"The King's Speech" won the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival. In past years the same prize went to two films that went on to win best picture at the Oscars ("Slumdog Millionaire," "American Beauty") and others that were nominated ("Precious," "Shine").
"The King's Speech" director Tom Hooper issued this statement that was read at the award ceremony: "I'm absolutely thrilled. The fact that the award is voted exclusively by audiences makes this award especially special. Holding the world premiere here was such a privilege. On behalf of all the cast and crew, I want to thank TIFF and the festival audience."
The film stars Colin Firth as Britain's reluctant King George VI, who struggled to overcome a stammering handicap while rallying his subjects to fight World War II. "The King's Speech" is a shoo-in to be nominated at the Oscars for best picture and could pose a serious threat to front-runner "The Social Network." Most Oscarologists believe Firth is ahead to win best actor, but close behind is James Franco ("127 Hours").
Below: the full list of winners of other festival awards this year. Underneath that, a list of past recipients of the festival's audience award dating back to 1996.
CADILLAC PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD
"The King's Speech" (directed by Tom Hooper)
Runner-up: "The First Grader" (directed by Justin Chadwick)
CADILLAC PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD FOR DOCUMENTARY
"Force of Nature: The David Suzuki Movie" (directed by Sturla Gunnarsson)
Runner-up: "Nostalgia For The Light" (directed by Patricio Guzmán)
CADILLAC PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD FOR MIDNIGHT MADNESS
"Stake Land" (directed by Jim Mickle)
Runner-up: "Fubar II" (directed by Michael Dowse)
CITY OF TORONTO AND ASTRAL MEDIA’S THE MOVIE NETWORK AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FEATURE FILM
"Incendies" (directed by Denis Villeneuve)
SKYY VODKA AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN FIRST FEATURE FILM
"The High Cost of Living" (directed by Deborah Chow)
PRIZES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRITICS (FIPRESCI PRIZE) FOR SPECIAL PRESENTATIONS SECTION
"L'Amour Fou" (directed by Pierre Thoretton)
PRIZES OF THE INTERNATIONAL CRITICS" (FIPRESCI PRIZE) FOR DISCOVERY SECTION
"Beautiful Boy" (directed by Shawn Ku)
AWARD FOR BEST CANADIAN SHORT FILM
"Les fleurs de l'âge" (Little Flowers)" (directed by Vincent Biron)
PAST WINNERS OF THE FESTIVAL'S AUDIENCE AWARD
2009 - "Precious"
2008 - "Slumdog Millionaire"
2007 - "Eastern Promises"
2006 - "Bella"
2005 - "Tsotsi"
2004 - "Hotel Rwanda"
2003 - "Zatôichi"
2002 - "Whale Rider"
2001 - "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain"
2000 - "Wo hu cang long"
1999 - "American Beauty"
1998 - "La vita è bella"
1997 - "The Hanging Garden"
1996 - "Shine"
Photo: Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter in "The King's Speech." Credit: Weinstein Co.