Green Book, the story of an Italian-American nightclub bouncer who becomes the driver for an African-American pianist in the 1960s, won the Grolsch People’s Choice Award Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival.
The movie, from director Peter Farrelly, stars Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali, who won an Oscar for his performance in Moonlight.
It follows the true story of New York hustler Tony Lip (Mortensen) and world-class pianist Don Shirley (Ali).
In the 1960s, Lip — who wasn’t exactly a fan of black people — was hired to drive Shirley on a concert tour from New York City to the Deep South. Because of Jim Crow laws, they were forced to rely on “The Green Book,” a travel guide listing establishments that allowed blacks.
The film’s first-place selection by Toronto audience members makes it a major contender this awards season. It will arrive in theaters on Nov. 21.
Among the other movies vying for the People’s Choice Award, Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk was named first runner-up and Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA was the second runner-up, the festival said in a press release.
The documentary Free Solo about solo mountain climber Alex Honnold, won the People’s Choice Documentary Award.