This year's Toronto Film Festival was made up of some pretty choice characters.
I'm not speaking only about the characters we watched on screen (there were certainly some doozies there), but also the characters -- in real life -- we witnessed on the red carpets, at the press conferences and on the streets of Toronto in 2012.
These people who make up the films we know and love are fascinating in their own right, from Kristen Stewart, emerging from one of the biggest entertainment scandals of the year, to Tom Hanks, an A-list actor who was less-than-impressed with the treatment he received at the festival.
Here are my top 10 moments from this year's TIFF -- may next year's be just as dramatic.
Leave it to funnyman <a href="http://news.moviefone.ca/2012/09/11/bill-murray-hyde-park-on-hudson-tiff-press-conference_n_1875036.html" target="_hplink">Bill Murray to liven up</a> what could have been a very dull press conference. At TIFF for 'Hyde Park on Hudson,' the actor had a few choice words for Brits, Helen Hunt and being Oscar-nominated for 'Lost in Translation.'
Starring <a href="http://news.moviefone.com/2012/09/10/joseph-gordon-levitt-looper-lincoln_n_1869692.html" target="_hplink">Joseph Gordon-Levitt</a>, Bruce Willis and Emily Blunt, this movie doesn't fall into any particular genre -- but it managed to exceed my expectations. The biggest reward for me was witnessing an impressive child actor (Pierce Gagnon) who nearly stole the movie from the A-listers surrounding him.
At the North American premiere for 'To The Wonder,' Terrence Malick's wife, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/11/terrence-malick-wife-9-11_n_1873408.html?utm_hp_ref=moviefone-canada" target="_hplink">Alexandra Wallace, confused most of the audience</a> when she said she and her oft-reclusive husband "almost moved to Canada" after 9/11. First, the premiere was on 9/10, so it was a little disrespectful, and two -- huh? Nothing like a film fest for some controversy.
Every year, there's usually a celebrity or two who have something to say about TIFF. Sean Penn comes to mind. This year, it was the untouchable <a href="http://news.moviefone.ca/2012/09/10/tom-hanks-cloud-atlas-toronto-film-festival_n_1871624.html" target="_hplink">Tom Hanks, who had a beef</a> about the way celebrities were handled. He apparently also had issues with the amount of walking space on the way into movie theatres.
On the other end of the spectrum, many visiting celebs had positive things to say about the host country. In town to promote his next directorial project 'Argo,' <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/09/ben-affleck-thanks-canada_n_1868474.html" target="_hplink">Ben Affleck said his film was a big "thank you" to Canada</a>. Audiences -- both critics and laypeople alike -- responded in kind to his film, with mostly rave reviews across the board.
It's been a while since some homegrown talent of such a strong filmmaking pedigree has emerged into the spotlight. <a href="http://news.moviefone.ca/2012/09/05/brandon-cronenberg-antiviral_n_1856503.html" target="_hplink">Brandon Cronenberg revealed his directorial debut 'Antiviral'</a> to the TIFF masses this year, and while some reacted with squeamishness, others reveled in its avant-garde, bizarre nuances.
What I assumed was going to be a ho-hum slapdash comedy -- aka typical mainstream fare -- ended up being a very funny, very sincere drama with some occasional zingers. 'Silver Linings Playbook' definitely has the Oscar buzz to it, especially now that it's <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/16/silver-linings-playbook-tiff-peoples-choice-award-oscar_n_1888296.html?utm_hp_ref=moviefone-canada" target="_hplink">won the coveted TIFF People's Choice Award</a> (past winners include 'Slumdog Millionaire' and 'American Beauty').
The press certainly sucked the life out of this one, didn't they? Even this website is guilty of covering <a href="http://news.moviefone.ca/chris-jancelewicz/our-obsession-with-kriste_b_1865539.html" target="_hplink">Kristen Stewart's return to the spotlight</a> in every conceivable way. However noteworthy (or unimportant) each person thinks it was, it was definitely something to talk about. Now if only we could discuss the film she was here for, 'On the Road.'
PT Anderson's latest, 'The Master,' is certainly a tough slog. Slow and expository, the movie is at times spellbinding and at other times slow and meandering. One thing's for certain, though: expect Joaquin Phoenix to garner the coveted Best Actor nomination when February rolls around. He was truly magnificent in the role.
Say what you will about glamourizing murder (I know this man is a monster and I don't want to minimize the horrors anyone went through), but <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/14/ray-liotta-the-iceman_n_1883937.html" target="_hplink">'The Iceman' was the most entertaining film I saw at TIFF</a>. Winona Ryder attempting a Jersey accent provided sheer amusement value, but the rest of the cast was top-notch, from Ray Liotta to an astounding Michael Shannon in the lead role.
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