Toronto International Film Festival People's Choice Award
The Toronto International Film Festival Grolsch People's Choice Award is an annual film award, presented by the Toronto International Film Festival to the film rated as the year's most popular film with festival audiences. The award's current corporate sponsor is Grolsch; past sponsors of the award have included Cadillac.
The winners of this award have often later earned Academy Award nominations, to the point that the award is now considered to be effectively the "starting gun" of the Academy Award nominations race.
In 2009, the festival introduced separate People's Choice Awards for Documentaries and Midnight Madness. In 2015, it also introduced a People's Choice Award for its satellite Canada's Top Ten festival, which was discontinued after 2018 due to TIFF's decision to switch the Canada's Top Ten program from a dedicated festival to a series of week-long theatrical screenings.
At each film screening, attendees are invited to "vote" for the film by leaving their ticket stubs in voting boxes outside the theatre after the show. However, to ensure that the voting process does not bias the award toward films that screened in larger theatres and that a film's own cast and crew cannot stuff the ballot box, the overall number of votes received is also weighted against the percentage of the screening audience that the total number of votes represented. For example, a film which screened in a smaller theatre, but had a highly passionate fan base who voted for the film en masse, can have an advantage over a film that had a larger number of raw votes representing a smaller percentage of the overall viewers. Because each film is screened multiple times over the course of the entire festival, the process also enables the organizers to evaluate which films are generating more audience buzz, by virtue of a significant increase in attendance and/or People's Choice votes at the follow-up screenings.
After the awards are announced, the festival closes with a free public screening of the winning film at Roy Thomson Hall.
The table below shows the People's Choice winners of past years. Prior to 2000, only the overall winner was named each year; in that year, the festival began announcing the first and second runners-up for the award as well.
On four occasions to date, the award has been won by a Canadian film. Two of those films, The Decline of the American Empire in 1986 and The Hanging Garden in 1997, were also named as the winners of the juried award for Best Canadian Film, although the 2007 winner Eastern Promises and the 2015 winner Room were not. All four films were also Best Picture nominees at the Genie Awards or the Canadian Screen Awards, which The Decline of the American Empire and Room won.
- Walmsley, Katie (September 2009). "Oprah flick 'Precious' wins top award at Toronto". CNN. Retrieved June 8, 2010.
- "You Pick the Winner: How to Vote for the Grolsch People's Choice Award". TIFF. 2016.
- Chris Knight (2011-09-18). "Lebanese film wins TIFF People's Choice Award". National Post.
- "The Oscar race starts at TIFF – but who's in the running?". The Globe and Mail, September 7, 2017.
- "TIFF lineup expands with horror, music". Telegraph-Journal, July 22, 2009.
- "TIFF’s Top Ten Film Festival: Spotlight on Canadian film". Toronto Star, December 1, 2014.
- "Choose wisely: At the Toronto International Film Festival, how do you ensure that the people have actually spoken?". The Globe and Mail, September 7, 2017.
- "People prize Chinese action ; Best Canadian feature award goes to Calgary director Gary Burns". Toronto Star, September 18, 2000.
- "Movies win role in a traumatized world ; Toronto film festival ended with hope for better future". Toronto Star, September 17, 2001.