TIFF 2012: Festival Scorecard and 'Best of the Fest'

Silver Linings Playbook wins the Cadillac People's Choice Award

Eleven days and thirty-four films later, the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival has come to a close. A big thanks goes out to all the programmers, staff, and volunteers for putting on the best edition of the festival I’ve seen so far. Thanks also to all the friends – new and old – who joined me for movies this year. The only thing better than seeing so many great films is chatting about all the goodies I missed. One of the best things about TIFF is that the festival is so large that one can see 3-4 films per day and still have lots to look forward to in the upcoming months. The size of the festival might now be one of its only shortcomings, though, for it’s impossible to see everything and it’s even harder to gain much consensus since so many people see so many films. I sometimes found it frustrating when I would hear good word on a film, but only after it has quickly come and gone. Cough, cough, Silver Linings Playbook, which won the Cadillac People Choice Award. (Festival award winners can be found here.) On the other hand, it really is nice to know we’re in for some exciting months ahead.

The offerings at TIFF were strong this year. I enjoyed most of the films I saw. Save for one, they all had something to offer. (And the festival’s clunker provided some of the most entertaining film debates I’ve had in a while.) From Joe Wright’s gorgeously highbrow Anna Karenina to Lee Daniels’ wife-beater The Paperboy, I enjoyed my line-up thoroughly. I had a difficult time whittling down my top picks for the festival, both for films and for performances. I could easily take my picks for ‘best of the fest’ and slap in We Are Wisconsin and The Imposter, and be content with posting my top ten for 2012 today. There are nevertheless three and a half months left until we ring in the New Year, so I’ll make do with a simple best of the fest for now. Without further ado, my pick for the best film at TIFF this year (by a mile) is…

Anna Karenina (Joe Wright, UK)

Runner-up: Quartet (Dustin Hoffman, UK)

It’s hard for me to narrow down the list of best performances. I could list at least seven for Best Actress alone; eight depending on where you Helen Hunt. To keep it brief, though, I’ll name Keira Knightley’s stunning turn as Anna Karenina as the standout and give my top picks in each category in alphabeltical order:
Keira Knightley in Anna Karenina
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, Rust &amp Bone; Keira Knightley, Anna Karenina;  Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha Maggie Smith, Quartet; Mary Elizabeth Winstead; Smashed,
Best Actor: Tom Courtenay, Quartet; John Hawkes, The Sessions
Best Supporting Actress: Seema Biswas, Midnight's Children; Pauline Collins, Quartet; Helen Hunt, The Sessions; Nicole Kidman, The Paperboy
Best Supporting Actor: Billy Connolly, Quartet; Jude LawMatthew MacFadyen, Anna Karenina)
Best Performance in a Canadian Film: Evelyne Brochu, Inch’Allah (runner-up: Seema Biswas, Midnight’s Children)

Other kudos:
Best Canadian Feature: Midnight’s Children (Dir. Deepa Mehta)
Best Short: Frost (Dir. Jeremy Ball)
Best Adapted Screenplay:  
Tom Stoppard, Anna Karenina (runner-up: Ronald Harwood, Quartet)
Best Original Screenplay: 
 Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha (runner-up: Michelle Morgan, Imogene)
Best Cinematography: 
Seamus McGarvey, Anna Karenina (runner-up: Emmanuel Lubezki, To the Wonder)
Best Score: 
Dario Marianelli, Anna Karenina (Runner-up: Nitin Sawhney, Midnight’s Children
Best use of Katy Perry:
"Fireworks", Rust & Bone
Best Line that I want to make part of everyday speech: 
"Ahoy, sexy!", Frances Ha
Most Debatable Film:
To the Wonder (runner-up: Passion) 
Best 'Peeing on Zac Efron' Moment:
The Paperboy 
The Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close Award for Most Ham-Fisted Use of 9/11:
The Reluctant Fundamentalist  
Worst Film:  
Best Q&A:
Margarethe von Trotta, Pamela Katz, Barbara Sukowa, Hannah Arendt
Best onstage cocktail:
Jude Law, Anna Karenina
Jude Law with a mojito at the Visa Screening Room. (Take that, Cannes!)
 Best Overall Celebrity Moment:
Marion Cotillard translates for Jacques Audiard and then claps at Rust & Bone:

And here is a list of all films reviewed at TIFF this year with their star ratings. 
Films are rated out of five and are list in order in which they screened. All titles link to reviews.

American Beauty Live Read (not starred)
Rust & Bone ★★★★½
On the Road ★★½
Anna Karenina
What Maisie Knew ★★★★
Frances Ha ★★★★½
Imogene ★★★★
Inch'Allah ★★★★
Thanks for Sharing ★★★½
Something in the Air ★★★★
Midnight's Children ★★★★½
Writers ★★½
To the Wonder ★★★
Byzantium ★★★
The Sessions ★★★★½
The Lesser Blessed ★★★
Therese Desqueyroux ★★★½
Great Expectations ★★★★
All That You Possess ★★★★
Smashed ★★★★½
Middle of Nowhere ★★★½
Hannah Arendt ★★★½
Jump ★★★
Twice Born ★★★★½
Burn it up Djassa ★★★
The Paperboy ★★★½
Ginger & Rosa ★★
Jackie ★★★
Rebelle ★★★★
Dangerous Liaisons ★★★
Lore ★★★★½
The Reluctant Fundamentalist ★★½ (reviewed by guest critic Lois Griffin)

TIFF Shorts:
Asian Gangs  
Dear Scavengers
Let the Daylight into the Swamp ★★★★½

And when one festival ends, another begins. I'm headed back to Ottawa and will be covering the annual Ottawa International Animation Festival, so please stay tuned for updates!

In the meantime, though, what were your favourite films at TIFF?