'Silver Linings Playbook', starring Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper, won the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival this weekend, sparking speculation that the movie or its stars could be among the early favourites for an Oscar.
The film, a dramatic comedy about a man who returns home after eight months in a mental institution, won the Blackberry People's Choice Award at this year's festival, the 37th edition.
Directed by the man behind 'The Fighter', David O. Russell, the movie is now pencilled in as one of the early favourites come award season as in the past, Toronto buzz has proved a reliable indicator as to which movies will be garlanded by the Academy.
Unlike some festival prizes, which are decided by juries who may not be that in tune with wider opinion, Toronto allows audiences to vote for the best film. Previous winners include Oscar winners 'The King's Speech' and 'Slumdog Millionaire'.
Jennifer Lawrence at the Toronto premiere of 'Silver Linings Playbook' (Photo: VSummers/Splashnews)
Based on the novel by Matthew Quick, 'Silver Linings Playbook', held its world premiere at the festival last week.
According to Reuters, Russell said of the movie: "Just as 'The Fighter' to me was not about fighting, this movie to me is not about mental illness, to me, it's always about the people and the dynamic of the people."
The runner-up for the prize was Ben Affleck's 'Argo' a thriller based on an outlandish plan to get six stranded Americans out of Tehran after the 1979 invasion of the American Embassy. 'Argo' also had its world premiere at the Toronto festival.
The People's Choice award for top Midnight Madness film went to Bartholomew Cubbins' 'Seven Psychopaths', a comedy which stars Colin Farrell as a screen-writer desperately trying to finish the script of his horror movie.
Launched in 1976, the Toronto festival now ranks with Cannes and Sundance as one of the world's top film festivals, with success there perhaps being an even more reliable guide to a film's prospects than those more rarefied gathering.
PHOTOS:Jennifer Lawrence goes goth for the premiere of 'Silver Linings Playbook'