After dominating a lot of the on-the-ground chatter at the Telluride Film Festival and then transitioning to the Toronto fest with a headwind, The Weinstein Company's Alan Turing biopic “The Imitation Game” has won Toronto's coveted People's Choice Award.
Previous winners of the prize have included “12 Years a Slave,” “Silver Linings Playbook,” “The King's Speech,” “Precious,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “American Beauty.” So it goes without saying: it can be a pretty significant Oscar bellwether. We've been telling you since it premiered in Colorado that it was a strong player in the game and here we are.
Other films that seemed to have an angle on the prize this year, given reactions to the many films in play, included “The Theory of Everything” and “The Last 5 Years.” But “The Imitation Game” is a thoroughbred like “Argo,” like “The King's Speech.” It's a film that a lot of people can agree on, and as we say year after year around here, that's the kind of film that can go far in an awards season. At the end of the day, the game of Oscar is getting 6,000 people to more or less agree on something. “The Imitation Game” is – say with me – generally agreeable.
More than that, though, it's a genuinely great movie with a fantastic performance from Benedict Cumberbatch leading the way. It's set up in Weinstein's successful Thanksgiving week release corridor (“Silver Linings Playbook,” “The Artist,” “The King's Speech”) and it's pretty much primed and ready for the season.
For more on “The Imitation Game,” check out our extended chat with writer and executive producer Graham Moore here or our video interview with Cumberbatch at the top of this post.
“The Imitation Game” hits theaters Nov. 21.