This post has been updated.
TORONTO — The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) has wrapped for another year and, by most accounts, it was a far tamer affair than in years past.
Many of the A-list stars — notably Keira Knigthley, Reese Witherspoon and Sandra Bullock — made fleeting and tightly controlled appearances. George Clooney didn’t make a surprise visit (although his buddy Brad Pitt did) and Meryl Streep called in sick (although if she was faking we’d never know because she’s that good).
Taylor Swift breezed through the festival just long enough to cause a fan frenzy on Yonge Street and to spark rumours of a new romance simply by posing for a photo with young actor Brenton Thwaites.
A dearth of glamour and lack of scandal kept TIFF mostly out of the celebrity weeklies but out-of-town guests couldn’t stop talking about the weather — chilly at the start, downright cold at the end and so hot and sticky in the middle that Daniel Radcliffe had to strip naked in all three of his movies.
If TIFF is about the movies, though, it was a good year.
Audiences were treated to a slate that had everything from The Fifth Estate and Oscar bait (12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club) to the aforementioned Swift mate Thwaites (star of Oculus) and guys who masturbate (Joseph Gordon-Levitt in Don Jon, Pier-Gabriel Lajoie in Gerontophilia).
Here’s a fun look back at TIFF 2013:
By the numbers
By the time the last square-metre of red carpet is rolled up, TIFF will have showcased 366 films from 70 countries on 28 screens around the city. In all, 31,362 minutes of film and video was screened — from the shortest (the two-minute CRIME: Joe Loya – The Beirut Bandit) to the longest (the 250-minute Norte: The End of History).
The big winners
Never mind the movies — the biggest winner at TIFF this year was Dundas Street West restaurant Hudson Kitchen. Still not open to the public, it hosted Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (seven days apart, sadly) and a long list of boldface names. The result is tons of free press and social media buzz.
Runner-up for biggest winner of TIFF? The company or companies that rent metal barricades. Kilometres of the unsightly fences lined the sidewalks outside TIFF theatres as well as bars, hotels and party venues to contain the common folks.
Lest we forget
This year’s TIFF celebrated two popular movies that had their debuts at the festival.
TIFF marked the 30th anniversary of The Big Chill, which had its world premiere in 1983 at what was then known as The Festival of Festivals, with a special screening at the Princess of Wales Theatre that brought stars Glenn Close, Kevin Kline, Meg Tilly, JoBeth Williams and Mary Kay Place back together.
At Ryerson Theatre, an all-star cast — including Josh Brolin, Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis — did a live reading of Boogie Nights, a film that premiered at TIFF in 1997.
Separated at birth
It was a big year at TIFF for Canadian actress Molly Parker (who didn’t have a film at the fest) thanks to her doppelgänger, August: Osage County star Julianne Nicholson.
At the world premiere of Half of a Yellow Sun, Thandie Newton announced she’s pregnant with her third child. Pregnant Kate Winslet luckily did not go into labour at the premiere of Labor Day. Zach Galifianakis, ironically, skipped the world premiere of his film You Are Here because his wife was about to give birth to their first child.
An American movie blogger made more headlines than a corduroy pillow when he called 911 to report excessive use of mobile devices during a TIFF press screening.
Less coverage was given to the dozens of people who called 911 to report Nicolas Cage’s hairline. (Yes, we totally made that up.)
Steel wheels keep on turnin’
Most of the stars came to TIFF by air — either on commercial flights or private jets. Jay Baruchel, though, arrived at the festival for the world premiere of The Art of the Steal by train, choosing to ride the rails from Montreal, where he lives.
Naughty and nice
TIFF had its fair share of stars who know how to turn on the charm in front of cameras and then turn it off around common folks. Yes, Johansson and Bateman, we’re talking about you. Then there are the ones who take themselves far too seriously (there will be no friend request for a certain star of The Social Network).
But pleasant stars were aplenty, too — the ones who recognize they owe their careers to fans and that they’ve been flown to TIFF to be ogled. The list includes Juliette Lewis, Daniel Radcliffe and Taylor Kitsch.
The award for crowd-pleasing celebrity at this year’s TIFF goes to Benedict Cumberbatch, who had three films at the festival and was a pro with media and fans alike. At the screening of 12 Years a Slave, for example, he finished a round of red carpet interviews and then dashed back out to the crowds on King Street to pose for pics and sign autographs.
Here’s a look at some more celebrity moments at TIFF:
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