“12 Years a Slave,” based on an 1853 memoir of a free black man sold into slavery, won the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival on Sunday.

The film, by “Shame” director Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, took home the BlackBerry People’s Choice award.


Chiwetel Ejiofor (L) and Michael Fassbender in ‘12 Years a Slave.’

Recent winners of the People’s Choice award, which is selected by Toronto festival audiences, include Oscar-winners “The King’s Speech” and “Slumdog Millionaire.” Last year, “Silver Linings Playbook” won the festival award.


Ejiofor (center right) and the film are poised for an exciting awards season. Previous TIFF People’s Choice winners have gone on to win big at the Oscars.

The movie opens nationwide on October 18th.


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