Toronto film critics choose Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma as the year’s best picture

The Toronto Film Critics Association added to the chorus hailing Roma as best picture, echoing identical wins for the Netflix.

The Toronto Film Critics Association added to the chorus hailing Roma as best picture, echoing identical wins for the Netflix film from critics organizations in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco.

The TFCA whose members include NOW critics Norm Wilner, Glenn Sumi, Susan G. Cole and myself gave the black-and-white period piece both its best picture and best director prize for Alfonso Cuaron on Sunday (December 9).

Cuarons epic love letter to his childhood nanny is the first foreign language film to win the Toronto critics’ top prize. Roma is also the first Netflix film to win the distinction from the organization, which requires films play local theatres to qualify for awards. Roma is currently playing at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, before it hits Netflix this Friday (December 14).

Curiously, Roma did not win best foreign language film at the TFCA, despite competing in that category as well. That distinction went to Lee Chang-Dongs masterful thriller Burning.

Make what you will of that. Perhaps the TFCA wanted to spread the love or throw a concession to members who passionately fought for Burning to supplant Roma in the top categories, where it ended as a runner-up. Or, as TFCA member Adam Nayman observed after the vote, they may have simply felt Burning is the more foreign of the two.

Burning also picked up the best supporting actor prize for Walking Dead actor Steven Yeuns slippery and menacing performance. Best supporting actress went to Regina King for her galvanizing role as a supportive mother in If Beale Street Could Talk, which opens on December 25.

Best actor and best actress went to Ethan Hawke and Olivia Colman, for their performances in First Reformed and The Favourite, respectively. Those two films ended up locked in a tie for the TFCAs best screenplay award.

Elsewhere, the TFCA gave the RBC Allan King Documentary Award to Morgan Neville‘s Wont You Be My Neighbor?, which looks at Mr. Rogers generosity and empathy as a lesson for our times. Best animated film went to Wes Andersons beautifully rendered, stop-motion cultural tourism pic Isle of Dogs. Best first feature went to Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley‘s wildly absurd comedy on race, class and code-switching.

The TFCA also announced its nominees for the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, which carries $100,000 cash prize. The climate change doc, Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, is among them, bringing filmmakers Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier back in to a competition they won four years ago with Watermark. The veterans will go up against debut two debut films: Ava, Sadaf Foroughis Iran-set coming-of-ager, and Parisienne confection Maison Du Bonheur, from Sofia Bohdanowicz. The latter won last years Jay Scott Prize for an Emerging Artist this past January.

The winners for Rogers Best Canadian Film and this years Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist will be announced at the TFCAs Awards Gala on January 8, where the organization will also celebrate actor Tantoo Cardinal, the previously announced Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award recipient.



(runners-up: Burning, First Reformed)

BEST ACTOR: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed

(runners-up: Willem Dafoe, At Eternity’s Gate Viggo Mortensen, Green Book)

BEST ACTRESS: Olivia Colman, The Favourite

(runners-up: Regina Hall, Support the Girls Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me?)


(runners-up: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me? Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther)

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk

(runners-up: Emma Stone, The Favourite Rachel Weisz, The Favourite)

BEST DIRECTOR: Alfonso Cuaron, Roma

(runners-up: Lee Chang-dong, Burning Paul Schrader, First Reformed)

BEST SCREENPLAY (Adapted or Original): (TIE) The Favourite by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara & First Reformed by Paul Schrader

(runner-up: Roma by Alfonso Cuaron)

BEST FIRST FEATURE: Sorry to Bother You, directed by Boots Riley

(runners-up: Eighth Grade, directed by Bo Burnham Hereditary directed by Ari Aster)

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE: Isle of Dogs, directed by Wes Anderson

(runners-up: Ralph Breaks the Internet, directed by Rich Moore and Phil Johnston Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, directed by Peter Ramsey, Robert Persichetti Jr. and Rodney Rothman)

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: Burning, directed by Lee Chang-dong

(runners-up: Cold War, directed by Pawe Pawlikowski Roma, directed by Alfonso Cuaron)

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, directed by Morgan Neville

(runners-up: Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, directed by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier Free Solo, directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi)


Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier Ava, directed by Sadaf Foroughi Maison du Bonheur, directed by Sofia Bohdanowicz

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