This festival circuit has had more twists than a thriller and more drama than Oscar bait, particularly where the Don’t Worry Darling gang is concerned. After all the hubbub at Venice, the Toronto International Film Festival has been relatively low-key—but rest assured part-time pop star, part-time actor Harry Styles is still on the scene for his other film My Policeman. And second time’s the charm, because this time around, he’s nabbed a fancy acting award for his efforts.
It’s one he shares with the rest of the My Policeman cast: the ensemble collectively won a TIFF Tribute Award for Performance, per Deadline. The acknowledgment is interesting, as the film (currently sitting at 50% on Rotten Tomatoes, though it’s early days) has been knocked by reviewers for the disconnect between the young cast (Styles, Emma Corrin, and David Dawson) and the older versions of their characters (Linus Roache, Gina McKee, and Rupert Everett).
As for Styles himself, who was mostly deemed well out of his depth opposite Florence Pugh in DWD, reactions are mixed. Deadline’s Pete Hammond writes, “Styles is quickly proving to be the real deal as an actor, and he is very convincing here as a man lost in deception with his wife.” But IndieWire’s Ryan Lattanzio calls it “a performance that registers as a blank beyond inscrutable gazes and sappy breakdowns,” while The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney opines that “Styles lacks the technique as an actor to convey” the conflict of being a gay police officer during a time where homosexuality was illegal.
As festival season turns into awards season, it seems dubious that Styles’ name will be at the top of anyone’s list. The other TIFF awardees, however, are probably a better signal of what’s to come. Brendan Fraser accepted a Tribute Award for his role in The Whale (He joked, “This is new for me. Normally I am the guy handing these things out. I got pretty good at it. The trick is–left-hand hold, right-hand shake”). Oscar winner Sam Mendes, who was there for his film Empire Of Light, won the TIFF Ebert Director Award, and Everything Everywhere All At Once’s Michelle Yeoh received the “Share Her Journey Groundbreaker Award by Bulgari.” Those are power players you can definitely expect to hear from again as the season continues. And Styles, well, he’ll always have TIFF.