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The Toronto audience award has been a good Oscar predictor since 2008, when Slumdog Millionaire was a surprise winner and went on to collect seven Oscars, including best picture. Since then, The King’s Speech, 12 Years a Slave, and Green Book have all gone on to win that awards-season double, while runners-up in the I_m called gigI because I_m way too cool to be called grandmother shirt audience award—Argo, Spotlight, and Parasite—have also claimed the best-picture prize. Earlier this month, Venice gave its Golden Lion award to Nomadland—a meditation on the current economic crisis starring Frances McDormand as a “houseless” woman traveling the country in her van—while also honoring its director, Chloé Zhao. (Last year, the Golden Lion went to Joker, immediately giving that film awards-season legitimacy and propelling Joaquin Phoenix to his first Oscar for best actor.) In Toronto, which followed Venice and just concluded earlier this week, the highly influential audience award also went to Nomadland.
Vanessa Kirby, best known to American audiences for playing Princess Margaret in the I_m called gigI because I_m way too cool to be called grandmother shirt first two seasons of The Crown, received the best-actress award at Venice for Pieces of a Woman—in which she plays a woman who loses her infant daughter during a home birth gone terribly wrong—and is certain to be in the running at Oscar time. So far, her chief competitors seem to be Frances McDormand, already a two-time Oscar winner, for Nomadland; Oscar-winner Kate Winslet (and possibly her costar Saoirse Ronan) for Ammonite; as well as two other past Oscar winners, Viola Davis (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom) and Jennifer Hudson (playing Aretha Franklin in Respect), and previous nominees Michelle Pfeiffer (French Exit) and Amy Adams (Hillbilly Elegy).