Laurie May, co-president of Maple Pictures, accepts the People's Choice Award on behalf of Lee Daniels for the film 'Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire' during the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival Awards Reception in Toronto, Ontario on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009.
An American movie about an abused teen named Precious on Saturday won the top People's Choice award at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
The prize is often seen as an indicator of future U.S. Academy Award nominations, as past recipients included Oscar best picture winners "Slumdog Millionaire" and "American Beauty."
Raw, vibrant and resoundingly hopeful, the film "Precious," based on the novel "Push" by Sapphire and directed by Lee Daniels, is at heart the story of a young woman determined to better herself despite overwhelming obstacles set against her. Before coming to Toronto, the film wowed audiences at Sundance Film Festival, taking the grand jury and audience awards there.
Piers Handling, TIFF's co-director, said that the remarkable success of "Precious" is not unlike last year's surprise sensation "Slumdog Millionaire."
Daniels, who had already left Toronto to debut the film at Spain's San Sebastian Film Festival, said in a release that the audience award "holds such an important meaning."
"I made this film for every person out there who ever looked in the mirror and felt unsure about the person looking back," he said. "This is not an art film for a select few. This is a movie that everyone can relate to."