Kelly Reichardt's "Meek's Cutoff" was selected as the best film at the Toronto International Film Festival by an overwhelming majority of film critics and bloggers indieWIRE polled over the weekend.
Writers were surveyed in four different categories, Reichardt's follow up to "Wendy and Lucy" was recognized as Toronto's best narrative film, followed by Danny Boyle's "127 Hours," Tom Hooper's "The King's Speech" and Darren Arfonofsky's "Black Swan." Errol Morris's "Tabloid" was named best doc, James Franco's work in "127 Hours" was deemed best lead performance, while Geoffrey Rush took supporting performance honors for "The King's Speech."
Oddly enough, "Meek's Cutoff" - just picked up by Oscilloscope for a 2011 release - was not among the top films in a supplementary poll that indieWIRE ran through the week, asking critics and bloggers to give a letter grade to all of Toronto's titles. Suggesting some divisiveness toward Reichardt's film, it averaged a "B+," below "A" level averages of 8 films in that list: Danny Boyle's "127 Hours," Andrei Ujica's "The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu," Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan," Kim Jee-woon's "I Saw The Devil," Tom Hopper's "The King's Speech," Patricio Guzmán's "Nostalgia for the Light," Thom Zimny's "The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town," and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives." Check out a full list of grade scores here for a more extensive take on critical reaction from TIFF.
Unlike last year's edition of this survey, where films that premiered at festivals much earlier in the year - most notably Cannes ("A Prophet," "Fish Tank") and Sundance ("Precious") came into considerable play - most films on this list premiered either in Toronto, Venice or Telluride. Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Cannes winner "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" was the only film on the main list to have premiered elsewhere.
Some of those polled also offered comments on their festival experience.
"I thought the fest was exceptionally weak, overall," one person polled wrote. "No must-see films. I wonder, is it because the economic coin has just dried up to support films by gifted filmmakers? Not a rhetorical question, I wish someone would answer me!"
On the other hand, another person wrote: "Overall, I thought the TIFF line-up this year was very good even if only four or five movies really stood out, but there weren't a ton of movies that I walked out of or just couldn't get through and the selection from the fest's returning auteurs were generally enjoyable, and there were lots of great surprises."
And specific to the programming, another pointed out how they were "glad that two films in my top ten ('Curling' and 'You Are Here') were Canadian, and that three films that absolutely floored me at TIFF ('At Ellen's Age,' 'Attenberg' and 'Meek's Cutoff') were by women. But these are questionable distinctions to make..."
Comments also took aim at Toronto's new home and layout, with mostly positive results.
"I thought the new TIFF venues were excellent and a lot more accommodating and easier to get around than the Varsity venue," one said. "I only went to the Bell Lightbox once but it seems like a great place to see a movie without the multiplex feel that sometimes hinders the film festival experience."
Another wrote: "Not too fond of the Scotiabank press screening venue, but I love the Lightbox!"
There were also some new annoyances: "Bloor Street is dead," one wrote. "Publicists repping films need to move closer to the Hyatt."
And old ones: "Still the most annoying aspect of TIFF? A gazillion trailers before every film."
Check out all of indieWIRE's coverage of the festival here.
TIFF '10 Survey Results:
1. Meek's Cutoff, directed by Kelly Reichardt (76 points)
2 .127 Hours, directed by Danny Boyle (58)
3. Black Swan, directed by Darren Aronofsky (48)
4. The King's Speech, directed by Tom Hooper (46)
5. Beginners, directed by Mike Mills (41)
6. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (37)
7. Submarine, directed by Richard Ayoade (33)
8. Let Me In, directed by Matt Reeves (30)
9. Attenberg, directed by Athina Rachel Tsangari (25)
9. Incendies, directed by Denis Villeneuve (25)
11. Silent Souls, directed by Aleksei Fedorchenko (24)
12. Rabbit Hole, directed by John Cameron Mitchell (23)
12. The Trip, directed by Michael Winterbottom (23)
12. Another Year, directed by Mike Leigh (23)
1. Tabloid, directed by Errol Morris (27)
2. Inside Job, directed by Charles Ferguson (25)
3. Cave of Forgotten Dreams, directed by Werner Herzog (14)
4. Nostalgia For The Light, directed by Patricio Guzmán (13)
4. Get Out Of The Car, directed by Thom Andersen (13)
6. Client 9, directed by Alex Gibney (10)
Best Lead Performance
1. James Franco, 127 Hours (39)
2. Natalie Portman, Black Swan (28)
3. Colin Firth, The King's Speech (22)
4. Ariane Labed, Attenberg (19)
5. Michelle Williams, Meek's Cutoff (18)
6. Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole (15)
6. Craig Roberts, Submarine (15)
Best Supporting Performance
1. Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech (24)
2. Vincent Cassel, Black Swan (18)
3. Christopher Plummer, Beginners (16)
4. Bruce Greenwood, Meek's Cutoff (14)
4. Aaron Eckhart, Rabbit Hole (14)
6. Jeremy Renner, The Town (13)
6. Melanie Laurent, Beginners (13)
Erica Abeel | Jason Anderson | Alex Billington | Dwight Brown | Tom Charity | Erik Childress | Fernando Croce | Mike D'Angelo | Edward Douglas | Gregory Ellwood | Jake Jacobson | Ben Kenigsberg | Gabe Klinger | Peter Knegt | Eric Kohn | Eric Lavallee | Adam Nayman | Mark Olsen | Joshua Rothkopf | Anne Thompson | Kim Voynar | David Walsh