Steven Spielberg’s new film The Fabelmans has won the Toronto international film festival’s People’s Choice award, long regarded in the film industry as a key indicator of awards success over the next few months.
The Fabelmans, directed by Spielberg and co-written with Angels in America playwright Tony Kushner, has been hailed as Spielberg’s most autobiographical film and has won generally admiring reviews. The story of a teenage boy coping with his parents’ disintegrating marriage in the 60s midwest, the Guardian described it as a “rare insight into the world’s most famous director who has usually kept us at arm’s length”.
Recent winners of the award include the Kenneth Branagh-directed Belfast, and best picture Oscar winners Nomadland and Green Book. Spielberg, whose films rarely play in the competitive sections of film festivals, professed himself delighted to win the award, which is voted on by Toronto’s audience members. He said: “This is the most personal film I’ve ever made, and the warm reception from everyone in Toronto made my first visit to [the Toronto film festival] so intimate and personal … and a very special thank you to all the movie fans in Toronto who have made this past weekend one I’ll never forget.”
Women Talking, directed by Sarah Polley and adapted from the novel by Miriam Toews inspired by real-life rape and abuse in a Mennonite religious community, was awarded the second prize, while the Rian Johnson-directed whodunnit sequel Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, was third.
Among Toronto’s other awards, best documentary went to Black Ice, a study of racism in Canadian ice hockey, and the Midnight Madness People’s Choice to Weird: The Al Yankovic Story, a biopic of the eccentric musician starring Daniel Radcliffe.