"Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" stars Idris Elba and Naomie Harris were honored at the inaugural Breakthrough in Film Awards event yesterday evening in Toronto. The Hollywood Reporter created the award to recognize standout talent at the Toronto International Film Festival(TIFF). The magazine's executive editor Matthew Belloni said of the award: "Toronto is a place to discover films and great performances, so it makes sense to give the award here."
Elba portrays South African leader Nelson Mandela, and Harris stars as his wife Winnie. Twitter was buzzing after "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" screened this week, as the film received an eight-minute standing ovation as the lights came up at TIFF. Los Angeles Times Arts & Entertainment writer Steven Zeitchik tweeted during the ovation. "Standing ovation for Mandela at three minutes and counting" he wrote.
Idris Elba is having a phenomenal year. His hit BBC television series Luther just began another mini season. He also starred in July's "Pacific Rim", which recently crossed the $400 million mark at the worldwide box office. With his turn as Mandela, Elba follows in the footsteps of Morgan Freeman, who portrayed the iconic figure in Clint Eastwood's "Invictus" in 2009. In similar fashion, Oscar buzz is surrounding him as well.
Naomie Harris' first high-profile role was in Danny Boyle's "28 Days Later", the zombie thriller that also introduced the U.S. to Cillian Murphy. She had a role in "Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End" and lent her vocal talents to the hit video game Fable III. Last year brought her most high profile role yet, starring alongside Daniel Craig in Sam Mendes' "Skyfall." Coincidentally, it was during TIFF in 2010 when Harris first learned that she had landed the role of Winnie Mandela.
Multiplexes nationwide added the "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" trailer to the rotation in recent weeks. The film is expected to hit theaters in late November. The 2013 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival wraps up September 15.