Kate Winslet, Anthony Hopkins and more honoured at the 2020 TIFF Tribute Awards

Plus Regina King, Ava DuVernay, Nicole Kidman, Shawn Mendes and more share the love.
Published September 15, 2020 9:05 p.m. EST
Last Updated September 18, 2020 12:00 a.m. EST
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The TIFF Tribute Awards aired Tuesday night (streaming now on CTV), and as previously announced, the virtual ceremony featured some huge Hollywood heavyweights not only presenting the awards, but also on the receiving end. Hosted by eTalk’s own Tyrone Edwards and Chloe Wilde, the ceremony honoured the best artists working in the industry today while also harkening back to some of the greatest TIFF red carpet moments and the World Premieres that went on to smash it on Oscar night. From Shawn Mendes covering Stevie Wonder to Tracey Deer's tearful acceptance speech to Colin Farrell's bandana to Kate Winslet and Anthony Hopkins dedicating their honours to frontline workers, here are all the must-see moments from the night.

Martin Scorsese’s heartfelt ode to film

None of the presenters and award recipients were actually at the TIFF Bell Lightbox for the ceremony and instead offered their remarks via video. So famed director Martin Scorsese opened the awards by addressing the elephant in the room and speaking about the current state of cinema. He emphasized that since the global pandemic has forced us all to stay home and seen many lives taken, cinema cannot and should not be viewed as frivolity, or “comfort food.” If anything, we need it now more than ever. “We can never remind people enough that this remarkable art form has always been and always will be much more than a diversion. Cinema, film, movies, at its best, is a source of wonder and inspiration.”

Mira Nair reminds us our stories matter

A Suitable Boy director Mira Nair was honoured with the Jeff Skoll Award in Impact Media for her contributions like Monsoon Wedding, Vanity Fair and The Queen of Katwe (which premiered at TIFF in 2016). After an introduction from Bollywood mega-star Tabu, Nair accepted her award with a reminder that, even though we might not think so, our own unique perspectives and stories in this life matter.“I have often said that if we don’t tell our own stories, no one else will, but it doesn’t stop at that. In telling those stories, I have discovered the great power of listening, of the possibility of making bridges, the possibility of translation, of being porous. So I accept this award really in honour of those stories that herald the idiosyncratic, the unseen, the unspoken, the unsaid, the baffling—here’s to them!”[video_embed id='6191004485001'] WATCH: Director Mira Nair on the 'great power of listening' she learned through telling stories [/video_embed]

Honouring the career of composer Terence Blanchard

As Tyrone reminded us that 2020 has been a year of reckoning for anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism, actors Regina King and Delroy Lindo took the virtual stage to introduce the TIFF Variety Artisan Award recipient: film composer and jazz musician Terence Blanchard. Blanchard has scored some of the best cinematic moments that highlight Black stories, Black characters, and Black filmmakers. Both King and Lindo gushed about Blanchard’s work, which includes King’s own directorial debut, One Night In Miami, and many of Spike Lee’s biggest films, including Malcolm X, Jungle Fever, and BlackkKlansman. If you didn’t snap your fingers and tap your foot during the clip compilation of some of his most amazing scores, we don’t believe you! In his acceptance speech, Blanchard made sure to declare his undying love for the city of Toronto as well as for the festival itself. Toronto loves you back, sir![video_embed id='6191003609001'] WATCH: Terence Blanchard accepts TIFF Variety Artisan Award and shares how film 'expanded his creative abilities' [/video_embed]

TIFF shout-outs from the biggest film stars

Sometimes it’s hard to believe that huge Holllywood heavyweights like Nicole Kidman, Natalie Portman, Brie Larson and directors Alfonso Cuarón and Denis Villeneuve have all walked the TIFF red carpet and hung out casually around downtown Toronto. So the fact that they sent in videos professing their huge admiration for the festival and the city was a huge delight during the ceremony.Absolutely gushing about how much fun they had, and what TIFF means to them, director Danny Boyle and Dev Patel spoke about Slumdog Millionaire catching attention first at TIFF before it became an Oscar phenom. Canada’s darling Sarah Polley said that she couldn’t imagine premiering her films anywhere but TIFF. Orphan Black star Tatiana Maslany and director Jason Reitman shared their favourite memories from TIFF and how it was the best launching pad for their films and careers. But I Care A Lot star Rosamund Pike just saying “TIFF” over and over again as she stared far into the camera is a mood.

