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Benedict Cumberbatch, Denis Villeneuve, others to be honoured at the 2021 Toronto Film Festival

The 2021 Toronto International Film Festival, which opens September 9th, has released details of its upcoming awards, to be presented during the course of the ten-day festival. Co-directors of the festival, Joana Vicente and Cameron Bailey, announced that Benedict Cumberbatch is the choice for this year’s TIFF Tribute Actor Award.

Previous recipients of the prestigious award include Meryl Streep, Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet, and Sir Anthony Hopkins. Festival director Vicente commented that Cumberbatch “has an uncanny ability to take on interesting, complex roles and make them his own,” adding, “He has had a lasting relationship with TIFF, including two TIFF People’s Choice Award-winning films.” Cumberbatch joins a list of recently announced TIFF honourees, including his fellow actor-prize recipient, two-time Academy Award® nominee Jessica Chastain.

Also being recognised at the 2021 festival are documentary filmmaker, writer, singer, and activist Alanis Obomsawin, who will be honoured with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media supported by Participant Media; and Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Denis Villeneuve, who will receive the TIFF Ebert Director Award at this year’s Awards broadcast. Additional TIFF Tribute Award recipients will be announced in the coming weeks.

The TIFF Tribute Awards honour the film industry’s outstanding contributors and their achievements, recognising leading industry members, acting talent, directorial expertise, new talent, and a below-the-line artist and creator. The Awards also serve as TIFF’s largest annual fundraiser to support TIFF’s year-round programmes and core mission to transform the way people see the world through film. This year’s event will raise funds for TIFF’s diversity, equity and inclusion initiative and champion a safe, community-focused and inspiring return to cinemas.

In 2020 the TIFF Tribute Awards celebrated the remarkable talents and contributions of Mira Nair, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Kate Winslet, Chloé Zhao, Terence Blanchard, and Tracey Deer, some of whom went on to win awards on the international stage — such as Zhao (Nomadland) and Hopkins (The Father). Meryl Streep, Taika Waititi, Mati Diop, Joaquin Phoenix, and cinematographer Roger Deakins were celebrated during the Awards’ inaugural event in 2019.