Charlotte Wells’ debut feature Aftersun swept the winners of the 26th annual Toronto Film Critics Association Awards. The film took four TFCA Awards including Best Picture, Best Director for Wells, Best First Feature, and Best Actor for Paul Mescal. Aftersun is a touching reflection on a father and daughter’s trip to Turkey and draws inspiration from a formative experience that Wells had with her father. The film is still playing in Toronto theatres. (Note: several contributors to That Shelf are TFCA members.)
The TFCA members determined the winners on January 8 in a live vote conducted at Toronto’s Metro Hall. The proceedings inspired intense debates among members with decisions often coming down to a mere vote or two. Also drawing much support from the group were the Daniels’ meta-verse lark Everything Everywhere All at Once, which received five nominations including Best Picture and a win for Ke Huy Quan in the Best Supporting Actor category. Sarah Polley’s drama Women Talking was a runner-up in four categories including Best Picture and Best Director, and found a strong show of support in the room.
Joining Mescal and Quan in the winners’ circle are actors Cate Blanchett for her performance as a conductor embroiled in a scandal in Tár and Keke Palmer for her turn fighting aliens alongside Daniel Kaluuya in Nope. Other winners at the TFCA Awards including Martin McDonagh’s The Banshees of Inisherin, which won Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted, for its darkly comic portrait of a falling-out between friends. In the Best International Feature category, Alice Diop’s Saint Omer won the most votes for its story of a mother on trial for killing her child. The film is France’s official submission in the Oscar race for Best International Feature.
Toronto stories also prevailed as Domee Shi’s Turning Red, which sets a girl’s adventure through puberty against the backdrop of the 6ix, won Best Animated Feature. Toronto staple Guillermo del Toro was a runner-up for his dark take on Pinocchio. Meanwhile, Laura Poitras’ TIFF hit All the Beauty and the Bloodshed won the Allan King Documentary Award in a landslide for its artfully incendiary portrait of photographer Nan Goldin and her fight against the Sackler family of Purdue Pharma.
The TFCA also voted upon the three finalists for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award: Brother, directed by Clement Virgo, David Cronenberg’s Crimes of the Future, and Riceboy Sleeps, directed by Anthony Shim.
The winner of the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award will be named at the 25th TFCA awards gala, to be held in Toronto at the Omni King Edward Hotel on March 6. The honour carries a record-setting $100,000 cash prize, the richest film award in the country, courtesy of Rogers. The runners-up will each receive $5,000.
“The Toronto Film Critics Association vote is often a nail-biter, but this year’s results were as close as they come,” said TFCA president Johanna Schneller in a statement. “In most categories, only a few votes separated our top three candidates. Our eleven winners came from eight different films, and excitingly, for the first time, the majority of those were films directed by women: Laura Poitras for All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Domee Shi for Turning Red, Alice Diop for Saint Omer, and a major sweep for Aftersun’s Charlotte Wells. “One thing we all agree on: The intimate, layered Aftersun is the debut of a thrilling new talent.”
Yet to be announced are the 2022 recipients of the Company 3 TFCA Luminary Award and the Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist. A pay-it-forward award, the Company 3 TFCA Luminary Award winner will choose a filmmaker to be the recipient of $50,000 worth of services. The winner of the Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist will be presented with a $10,000 cheque at the gala.
The TFCA is extremely grateful to founding sponsor Rogers Communications for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, to returning sponsors Labatt for the Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist, to Netflix as the Dinner sponsor, to Air Canada as Official Airline and to Company3 as the Company3 TFCA Luminary Award sponsor. The TFCA welcomes new sponsor Universal Pictures Canada as the Cocktail Reception sponsor and Prime Video as the After-Party sponsor. The TFCA also thanks sponsors Omni King Edward Hotel and salutes stalwart supporters Zoomer Magazine, Globe and Mail and Chairman Mills.
The full list of 2022 Toronto Film Critics Association Awards winners and runners-up is as follows:
Aftersun (Sphere Films)
Runners-up: Everything Everywhere All at Once (Elevation Pictures), Women Talking (Universal Picture Canada)
Charlotte Wells – Aftersun (Sphere Films)
Runners-up: Daniels, Everything Everywhere All at Once (Elevation Pictures); Sarah Polley, Women Talking (Universal Pictures Canada)
Best Screenplay, Original or Adapted
The Banshees of Inisherin – Martin McDonagh (Searchlight Pictures)
Runners-up: Todd Field, Tár (Universal Pictures Canada); Sarah Polley, Women Talking (Universal Picturs Canada)
Cate Blanchett in Tár (Universal Pictures Canada)
Runners-up: Danielle Deadwyler in Till (Universal Pictures Canada); Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once (Elevation Pictures)
Paul Mescal in Aftersun (Sphere Films)
Runners-up: Colin Farrell in The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures); Brendan Fraser in The Whale (Elevation Pictures)
Best Supporting Actress
Keke Palmer in Nope (Universal Pictures Canada)
Runners-up: Jessie Buckley in Women Talking (Universal Pictures Canada); Stephanie Hsu in Everything Everywhere All at Once (Elevation Pictures)
Best Supporting Actor
Ke Huy Quan in Everything Everywhere All at Once (Elevation Pictures)
Runners-up: Brendan Gleeson in The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures); Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin (Searchlight Pictures)
Best Animated Feature
Turning Red, directed by Domee Shi (Walt Disney Pictures Canada)
Runners-up: Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (Netflix); Marcel the Shell with Shoes on (Elevation Pictures)
Allan King Documentary Award
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, directed by Laura Poitras (Elevation Pictures)
Runners-up: Fire of Love (Mongrel Media); Moonage Daydream (Elevation Pictures)
Best International Feature
Saint Omer, directed by Alice Diop (Films We Like)
Best First Feature
Aftersun, directed by Charlotte Wells (Sphere Films)
Runners-up: Marcel the Shell with Shoes on (Elevation Pictures); Turning Red (Walt Disney Pictures Canada)
Rogers Best Canadian Feature Award Nominees
Brother, directed by Clement Virgo (Elevation Pictures)
Crimes of the Future, directed by David Cronenberg (Sphere Films)
Riceboy Sleeps, directed by Anthony Shim (Game Theory Films)
To Iranian filmmakers Jafar Panahi, Mohammad Rasoulof and Mostafa Al-Ahmad, who are currently in jail in Ira yet continue to make subtle movies that talk about life in their country, in spite of threats and restrictions from the regime. We stand in solidarity with them and add our voices to the international arts community calling for their release.