The Toronto International Film Festival rolled out the red carpet for its second annual TIFF Tribute Awards on Tuesday night. But this time, the gala was held virtually due to COVID-19.
The awards season kickoff fundraiser, which featured an introduction from Martin Scorsese, honors a select group of cinema trailblazers in the entertainment industry. Hosted by Etalk’s Chloe Wilde and Tyrone Edwards, the evening made good use of its virtual setting by landing such A-list presenters as Ava DuVernay, Jodie Foster and Olivia Colman.
The evening’s honorees included Anthony Hopkins and Kate Winslet, who both received the TIFF Tribute Actor awards. Hopkins, who stars in the Sony Pictures Classics drama “The Father” from first-time director and writer Florian Zeller, dedicated his award to the frontline workers and first responders all over the world. “This award is yours,” Hopkins said during his filmed speech.
In Zeller’s film, Hopkins plays Anthony, a man who refuses assistance from his daughter as he ages.
Winslet, who stars in the Neon’s romantic drama “Ammonite,” echoed the same sentiments as Hopkins during her speech. “I’d like to express my deepest sympathies to families and individuals whose lives have been forever altered by this past six months,” Winslet stated during her speech.
Other honorees included Chloé Zhao, who helms Searchlight Pictures’ “Nomadland,” one of the biggest discoveries to emerge out of TIFF. Following a touching introduction from actor Colin Farrell, Zhao accepted the TIFF Ebert Director Award and reflected on her relatively nascent career that’s included 2017’s “The Rider” and the upcoming “Eternals” from Marvel Studios. She shared, “I feel incredibly lucky that the people I work with, they’re there when I’m succeeding and they’re there even more when I fail.”
Tracey Deer, who helmed the acclaimed coming-of-age story “Beans,” received the TIFF Emerging Talent Award. Filmmaker Mira Nair, whose upcoming television series “A Suitable Boy” opened the festival, was honored with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media.
Oscar-nominated composer Terence Blanchard accepted the Variety Artisan Award. Blanchard, who was nominated in 2018 for “BlacKkKlansman” and provides the music in “One Night in Miami” from director Regina King (who co-presented the award to him with Delroy Lindo) was humbled. “I feel blessed to have this career,” he said in his acceptance. “It’s an honor I just can’t put into words.”
The evening also featured a musical performance from Shawn Mendes, delivering a stripped-down version of Stevie Wonder’s “Love’s in Need of Love Today” from the 1976 album “Songs in the Key of Life.” Mendes then spoke about the new Shawn Mendes Foundation Changemaker Award. The $10,000 prize will be given to a film that tackles issues of social change. The foundation will also make an annual contribution in support of TIFF Next Wave and helping TIFF deliver key initiatives to elevate young voices.
Produced by Bell Media Studios, the special aired on CTV and streamed internationally on Variety’s facebook page, you can watch the whole presentation here.
The 45th Toronto International Film Festival concludes on Sept. 19.