The Imitation Game wins Toronto Film Festival's Grolsch People’s Choice Award

Benedict Cumberbatch stars as mathematical genius Alan Turing

Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

A Second World War drama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as British code-breaker Alan Turing has won the top prize at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The Imitation Game, directed by Morten Tyldum, was awarded the Grolsch People’s Choice Award on Sunday.

Cumberbatch has also been tipped to win an Oscar for his performance as the mathematical genius, who lives with the pressure of hiding his sexuality at a time when homosexuality was criminalised.

The Sherlock actor appears alongside Keira Knightly and Matthew Goode in what is the first English language film directed by Norwegian filmmaker Tyldum.

Following the announcement, festival artistic director Cameron Bailey told the Toronto Star: "It’s a terrific story and it’s a story that’s not that well-known.

“You’ve got terrific direction - Morten Tyldum was here before with Headhunters - and one of the best actors and stars in the world right now in Benedict Cumberbatch.”

Three of the past six People's Choice Award winners have gone on to win the Oscar for best picture, including The King's Speech, Slumdog Millionaire and last year's victor, 12 Years a Slave.

Cumberbatch has previously spoken out about encountering homophobia in his own life, claiming that boys at his school were subject to prejudice.

He told The Daily Beast that he rebuked some of his schoolmates who were targeting their gay peers, saying: "You’ve really got to wake up to the fact that the world is full of disgusting prejudice because we are all different from one another.

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“You have to learn acceptance at this school, and you have to go into the world as a better person, and you have to try and embrace the fact that people are different rather than defining yourself by not being like them. Who cares that they’re gay? You have to coexist."

The Imitation Game is set to open the London Film Festival in October.

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