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Toronto Film Critics Love Violence

The Toronto Film Critics Association has announced its awards for 2005, and not surprisingly, it has named A History of Violence - by famed Toronto filmmaker David Cronenberg - as the best film of the year. Cronenberg also picks up Best Director for the Toronto-shot film, and Violence takes Best Canadian Film in addition to Best Picture.

Hopefully, Torontonians can expect similar citations for local boy Cronenberg when the Oscar noms are announced in early 2006; Violence is already carrying Golden Globe nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress. If Violence goes up against American fodder for Best Picture at the Oscars this year, will we all gather in bars and cheer it on, like we will for Team Canada against Team U.S.A. in Torino in February?

In addition to some of the more predictable performance wins (Phillip Seymour Hoffman for Capote, Paul Giamatti for Cinderella Man, Laura Linney for The Squid and the Whale), the TFCA also saw fit to give Andy Serkis a special citation for his work in the title role of Peter Jackson's King Kong, although Serkis' performance was entirely behind-the-scenes. He provided motion and performance reference for the film's cast and animators.

The TFCA described Serkis' work as "unprecedented," not unlike the idea of giving a performance award to a guy who ran around in front of a greenscreen for nine months, in a suit made of ping-pong balls!

Werner Herzog's probing and insightful documentary, Grizzly Man, picks up Best Documentary from the TFCA, a richly-deserved commendation for a film which, in my opinion, knocks the socks off of A History of Violence as a filmmaking achievement in its own right. Grizzly Man was, notably, omitted from the shortlist of feature documentaries for Oscar nominations this year.


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