Riceboy Sleeps is the winner of the Rogers Best Canadian Film Award from the Toronto Film Critics Association. Cree-Métis actor Tantoo Cardinal presented the award to cap off the critics’ annual gala, which was hosted by Amanda Brugel (Infinity Pool, The Handmaid’s Tale) at the OMNI King Edward Hotel in Toronto. The award carries a cash prize of $100,000—the largest purse in Canadian film—courtesy of Rogers. Actor Ethan Hwang accepted the award on behalf of director Anthony Shim, who was unable to attend due to commitments with a TV shoot. Shim sent a video note of thanks as well.
Shim’s drama is the story of a single mother (Choi Seung-yoon) who moves to Canada from South Korea with her son (played by Ethan Hwang and Dohyun Noel Hwang). Riceboy Sleeps has been a heavy favourite on the festival circuit this year, winning the Platform Prize at TIFF, Best Canadian Film at the Windsor International Film Festival, and the Jean Marc Vallée DGC Discovery Award from the Directors Guild of Canada, among other honours.
Also nominated for the TFCA’s Rogers Award were Brother, directed by Clement Virgo, and Crimes of the Future, directed by David Cronenberg. The filmmakers each received a prize of $5,000, courtesy of Rogers. Brother stars Lamar Johnson and Kiana Madeira were on hand to present a clip from their film, while The Flash actor Robbie Amell presented a clip from Crimes of the Future.
Other presenters included TIFF CEO Cameron Bailey, who gave the Company 3 Luminary Award to retired TIFF Canadian programmer Steve Gravestock. The prize let Gravestock bestow $50,000 in services from Company 3 to a filmmaker of his choosing. In a first, Gravestock shared the purse with two filmmakers: Hugh Gibson and Freida Luk. Actor Rick Mercer presented the Stella Artois Jay Scott Prize for an Emerging Artist to filmmaker Carol Nguyen, while actor Maitreyi Ramakrishnan (Turning Red) and Telefilm Canada Interim Executive Director Francesca Accinelli presented the Telefilm Canada Emerging Critic Award to Michelle Krasovitski. The awards carry prizes of $10,000 and $1000, respectively.
The dinner, sponsored by Netflix, included thank you videos from several winners, including Laura Poitras, whose All the Beauty and the Bloodshed won the Allan King Documentary Award. Other words of thanks came from Best Picture winner Charlotte Wells and her Aftersun lead Paul Mescal, actor Ke Huy Quan (Everything Everywhere All at Once), and Toronto-born filmmaker Domee Shi (Turning Red).