Toronto Film Critics Association awards announced

While the Vancouver Film Critics Circle Awards nominations revealed Vancouver reviewers favoured gay (Milk)  and Indian (Slumdog Millionaire)  content, Toronto critics gravitated towards films with female leads struggling through difficult situations.

At the 11th annual Toronto Film Critics Association Awards presented at a gala dinner last night (January 6) in Toronto, Wendy and Lucy, about a woman (with her dog) whose car breaks down in Oregon en route to Alaska, won best picture and best female performance (Michelle Williams). Rachel Getting Married, about the family tensions that arise when a troubled daughter returns for her sister’s wedding, garnered awards for best director (Jonathan Demme), best screenplay (Jenny Lumet), and best female supporting performance (Rosemarie DeWitt).

Mickey Rourke won best male performance for his lead role in The Wrestler while the late Heath Ledger won best male supporting performance for his famous performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight.

Guy Maddin’s My Winnipeg, a pseudo autobiography that mixes fact with fancy, beat Yung Chang’s Up the Yangtze and Stephane Lafleur’s Continental: A Film Without Guns to win the $10,000 best Canadian film award.

Sweden’s Let the Right One In won the best foreign-language film, and in the animation category, WALL-E beat out Persepolis, Waltz With Bashir, and Kung-Fu Panda.

Lance Hammer’s debut Ballast, which played at the 2008 Vancouver International Film Festival, was awarded best first feature and Man On Wire, about a Frenchman's tightrope walk between the twin towers of the World Trade Centre, won the best documentary category.