Steven Spielberg’s Fabelmans wins Toronto film festival audience award

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Steven Spielberg’s Fabelmans Wins Toronto Film Festival Audience Award Steven Spielberg’s Fabelmans Wins Toronto Film Festival Audience Award
Director Steven Spielberg attends the premiere of The Fabelmans at the Toronto International Film Festival, © AP/Press Association Images
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By Jake Coyle, AP Film Writer

Steven Spielberg’s autobiographical coming-of-age drama The Fabelmans has won the Toronto International Film Festival’s (TIFF) top prize, the People’s Choice Award, solidifying its early status as Academy Awards frontrunner.

Toronto’s audience award was announced on Sunday as the largest North American film festival wrapped up its 47th edition and first full-scale gathering in three years.

The return of crowds at TIFF brought the world premieres of a number of anticipated crowd pleasers, including the Viola Davis-led The Woman King, Rian Johnson’s Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery and Billy Eichner’s Bros.


Toronto’s audience award, voted for by festival filmgoers, is a much-watched harbinger of the coming awards season.

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Each of the last 10 years, the TIFF winner has gone on to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars — and often won it.

Last year, Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast triumphed at a much-diminished hybrid Toronto International Film Festival.

The year before that, Chloe Zhao’s Nomadland took TIFF’s award before winning at the Academy Awards.


Other past winners include 12 Years A Slave, La La Land and Green Book.

This year, no film came into the festival more anticipated than The Fabelmans, Spielberg’s memory-infused film about his childhood.

In the movie, which Universal Pictures will release on November 11, Michelle Williams and Paul Dano play the parents, with newcomer Gabriel LaBelle as teenage Spielberg, Sammy Fabelman.

The film scored rave reviews after its premiere.


Michelle Williams, pictured, and Paul Dano play the parents in the Universal Pictures film (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

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“This is the most personal film I’ve 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 read by festival director Cameron Bailey.

The first runner-up for the prize was Sarah Polley’s Women Talking, about the female members of a Mennonite colony gathered to discuss years of sexual abuse.

The second runner-up went to Johnson’s Glass Onion, the director’s whodunit sequel for Netflix.

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