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It is acknowledged that the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) used to be called "Festival of Festivals" before it became called TIFF in 1994. But it existed with the previous name since 1976. The following 11 films went on to get Oscars, but all of them in or after 1998:

  1. Life Is Beautiful (1998),
  2. American Beauty (1999),
  3. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000),
  4. Slumdog Millionaire (2008),
  5. The King's Speech (2010),
  6. 12 Years a Slave (2013),
  7. The Imitation Game (2014),
  8. Room (2015),
  9. La La Land (2016),
  10. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017),
  11. Green Book (2018)

Variety magazine said in 1998 that TIFF "is second only to Cannes in terms of high-profile pics, stars, and market activity", so it was already big by 1998. Was there any specific thing that changed between 1976 and 1998 (other than changing the name from "Festival of Festivals" to "TIFF" in 1994 and the fact that Hollywood studios started making submissions to TIFF at some point during that time but well before 1998) that caused this drastic change?

  • From a quick fact check; Almost all of the films you mention were first premiered at the Telluride Film Festival, before latterly being shown at Toronto. I think this question is false premise...? – John Smith Optional Aug 27 at 14:18
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I suspect there were several factors contributing to this, but the main one probably is related to the change in name from “Festival of Festivals.” As originally conceived, it showed the best films from other film festivals - hence I would think no premiers were held there and it wouldn’t be associated with big films.

The name change was not just a rebranding; it was a complete change of direction to become a film festival for new films in its own right.

If you look at the list of winners of the People’s Choice Award, you’ll see Academy Award winners and nominees almost from the beginning, e.g. Chariots of Fire( 1981), which premiered six months earlier at the Royal Film Performance.

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