La La Land wins top prize at Toronto Film Festival

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling’s movie La La Land has scooped the top award at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Director Damien Chazelle’s modern day musical – which has been the sensation of the film festival circuit – received the coveted People’s Choice Award, which is determined by audience voting.

Toronto’s audience award has previously been a harbinger of awards season success. Past winners include 12 Years A Slave and The King’s Speech.

La La Land is expected to be a top contender for the Best Picture Oscar.

The film stars Emma as an aspiring actress in Los Angeles who, in between soul-crushing auditions, meets a jazz pianist (Ryan) trying to stay true to the music he’s devoted himself to.

Since premiering at the Venice Film Festival, La La Land has been an answer to those who say movies aren’t what they once were.

Damien wrote the script around six years ago, but his pleas to make the film went unanswered until his 2014 breakthrough, the Oscar-winning Whiplash, about an aspiring jazz drummer.

The prize for the festival’s Platform sidebar of international films was awarded to Chilean director Pablo Larraín for Jackie, the Jacqueline Kennedy biopic starring Natalie Portman.

Raoul Peck won the People’s Choice documentary award for I Am Not Your Negro, which tracks the lives and assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr, Malcolm X and Medgar Evers.

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