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Film Villeneuve’s Enemy wins $100,000 Toronto critics’ prize for best Canadian film of 2014

A character played by Jake Gyllenhaal confronts his double in Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy.

Enemy, a psychological thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal as a Toronto history professor who discovers he has an exact double who's an actor, has won the $100,000 Toronto Film Critics Association's 2014 Rogers Best Canadian Film Award.

The prize was presented to director Denis Villeneuve at a gala dinner Tuesday night at the Carlu in Toronto.

Enemy beat out two other nominees, The F Word, directed by Michael Dowse, and Mommy, directed by Xavier Dolan, which appeared in competition at Cannes last May. Each of the runner-up directors received a cheque for $5,000.

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"By embracing this nervy psychodrama, our critics have plucked a dark gem from art-house obscurity and held it up to the light," said TFCA president Brian D. Johnson.

This is the third time Quebec-native Villeneuve has won the Toronto critics' top prize, having previously won for Polytechnique (2009) and Incendies (2010). Enemy, with themes of totalitarianism and the destruction of individuality, is adapted from a novel by Nobel Prize-winning Portuguese author Jose Saramago.

The Rogers Best Canadian Film Award, which goes to the director of the winning film, is the most lucrative annual film prize in Canada and the biggest arts prize, tied with the annual Scotiabank Giller Prize for fiction. The TFCA consists of 40 broadcast and print film journalists based in Toronto.

In other awards announced Tuesday night, the $5,000 Manulife Best Student Film Award went to York University's Eui Yong Zong for Leftover, a short drama about a North Korean refugee family living in Toronto.

Other TFCA awards were announced last month, including Best Film to U.S. director Richard Linklater's Boyhood; Linklater also took best-directing honours. Best actor went to Tom Hardy for Locke, and best actress to Marion Cotillard in The Immigrant.

Also previously announced was TIFF director Piers Handling as winner of the Technicolor Clyde Gilmour Award, who picked filmmaker Randall Okita to receive $50,000 in film lab services donated by Technicolor.

In addition, Albert Shin, director of the South Korean-set drama In Her Place, received the $5,000 Scotiabank Jay Scott Prize for an emerging artist. The prize is named after the esteemed Globe and Mail film critic Jay Scott, who died in 1993 at the age of 43.

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As well, American director Jesse Moss won $5,000 for his documentary The Overnighters, winner of this year's Joe Fresh Allan King Documentary Award.

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