Lee Daniels' "Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire"
has taken top honors at the Toronto International Film Festival, becoming the first film in history to win audience awards at both Toronto and Sundance.
Daniels was not able to attend the ceremony, but sent his regards. "I wish I could be there to accept this award on behalf of the film, but I just landed in San Sebastian, Spain, and I'm on my way to the film's premiere here in just a few hours," Daniels said in his absence. "Though I cannot begin to express my gratitude, as the audience award holds such a special meaning. I made this film for every person out there who ever looked in the mirror, and felt unsure about the person looking back at them. This is not an art film for a select few. This is a movie for everyone that can relate to. This film is for all precious girls, and for everyone who has a little precious on the inside."
"Precious," which stars Gabourey Sidibe, Mo'Nique, Paula Patton and Mariah Carey, was acquired by Lionsgate shortly after its Sundance premiere, and was a big hit in Toronto. Executive producers Oprah Winfrey and Tyler Perry were on hand to present the movie at the festival, creating a significant frenzy with the locals. It will next screen at the upcoming New York Film Festival before opening in theaters this November, and its Toronto win only further cements its status as force to be reckoned with come Oscar season. Previous winners of Toronto's top honor include "American Beauty," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon," 'Hotel Rwanda," and last year's "Slumdog Millionaire".