Actor Bradley Cooper speaks during the press conference for the film "Silver Linings Playbook" during the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival in Toronto on September 9. "Silver Linings Playbook" has won a key boost in the race for Oscar glory. The feelgood romantic dramedy starring Bradley Cooper was named audience favourite at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Oscar boost for Silver Linings

Silver Linings Playbook has won a key boost in the race for Oscar glory.

TORONTO — Silver Linings Playbook has won a key boost in the race for Oscar glory.

The feel-good romantic dramedy starring Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence and Robert De Niro was named audience favourite at the Toronto International Film Festival.

It’s a coveted prize often seen as an indicator of awards show success and festival director Piers Handling predicted a celebrated run for the quirky feature, opening Nov. 21.

“It’s a deeply emotional story,” said Handling, noting it’s about two flawed people — played by Cooper and Lawrence — who come together to overcome their obstacles.

“De Niro and Jennifer Lawrence for sure will be up for Oscar nominations, as well as Bradley Cooper. For this film, I think they’ll get a number of nominations.”

Toronto audiences have proven to be savvy predictors of would-be smashes: past picks The King’s Speech, Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire and Slumdog Millionaire all went on to multiple Academy Award nominations and wins.

The best Canadian feature prize went to the gender-bending love story Laurence Anyways, directed by Xavier Dolan.

The 23-year-old Quebec phenom fought back tears as he accepted the $30,000 award, admitting that he had feared the film would “be forgotten.”

Instead, Dolan now follows in some big footsteps — the last two Quebec films that won TIFF’s top Canadian feature prize ended up being Canada’s submission to the Oscars.

Philippe Falardeau’s Monsieur Lazha was last year’s pick, while Denis Villeneuve’s “Incendies” got the nod in 2010. Both ended up among the final nominees for the best foreign-language film category.

Dolan said he didn’t want to dream about such prospects for Laurence Anyways, a stylish portrait of a transsexual man and his decade-long romance with a woman.

“It would be an audacious choice,” said Dolan, whose film opens in Toronto on Friday before heading to other English Canadian cities.

“Usually we have war movies, we have sociologically implicated movies…. I don’t want to dream about it. I don’t know what Canada’s choice will be. I would love for them to pick my movie but that’s all I have to say. There are serious contenders out there — ’War Witch’ and a lot of films could be chosen for Canada.”

The best debut Canadian feature prize went to two films: Brandon Cronenberg’s stylized feature Antiviral, and Jason Buxton’s dark drama Blackbird. Both directors also each won cash prizes of $15,000.

The low-key Cronenberg — son of Canadian film legend David Cronenberg — seemed at a loss for words when he took the stage to offer his thanks.

“I didn’t have a speech prepared, which was a huge mistake I realized,” Cronenberg said afterwards.

“This is a great boost for the film. We had a really wonderful welcoming reaction from the Toronto audiences and so it’s extremely exciting.”

Later, he joked that he had already signed his cheque over to producer Niv Fichman.

“This is like, the first instalment of a lot of money,” Cronenberg quipped.

The awards were handed out Sunday an annual brunch gala marking the end of the 11-day movie marathon, which included new films from Ben Affleck, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman, Paul Thomas Anderson and Terrence Malick.

Affleck’s political thriller Argo, opening Oct. 12, was a close second in the people’s choice vote, said Handling.

He predicted multiple Oscar nods for Affleck, who both stars and directs the film about a secret CIA mission to extract six U.S. citizens from Iran during the 1979 hostage crisis.

“Ben Affleck hit a home run, I think, with this film — the Toronto audiences gave it standing ovations, they embraced it, they loved it, he’s fantastic in the film, he gives a wonderful, wonderful performance, so I think there’ll be all kinds of nominations for him,” said Handling.

Others he predicted on the way to acting kudos include Julianne Moore in What Maisie Knew, Elle Fanning in “Ginger and Rosa,” Jake Gyllenhaal in End of Watch and Joaquin Phoenix in The Master.

“It’s a strong year in terms of actors. It always is and I think it’ll be very interesting to see what the Academy, and I guess what the Golden Globes also, nominates.”

Just Posted

Red Deer GoodLife no longer installing pool

Red Deer GoodLife Fitness members itching to swim will need to find… Continue reading

Hwy 2 detour Friday

Traffic detoured between Gaetz Avenue and Taylor Drive

Red Deer students are fighting subtle discrimination to help build a culture of tolerance

‘Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination’ marked at local high school

Updated: Man posing as U.S. Marine sentenced

Peter Toth pleaded guilty to unlawfully possessing military decorations and documents

WATCH: Red Deerians can have a say about crime fighting

Municipality will poll citizens about policing priorities

Facebook crisis-management lesson: What not to do

NEW YORK — The crisis-management playbook is pretty simple: Get ahead of… Continue reading

Calgary remains interested in 2026 bid, but awaits word from feds, province

Calgary city council approved a slate of moves towards a possible bid… Continue reading

Online threat to U.S. high school traced to girl, 14, in Canada, police say

American authorities say a 14-year-old girl in Canada has been charged with… Continue reading

Comedian Mike MacDonald remembered for gut-busting mental health advocacy

If laughter is the best medicine, then standup veteran Mike MacDonald was… Continue reading

The Weeknd, Bruno Mars to headline Lollapalooza in Chicago

CHICAGO — The Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys will… Continue reading

No rest for the retired: Opioid crisis fills empty nests as grandparents step up

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — She is a Newfoundland woman who worked hard… Continue reading

Duclos defends gender-neutral language amid criticism from opposition

MONTREAL — Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos defended Service Canada’s decision to ask… Continue reading

Lawyer and negotiator: Thomas Molloy is new Saskatchewan lieutenant-governor

REGINA — Lawyer and negotiator Thomas Molloy has been sworn in as… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month