The low-key indie drama Wendy and Lucy has won over the Toronto Film Critics Association, which on Wednesday named the quiet film the year's best picture.
Directed by Kelly Reichardt and starring Michelle Williams, Wendy and Lucy chronicles a young, down-on-her luck woman's growing desperation as circumstances force her into poverty.
The Toronto critics group also tapped Williams as best actress for her turn in the movie, which first won acclaim at international film festivals and has already been getting nods on other year-end lists.
The ensemble drama Rachel Getting Married was another clear favourite of the critics group and scored a trio of distinctions: best director for Jonathan Demme, best screenplay for debut screenwriter Jenny Lumet and best supporting actress for Rosemarie DeWitt.
The TFCA, comprised of Toronto-based film journalists and broadcasters, has also agreed with a host of other similar critics associations in recognizing two outstanding male performances from this past year: Mickey Rourke, named best actor for his comeback turn in The Wrestler, and the late Heath Ledger, chosen as best supporting actor for his chilling interpretation of the villainous Joker in The Dark Knight.
Also making the TFCA cut were:
- Best animated feature: Wall-E.
- Best documentary feature: Man on Wire.
- Best first feature: Ballast.
- Best foreign-language film: Let the Right One In.
This year's picks "recognize passionate, breakout performances and films of exemplary vision and audacity," TFCA president and longtime Maclean's film critic Brian D. Johnson said in a statement.
The winners will be celebrated at a gala dinner in Toronto on Jan. 6.
The January ceremony will also include the announcement of the winner of the $10,000 best Canadian film award. Nominated for the new prize are Stéphane Lafleur's Continental: A Film Without Guns, Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg and Yung Chang's Up the Yangtze.