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Turing biopic wins Toronto film festival audience prize

15 september 2014, 12:16

 A biographical picture of British codebreaker and war hero Alan Turing, featuring an Oscar-bait performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, on Sunday won the Toronto film festival audience prize for best picture, AFP reports.

Turing was a brilliant Cambridge mathematician and pioneer of computer sciences who broke Nazi codes for the British military during the Second World War, helping to shorten the war.

He ended his life in sadness, committing suicide in 1954 at the age of 41, two years after being convicted of the then crime of homosexuality.

Turing was awarded a posthumous pardon by Queen Elizabeth II last December following a long campaign by supporters.

Cumberbatch has been generating Oscar buzz for his portrayal of the computer sciences pioneer in Norwegian director Morten Tyldum's "The Imitation Game," about Turing's work at code and cypher center Bletchley Park.

A nod from Toronto audiences is sure to firm the movie as a favorite at the Academy awards.

"There was something very subtle, uncompromising and unusual about (Turing) but also very quiet and stoic," Cumberbatch said earlier this week in Toronto.

"He didn't knowingly martyr himself. He was just true to himself. He didn't see himself as a victim or a hero, he just did work and behaved true to his nature.

"I think he would be the last person to describe himself as a hero, so that made it easier to portray him."

"The Imitation Game" also stars Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode and Allen Leech of the hit television series "Downton Abbey."

The runners up for the Toronto film festival People's Choice Award were Isabel Coixet's "Learning to Drive," about a writer (Patricia Clarkson) who finds solace in driving lessons with a Sikh instructor (Ben Kingsley), and Theodore Melfi's feature debut "St. Vincent," starring Bill Murray as a cantankerous, cash-strapped, loose-living retiree.

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