European films festivals like Cannes and Venice may have the history and prestige — but the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has shown every best picture winner since 2007, and many have premiered there. Time will tell if any of this year’s films will take top honours, but recent history suggests one will. Find out which Oscar-winners made their way from TIFF to the Hollywood stage.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
In its fifth year of existence, TIFF landed its first big fish: Chariots of Fire, the true story of how British sprinters Eric Liddell and Harold Abrahams won glory at the 1924 Olympics, and sprinted its way past the competition to Oscar gold.
American Beauty (1999)
The world got its first peak at the eventual best picture winner — but also its first sampling of Sam Mendes. American Beauty served as the established stage director’s feature film debut and became an overnight sensation.
Crash premiered at the 2004 fest, where Lionsgate picked it up. It would wait until 2005 for its release and managed one of the biggest upsets in Oscar history, beating fellow Toronto player from 2005, Brokeback Mountain.
No Country for Old Men (2007)
Joel and Ethan Coen’s tense thriller ended up the headliner of a banner year in 2007 for TIFF. Not only did the festival screen the eventual best picture winner, it had four out of five best picture nominees in its lineup, with only Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood absent from Toronto.
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
Set in India, from a British director, it took home top American honours but made its world premiere in Canada. Danny Boyle’s Slumdog Millionaire captured the hearts of audiences right off the bat, winning the People’s Choice award at the festival.
The Hurt Locker (2008)
The world premiere took place in Venice, but Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker kickstarted its Oscar run in Toronto where it had its North American premiere and was picked up by Summit Entertainment in 2008. A year later, the film was rewarded with six Academy awards.
The King’s Speech (2010)
The King’s Speech was the fourth film to win the People’s Choice award — and then go on to win best picture. Chariots of Fire, American Beauty, and Slumdog Millionaire are the others.
Argo is the latest to capitalize on Toronto’s good luck — though none of it seemed to rub off on Ben Affleck, who was snubbed for best director.
From September 5-15, 2013, the Toronto International Film Festival will shine its way into venues and theatres across Toronto. And if TMZ knows anything about scouting out famous people, the airport seems to be the best place. Located practically beside Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ) is Sandman Signature Hotel Toronto Airport – the perfect place to stay to travel to and from the airport while celebrity watching. Well that’s convenient.