beginning,” while the NETPAC prize went to “Gaza mon amour.”