Spielberg's auto-biographical drama and Radcliffe's Al Yankovic movie respectively earned the overall TIFF People's Choice Award and the Midnight Madness prize.
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The race to the Oscars just got a new front-running Best Picture contender in Steven Spielberg's The Fabelmans.

Crafted as a semi-autobiographical account of his formative years as a budding filmmaker, The Fabelmans won the TIFF People's Choice Award Sunday at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, taking a prize that has gone to 10 eventual Best Picture winners or nominees — including Nomadland, Green Book, and 12 Years a Slave — across the last 10 years.

(from left) Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), younger Sammy Fabelman (Mateo Zoryan Francis-DeFord) and Mitzi Fabelman (Michelle Williams) in The Fabelmans, co-written and directed by Steven Spielberg.
Paul Dano and Michelle Williams in Steven Spielberg's 'The Fabelmans.'
| Credit: Merie Weismiller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Daniel Radcliffe's Weird: The Al Yankovic Story — directed by Eric Appel and also starring Evan Rachel Wood and Quinta Brunson — joined The Fabelmans among the TIFF award winners, taking the TIFF People's Choice Award in the Midnight Madness section.

Both films landed with big buzz out of the annual festival, which also carried the momentum for other prospective Oscars contenders like Brendan Fraser's The Whale, Sam Mendes' Empire of Light, Sarah Polley's Women Talking (which finished as the People's Choice Award runner-up), Daniel Craig's Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, and Squid Game star Lee Jung-jae's directorial debut Hunt.

PEOPLE and EW 2022 TIFF Portrait Studio
Evan Rachel Wood, Eric Appel, and Daniel Radcliffe of 'Weird: The Al Yankovic Story.'
| Credit: Ari + Louise

In a press statement released after the film's victory, Spielberg called The Fabelmans "the most personal film" he's ever made, and applauded "the warm reception from everyone in Toronto" that the project received.

Speaking at The Fabelmans' world premiere screening at TIFF alongside cast members Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and Paul Dano, Spielberg told the audience that making the film served almost as a therapy session as he worked through his upbringing.

"I thought, if I was going to leave anything behind, what was the thing I need to resolve and unpack about my mom, my dad, and my sisters?" he said, later adding: "This film is, for me, a way of bringing my mom and dad back. And it also brought my sisters, Annie, Susie, and Nancy, closer to me than I ever thought possible. And that was worth making the film."

In an interview at the PEOPLE and EW TIFF studio, Radcliffe said he learned how to play the accordion for Weird, and might keep it up.

"I'm not good at the accordion, but I've come so far with it relative to the nothing that I started at that it seems dumb to just stop playing completely," he said. "I think I'm going to very gradually keep it up over the years, and maybe one day I'll be able to play a song with both hands at the same time."

Universal will release The Fabelmans on Nov. 11, while Weird: The Al Yankovic Story debuts Nov. 4 on The Roku Channel. Watch PEOPLE and EW's interview with the cast and director of Weird at TIFF above.

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