The biopic of gay mathematician and codebreaker Alan Turing got a great boost to its Oscar chances over the weekend by picking up the Grolsch People’s Choice Award at the Toronto International Film Festival.
While the reviews from its first screenings were somewhat mixed, the prize will help keep the movie at the forefront of Oscar voters minds in the run-up to awards season. Even those reviews that had issues with the film have praised Benedict Cumberbatch’s performance as Turing, with many seeing him as a shoe-in for his first Academy Award nomination.
Turing was a pioneer of modern-day computing who is credited with helping crack the fiendish German codes, such as Enigma, during the Second World War. The film chronicles the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team at Britain’s top-secret code-breaking centre, Bletchley Park. Turing, whose contributions and genius significantly shortened the war, saving thousands of lives, was the eventual victim of an unenlightened British Establishment.
Tragically in the 1950s Turing admitted to the police he was gay while reporting a robbery, believing they would protect him and catch those who’d stolen from him. Instead it was him who found himself in court. After he was convicted he was shunned by the establishment and despite his incredible mind he found himself pushed to the sidelines. He committed suicide (although some say it was an accident) not too long afterwards.
The film will be in cinemas in November.