DANNY BOYLE His crowd-pleasing Mumbai melodrama, Slumdog Millionaire, was a slam dunk for the People's Choice Award, giving it some serious Oscar juice when it opens in December.
DARREN ARONOFSKY and MICKEY ROURKE Rourke hasn't made a worthwhile movie in years, and Aronofsky took a beating at TIFF two years ago when his intimate epic The Fountain was laughed off the screen. The success of The Wrestler - which arrived here after winning best picture at Venice - restores both artists to serious-contender status just in time for the Oscar campaign.
ANNE HATHAWAY Not only did the NOW cover girl leave town with serious Oscar buzz for Rachel Getting Married, but she also won the unofficial award for best fashion accessory. Her 10-times buckled up Brian Atwood heels dominated the movie's red carpet opening, taking her possibly prissy, 80s vintage Jean-Louis Scherrer dress straight downtown.
JEAN-CLAUDE VAN DAMME The Muscles from Brussels became an unlikely Film Fest favourite thanks to JCVD. The Charlie Kaufman-like meta-movie stars Van Damme the washed-up action star as Van Damme the washed-up action star. Remarkable.
ALICIA KEYS Those of us who think Keys is overrated as a singer were dreading her star turn in The Secret Life Of Bees. But she rocked her role as the imperious June Boatwright and showed intelligence and insight at the presser. Great dress, too.
KATHRYN BIGELOW The Near Dark director's muscular return to macho moviemaking, the Iraq War-set The Hurt Locker, earned critical kudos across the board, and star Jeremy Renner is poised for a Hugh Jackman-level breakthrough.
Photo By Michael Watier
THANDIE NEWTON The gorgeous actor rocked the RocknRolla opening with the fest's overall best dress: a Matthew Williamson floral number perfectly pixilated and cinched in with a checkered belt.
ROGER EBERT He refused to make a big thing about being assaulted by a short-tempered, big-headed - and, at press time, still unapologetic - douchebag from the New York Post.
CHE AUDIENCES People had to pay double the premium ticket price for both instalments of Che, even though director Steven Soderbergh and star Benicio Del Toro bailed on the screening both nights.
THOSE WITHOUT UMBRELLAS Who didn't spend time being rained on while waiting in lines outside the Varsity, the Elgin or Roy Thomson Hall? The final insult was the torrential rainstorm that hit on the last day - just as the outdoor wrap party at Dundas Square was supposed to get going.
Photo By Kathryn Gaitens
PAUL GROSS His bid to move from well-liked TV star to big-screen auteur with opening-night gala Passchendaele was first hobbled by a tepid response from the hometown audience, then cut off at the knees by withering international reviews.
LINDSAY LOHAN Her attempts at creating several paparazzi moments (like palling around with BFF Samantha Ronson and smoking indoors in clear violation of that bylaw that got Sean Penn in trouble a couple of years ago) still couldn't break the spell of Paris Hilton, the photo op that can't be stopped.
MOVIEGOERS AFTER SEPTEMBER 7 More than ever before, the first weekend of TIFF was rammed with big studio offerings, from Burn After Reading to Ghost Town. But by Wednesday the festival was essentially over and the Intercon a ghost town as Hollywood packed up and left and everyone else went with them.
KATE BECKINSALE Some TIFF fashion watchers loved Beckinsale's fussy frock, which she pulled out for the Nothing But The Truth gala opening. But if you really want the truth, it was a tad bedazzled-prom-queen busy for our taste.
QUEER FILM LOVERS Where were the big queer-themed movies? And what happened to the annual homo happening called the Gay Flambé? Lindsay and Samantha could have rubbed shoulders with Terence Davies.