The Northern Red Carpet: The stars and buzz of TIFF 2016

by | Sep 21, 2016 | Entertainment, Events, Television, Twitter

Ten days, 400 films, and endless yards of red carpet later, the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is a wrap. The crew here at MediaMiser used our patented software to track tweets for the entire festival — that’s over 200,000 tweets from opening day to closing night — to see which stars, which films, and which awards got the most traction (ahem…that’s Twitter action).

We might as well jump right in.

La La Land had a big festival. Pegged by critics to be the top film this year, the Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone musical feature came away with the People’s Choice Award AND the most mentions on Twitter, appearing in more than 13,000 tweets across the 10 days. For context, second place, Before the Flood, came away with just over half that.

TIFF 2016 Top Movies

When it came to the thespians themselves, La La Land stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone also did pretty well, ending up as the fourth- and seventh-most mentioned actors, respectively.

TIFF 2016 Top Actors

Many of the tweets that mentioned Gosling touched on the fact that the Canadian actor was screening a film in Canada, pointing out that it was a homecoming of sorts. When Gosling and Stone were asked what it was like to work together for the third time, Gosling quipped that he thinks Stone is secretly Canadian, and that’s why they get along so well.

The runners-up for TIFF’s People’s Choice included Queen of Katwe and Lion, but neither of which cracked our top 10 most mentioned films. The reason for their omission might be as simple as the fact that neither included an A-list actor in their casts (psst…people like the big names!).

Comparing the list of award winners to the list of most mentioned films on Twitter, we found that many of the independent films, the type that TIFF was truly known for in the early days, were not at all popular on Twitter. Mainstream and A-list actors drive mentions on social media…and evidently result in People’s Choice awards.

Only two other TIFF award winners from this year made their way onto the top 10 films on Twitter: Free Fire and Jackie. Actress Brie Larson, of Free Fire, just made it into the top ten, while Jackie star Natalie Portman was on the outside at No. 12.

Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate-change documentary, Before the Flood, was the second-most mentioned film, however, only sneak peaks of the documentary were screened at TIFF. Nevertheless, our boy Leo was the most mentioned actor of the festival (tweets included a range of sentiment about both the film and the actor himself). A majority of the tweets expressed the feeling that the documentary was more about the actor than its supposed subject. Perhaps there won’t be much Oscar buzz for Leo this year?

Of course, no film festival would be complete without fans camping out and waiting to catch a glimpse of their favourite stars as they move about the city and walk the red carpet. Leo’s fans were out in full force, waiting to see the star. So, while Leo was the most mentioned actor, it wasn’t always because of his documentary. The star gazing definitely drove the actor’s Twitter mentions higher than his peers.

Surprisingly Matthew McConaughey, who loaned his voice to the animated feature film Sing, did not make it to our top 10 most mentioned actors list. In fact, he was only the 20th-most mentioned actor on Twitter. McConaughey’s co-stars Tori Kelly and Jennifer Hudson were third and fifth, thanks to the singers giving a live performance after the screening of Sing.

With TIFF kicking off the beginning of the film festival season, it will be interesting to see where the People’s Choice and most mentioned film, La La Land, end up when the Oscars roll around. The Internet is already full of Oscar predictions, with many of the films from TIFF being touted as having a chance to win best film, including La La Land, Jackie, Lion, Manchester by the Sea, and Nocturnal Animals, just to name a few. We look forward to monitoring the rest of the awards shows this season to see where these films and their stars end up when all is said and done.


Stephanie Luedee
Stephanie has been with Agility PR Solutions for nine years, first as a media analyst on the Customer Success team, and more recently as a data analyst with the Media Insights Group. She currently oversees monthly and quarterly analysis reports for retail and entertainment clients. Stephanie also recently earned her AMEC certification.


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