Tracey Deer’s emotional speech had us all sniffling

As if having director Ava DuVernay present her with the TIFF Emerging Talent Award wasn’t enough to make for an emotional moment, Beans director Tracey Deer had a generation-spanning acceptance speech prepared. She held it together pretty well, but she did get a little teary when thanking her dear mother for always encouraging her and telling her that she can do anything she puts her mind to. “My mother is always right and if she believed I could do it, I believed I could do it,” she said.“This is something all of our Indigenous kids need to hear,” Deer continued. “Their dreams are important; their voices are important; and together we need to make a society that is safe for them and that they can thrive in.” Deer is the first Mohawk woman to receive this award and she dedicated it to Indigenous children and their futures.[video_embed id='6191002137001'] WATCH: Director Tracey Deer delivers an emotional message thanking her mom [/video_embed]

Shawn Mendes covering Stevie Wonder

Of course we haven’t forgotten about Toronto’s boyfriend Shawn Mendes—his piano rendition of Stevie Wonder’s classic hit, “Love is in Need of Love Today,” moved us all a little closer to our TV screens. The singer serenaded the audience from home before officially launching the TIFF Changemaker Award as a partnership between TIFF and the Shawn Mendes Foundation. Honestly, just watch it for yourself below.[video_embed id='6190993576001'] WATCH: Shawn Mendes performs Stevie Wonder's 'Love’s in Need of Love Today' [/video_embed]

Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins toast to life

Everyone’s favourite Oscar-speech-giver (oh and actress) Olivia Colman presented the TIFF Tribute Actor Award to celebrated and revered actor Sir Anthony Hopkins for his performance in The Father. During her presentation, Olivia, who co-stars in the film, noted that after filming some of the incredibly taxing and draining scenes in The Father, Hopkins would turn to her and quip, “Isn’t life beautiful?” As luck would have it, during his acceptance speech, Hopkins made sure to echo those words by thanking frontline workers and first responders all around the world during the pandemic with, “Have a great day, have a great life!”[video_embed id='6190996890001'] WATCH: Sir Anthony Hopkins says he is astonished he is still working at his age [/video_embed]

Colin Farrell’s bandana

Presenting Nomadland director Chloé Zhao with the TIFF Ebert Director Award, Colin Farrell gushed about Zhao’s talent via video as he wore a bandana and a cutoff shirt like the sexy Irish dream he is. “I personally cannot think of a more deeply empathetic filmmaker,” he said of Zhao with nothing but love in his voice. Has his bandana received its own Twitter account yet tho? Make it happen, Twitterverse!Humbled by Colin’s bandana words, and amazed by how beautiful and connected TIFF is this year, Zhao revealed in her acceptance speech that in the beginning of her career, it was so competitive that she was worried about being left by the wayside. “I feel incredibly lucky that the people I work with are there when I’m succeeding and even more when I fail," she said.[video_embed id='6190996366001'] WATCH: Filmmaker Chloé Zhao gives special message to the teams that stood by her [/video_embed]

Jodie Foster gushes about Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet is the other recipient of the prestigious TIFF Tribute Actor Awards this year for her work alongside Saoirse Ronan in Ammonite, and as actor/director Jodie Foster presented her the award, she positively raved about the British actress’s ability and her solidarity with other performers. “Funny, charming, and fiercely talented Kate Winslet!” Foster exclaimed, calling Winslet’s character Clementine from Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind her favourite character. “Kate you are the one who protects us all. You are the lioness! It is a great honour to introduce my hero Kate Winslet!’“I’m now going to put this down otherwise I’ll drop it on my foot!” Kate joked holding up the award. Like Hopkins and Scorsese before her, she admitted that it’s an odd time to be receiving an award when we should be celebrating frontline workers, but as she expressed deep sympathy for effected families."My feelings are heartfelt, as we all endeavor to return to a healthier reality—one that is altered enough to create space for an abuncance of compassion, gratitude, kindness and respect for each other and humankind regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation or faith," she said.[video_embed id='6190998029001'] WATCH: Kate Winslet praises front line workers while accepting award [/video_embed]Watch the entire 2020 TIFF Tribute Awards on CTV.The 2020 Toronto International Film Festival runs from September 10 to September 19.[video_embed id='-1']BEFORE YOU GO: Big dog gives some attitude to owner for not sharing food [/video_embed]