Oscar buzz as ‘Room’ wins top prize at Toronto Film Festival

Brie Larson, right, in a scene from the award-winning movie 'Room'.

Irish movie Room is beginning to generate some Oscar buzz after scooping a major award at the Toronto Film Festival.

The film, directed by Lenny Abrahamson, has been getting rave reviews and picked up the coveted People’s Choice Award — considered the festival’s major prize.

The award is voted on by audiences and is seen as a good barometer of things to come during Oscar season.

For example, 12 Years a Slave, Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech all won the festival’s People’s Choice audience award and went on to win Best Film at the Oscars.

Abrahamson’s other work includes Frank, What Richard Did, Garage, and Adam & Paul.

Room has reportedly been a huge hit at the autumn festival, playing to standing ovations in Toronto and at its world premiere in Telluride earlier this month.

Emma Donoghue adapted the screenplay from her book, the award-winning international bestseller of the same name.

Starring Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay, Room tells the story of a woman who has been trapped for years in a room with her son after being abducted, raped, and kidnapped by her own father. The film also stars Joan Allen and William H Macy.

Told through the eyes of five-year-old Jack, the film has been described as “a thrilling and emotional tale that celebrates the resilience and power of the human spirit”. Abrahamson said he was honoured the film had resonated with audiences.

“I am so honoured that Room has been chosen by the TIFF audience to win the Grolsch People’s Choice Award,” he said. “The programme this year was full of extraordinary films, and for such a knowledgeable, film-loving audience to choose ours as their film of the festival is something of which I will always be hugely proud.

“It is a testament to the incredible talent and passion of all who made this film; cast and crew and those who backed us and had faith in us from the beginning.”

The film’s producer, Ed Guiney, described the win as a “major accolade”.

“This win is a major accolade and a huge tribute to Lenny, Emma and the rest of the amazing cast and crew,” he said. “Toronto is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world with more than 300 films playing over 10 days so this award gives us great momentum as we head towards our North American release next month.”

The award is the latest in a series of successes for the Element Pictures which produces the film. One of its recent productions, The Lobster, starring Rachel Weisz, Colin Farrell, Ben Wishaw, Lea Seydoux, and John C Reilly, has also been generating rave reviews.

It also produced Glassland, starring Jack Reynor and Toni Collette. At the Sundance Film Festival, Reynor won the prestigious special jury prize for acting for his role in the film.

Room will be released in the US on October 16 and in Ireland and Britain on January 29.


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