David O. Russell’s boisterous, crowd-pleasing comedy “Silver Linings Playbook” won the BlackBerry People’s Choice Award at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday.
Because the festival is non-competitive and has no jury, the People’s Choice prize is widely viewed as the event’s most coveted award, at least from the perspective of positioning a movie for an awards-season launch.
Past winners include “Slumdog Millionaire," “The King’s Speech” and "American Beauty" — films that went on to take the Academy Award for best picture. It's not a foolproof stamp of approval, though. Last year's winner, the Lebanese drama "Where Do We Go Now?," failed to make the Oscar shortlist for best foreign film.
The win for "Silver Linings Playbook" was hardly surprising, given the audience's raucous response during its gala festival premiere at the cavernous Roy Thomson Hall. The sharply observed comedy, writer-director Russell’s follow-up to the Oscar-nominated “The Fighter,” stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper and bears the filmmaker’s signature talent for finding fizzy humor in unlikely subjects — in this case, mental illness and family dysfunction.