Benedict Cumberbatch as gay code breaker Alan Turing in The Imitation Game has won the Toronto International Film Festival's Grolsch People's Choice Winner, the festival's top prize.

Writing at, Pete Hammond said the award, which is voted on by fans, “can be a real harbinger of things to come in Oscar season. In fact, last year's eventual Best Picture winner, 12 Years a Slave, took the same prize.”

The film follows the life of Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician who helped crack the German Enigma machine code – a triumph of computer science and a turning point for the Allies in World War II.

After the war, Turing was charged and convicted with gross indecency for participating in a sexual relationship with another man. He received a sentence of chemical castration and later committed suicide.

The Imitation Game, which opens stateside on November 21, also stars Keira Knightly as Joan Clarke, a fellow code-breaker engaged to Turing for a short time before he confessed he was gay.