Irish Abroad: Lenny Abrahamson’s Room wins People’s Choice Award at 40th Toronto International Film Festival

Huge news from the Toronto International Film Festival, where Lenny Abrahamson’s Room has won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award. First Runner Up was Pan Nalin’s Indian film Angry Indian Goddesses, with Tom McCarthy’s heavily favoured Spotlight Second Runner Up.

The significance of this prize in Awards Season is massive, with 3 of the last 7 Academy Award Best Picture winners (Slumdog MillionaireThe King’s Speech12 Years a Slave) starting their paths to glory with the award. 3 of the other 4 went on to Best Picture nominations (Precious, Silver Linings Playbook, The Imitation Game).

Emma O’Donoghue is adapting the story from her own best-selling novel, which is told from the perspective of a five-year-old boy, Jack, who is being held captive in a small room along with his mother. To him the room is his world, but his mother knows different having been held there for 7 years.

The film stars Brie Larson (Short Term 12, The Spectacular Now), Jacob Tremblay (The Smurfs 2, Somnia), Joan Allen (The Bourne Supremacy, Nixon) and William H. Macy (Shameless, Magnolia). Also joining the cast are Sean Bridgers (Rectify), Tom McCamus (The Samaritan) and Megan Park (What If).

Room is an Element Pictures and No Trace Camping production, in association with Telefilm Canada, Film4, and the Irish Film Board.

[quote title=”James Hickey – Irish Film Board, CEO “]Congratulations to Lenny Abrahamson and all those who participated in the making of this wonderful film. Lenny together with Emma Donoghue, Ed Guiney and all those working with Element Pictures have again proved the impact that Irish creative talent can have upon the world of film.[/quote]

[quote title=”Lenny Abrahamson – Director”]I am so honoured that Room has been chosen by the TIFF audience to win the Grolsch People’s choice award. The program this year was full of extraordinary films, and for such a knowledgeable, film-loving audience to choose ours as their film of the festival is something of which I will always be hugely proud. It is a testament to the incredible talent and passion of all who made this film; cast and crew and those who backed us and had faith in us from the beginning.[/quote]

[quote title=”Ed Guiney – Producer]This win is a major accolade and a huge tribute to Lenny, Emma and the rest of the amazing cast and crew. Toronto is one of the most prestigious film festivals in the world with more than 300 films playing over 10 days so this award gives us great momentum as we head towards our North American release next month.[/quote]

Room is out in Ireland on January 29th.

Full list of winners:

Dropbox Award:  Black

Short Cuts Awards (for short films – Canadian): Overpass

Short Cuts Awards (International): Maman(s)

City Of Toronto Award Best First Canadian First Feature: Sleeping Giants

Canada Goose Best Canadian Feature: Closet Monster

Fipresci Jury Prize, Discovery Section: Eva Nova;  Special Presentations Section: Desierto

Network For Promotion of Asian Cinema (NETPAC) award: The Whispering Star

Toronto Platform Prize: Hurt

Grolsch People’s Choice Midnight Madness Award: Hardcore

Grolsch People’s Choice Documentary Award: Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom