Make no mistake: While the TIFF red carpet is all air kisses and man-hugs, the festival is also a competition—for distribution deals, media attention and precious, precious Oscar buzz. Below, the winners and the losers in the hunger games that were TIFF 2012:
Winner: Joseph Gordon-Levitt
With only one film showing, he didn’t need to be the busiest actor around TIFF, but he probably was anyway. Gordon-Levitt showed up to no fewer than three marquee red carpets, including Looper (his own), The Master and Cloud Atlas, and was probably the most exciting star on each one (apologies to Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams and everyone at the premiere for Cloud Atlas). But was his schedule too packed to stop and take pictures with fans? Absolutely not. Consider JGL this year’s man-about-TIFF.
Losers: The ATL Twins
A very NSFW VICE Magazine interview with the twins went viral (like a funny picture of a cat), and so did they (like influenza). Producers and directors beckoned, but Harmony Korine won out, launching the pair into the movies as James Franco’s twin drug-dealing sidekicks in Spring Breakers. Their moment in the spotlight at TIFF was brief and painful, including a red carpet jaunt and an after-party at Brasaii, where they just seemed to make everyone uncomfortable. The worst part? Spring Breakers is getting pretty good press, so you can probably expect to see more of the duo.
2. Red Carpets
Winner: Cloud Atlas
The red carpet has one golden rule, a standard that holds true across all premieres: the more stars the better, and Cloud Atlas had them in spades. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Hugo Weaving, Tom Tykwer and the normally reclusive Wachowskis were just a few of the A-listers to brave the press gauntlet heading into the Princess of Wales Theatre. Joseph Gordon-Levitt showed up too, in case you had any doubts.
Loser: Venus and Serena
Apply the golden rule, and the loser is clear. The documentary’s subjects withdrew at the last minute, leaving a red carpet wanting for star power. Crooning siblings Wyclef and Seleck Jean looked like they were having a good time, but even their brotherly antics couldn’t save this one.
Winner: Megaparty at Soho House for Silver Linings Playbook, End of Watch and The Reluctant Fundamentalist
Soho House logic: Why have a bunch of small parties when you can have one really huge party? Jennifer Lawrence, Kristen Stewart, Bradley Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal, Woody Harrelson, Kate Hudson and several others must’ve bought into it. Indeed, there was enough star power between Lawrence and Stewart alone to get the third floor opened up: It turns out that they’re friends and needed to catch up, which gave the Soho bash even more celeb-gawking cred.
Loser: Opening Night Party
There are limits to Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s powers, and saving this party was beyond them. It was sparsely attended (Emily Blunt being the only other notable), and there was no dark liquor, which meant the taco bar was missing its better half (delicious, delicious bourbon). But we take comfort in knowing that the move to a new venue didn’t upend the dear TIFF tradition of terrible opening night parties.
4. Film Title
Winner: Casting By
Never before has a TIFF film so successfully captured the feeling that a PR rep hit SEND before completing the email subject line. For that reason alone, this doc on the casting agents who secretly redefined Hollywood behind the scenes gets our nod for most memorable—and therefore best—film title.
Loser: The Place Beyond the Pines
Okay, it’s not quite as bad as last year’s loser, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, but once again the highest-ticket–distribution purchase (estimated to be around $3 million) had the lamest name, sitting in that grey zone between portentous and pretentious. The runner-up, for similar reasons: Silver Linings Playbook.
The Lion was all over this festival. Snoop was positively shameless on Twitter, drumming up hype from his celeb friends for Reincarnated, the documentary that follows his Rasta reinvention in Jamaica. And, of course, it was as the Lion that Snoop delivered what might have been the festival’s best press conference moment.
The Dogg got a lot less exposure at TIFF—but make no mistake, he’s certainly not gone. As Snoop put it at the Reincarnated presser, “I’m Snoop motherfuckin’ Dogg till the day I die, but at the same time when I’m making my reggae music I’m in the light of the Lion. But if you disrespect me or get out of pocket, you will get the motherfucking dog.”