Director Steve McQueen's 19th century-set drama "12 Years a Slave" won the Toronto International Film Festival's highest honor -- the People's Choice Award.
The Hollywood Reporter said the prize, awarded Sunday, is a sign the movie is headed to the Oscars since numerous previous winners of the TIFF audience award have gone on to earn recognition in Hollywood.
Four TIFF audience award winners -- "Chariots of Fire," "American Beauty," "Slumdog Millionaire" and "The King's Speech" -- even went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture.
Based on a true story, "12 Years a Slave" stars Chiwetel Ejiofor as Solomon Northup, a free black man from New York who is kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South where he endures unspeakable hardships and witnesses atrocities committed against other black men and women for more than a decade before his fate takes another turn.
The film co-stars Michael Fassbender, Sarah Paulson, Alfre Woodard, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Dano and Brad Pitt.
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