TIFF 2011 Roundup: The winners, and the losers, from this year’s installment of the Toronto International Film Festival

TIFF 2011 Roundup: The winners, and the losers, from this year’s installment of the Toronto International Film Festival

(Images: Christopher Drost)

Well, it’s a wrap. Some might suggest that there are no winners and losers at TIFF, and that the festival is a harmonious celebration of filmmaking and the artistic spirit. For our part, we say these people are wrong. Life is a competition, and we’ve got the goods on the stars, the parties, the neighbourhoods, the red carpet galas and the films that came out on top—and on the bottom—this year, after the jump.

1. Celebrity stars
WINNER: Ryan Gosling
Good looks, red carpet charm, quality performances in Drive and The Ides of March and more good looks have made the Gos the new man about town. We’d like to say the torch has been passed from George Clooney to Gosling, but we’re scared Clooney might beat us to death with it.

LOSER: Madonna
After spitting venom at some poor hydrangeas at the Venice Film Festival, Madge failed to redeem herself here, allegedly having eight TIFF volunteers turn and face a wall to avoid gazing upon her countenance. Plus, we hear her movie sucks.

2. Splashy A-list party
WINNER: David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method after-party

Let’s not kid ourselves—what makes or breaks a TIFF party are the stars, and the party for A Dangerous Method had them by the Cadillac-load: George Clooney, Kiera Knightley, Jon Hamm, Jonah Hill, Jimmy Kimmel, Ewan McGregor, and the list goes on.

LOSER: The CAA Burroughes party
What else makes or breaks a party? Being able to get inside. Sadly, the elevator in the Burroughes building moves slower than Francis Ford Coppola, and the six flights of stairs were packed solid for the Creative Artists Agency’s shindig—stars first, plebeians in the rear.

3. Red carpet gala
The Ides of March
Really, Ryan Gosling is the only star we need—but at this red carpet gala presentation we certainly weren’t starved for choice: George Clooney, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood and, of course, the ever-present Dave Matthews were there, among others.

LOSER: Twixt
The Twixt red carpet presentation had possibly the least glitz, glam and gushing of them all, with only Francis Ford Coppola (a legendary director but not much of a looker) and Val Kilmer (long past his Top Gun glory days) gracing the gala with their presence.

4. Neighbourhood
WINNER: Theatre District
The TIFF Bell Lightbox has officially become a black hole, crushing anything of relevance at TIFF into an extremely fashionable singularity. Oh, and the Ritz-Carlton didn’t hurt matters on that account either (apparently, stars like to stay there).

LOSER: Yorkville
Yorkville has long been the go-to destination for celebrity sightings, but this year saw it tumble into irrelevance (excluding a very dashing Jon Hamm going for a stroll). At least it’ll always have that big rock thing.

5. Film Title
WINNER: This is not a Film

The title succinctly evokes the story of a filmmaker banned from his craft, working in captivity on a project that may never be. No, it’s not a film—it’s a work of art. Honorable mentions: Machine Gun Preacher, Whore’s Glory, We Ate the Children Last and Sorry, Rabbi.

LOSER: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
This title somehow makes the biggest buy of the festival ($5 million) sound like a dry VHS documentary forgotten in some dusty bin in the back of a dilapidated library in Timmins. But maybe that’s what they were going for. Dishonorable mentions: Slow Action, Azhagarsamy’s Horse, Doubles With Slight Pepper and A Film Portrait on Reconstructing 12 Possibilities that Preceded the Disappearance of Zoe Dean Drum.