‘La La Land’ Wins Audience Prize at Toronto Film Festival

La La Land,” Damien Chazelle’s musical ode to Los Angeles, captured the audience award at the Toronto International Film Festival after screening to standing ovations and rave reviews.

The film and stars Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling are widely expected to be major Oscar season players. To snag the prize in Toronto, “La La Land” bested runner-ups “Lion” and “Queen of Katwe,” two inspirational dramas that also generated some heat up north.

The victory could bolster “La La Land’s” chances of picking up the movie business’ top prize. After all, five audience award winners have gone on to capture best picture, a group that includes “Slumdog Millionaire,” “12 Years a Slave,” “The King’s Speech,” “American Beauty” and “Chariots of Fire.” Lionsgate will release “La La Land” in theaters on Dec. 2. It marks Chazelle’s follow-up to his acclaimed 2014 indie, “Whiplash.”

Ben Wheatley’s “Free Fire” received the Midnight Madness audience award. The action thriller stars Brie Larson and screened along with other genre offerings. Raoul Peck picked up the people’s choice documentary award for “I Am Not Your Negro,” a look at one of writer James Baldwin’s unfinished works.

The audience award winners are voted on by festival-goers after public screenings. The festival also has several jury prizes, one of which recognized Pablo Larraín’s “Jackie,” a biopic about Jacqueline Kennedy. The film took the platform prize, which rewards superior filmmaking. “Jackie” entered the festival looking for distribution. Fox Searchlight beat out a number of bidders to land rights to the project and is expected to do a major awards push for star Natalie Portman.

Here are the other winners:

Dropbox Discovery Programme Filmmakers Award:  “Jeffrey”

Short Cuts Awards (Canadian film):  “Mutants”

Short Cuts Awards Best Short Film: “Imago”

City Of Toronto Award Best First Canadian Feature: “Old Stone”

Canada Goose Best Canadian Feature: “Those Who Make Revolution Halfway Only Dig Their Own Graves”

Fipresci Jury Prize, Discovery Section: “Kati Kati”

Special Presentation Section: “I Am Not Madame Bovary”

Network For Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) award: “In Between”

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