Pre-Oscars Round Up: AFI, LAFCA, NYFCO, Boston, SFFCC

The Artist is now the Oscars favorite. Even the American Film Institute gave it an award and it's a European production.

Sunday was a big day in the magical world of pre-Oscar awards. Mulitple critics groups announced their selections for the best films of 2011. Below are the winners picked by five groups, as not to overwhelm anyone. (Especially myself.)

The Artist continues to be the film to beat, picking up awards from the New York Film Circle Online (NYFCO), Boston Society of Film Critics (BSFC), and a special award from the American Film Institute. But if critics don’t go with The Artist, they choose The Tree of Life, which was named best film by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA) and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle (SFFCC). The best picture race is turning into an East Coast-West Coast rivalry not unlike the Biggie-Tupac rivalry. I would pay good money to see film critics battle each other in the name of The Artist and The Tree of Life.

Michael Shannon (Take Shelter) is emerging as a contender for best actor. Brad Pitt received a best award from the BSFC for his performance in Moneyball. I’ve accepted that Brad Pitt will be nominated for an Oscar, even though he doesn’t do much in Moneyball except stare at statistics. (There is one great scene but that is a testament more to Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay than Pitt’s performance.)

Albert Brooks continues to dominate the best supporting actor category. If one thing is a sure bet at this point, it is Brooks’ nomination and that his biggest competition will be sentimental favorite, Christopher Plummer for Beginners. Jessica Chastain picked up a few wins for her many supporting roles this year as did Melissa McCarthy for Bridesmaids.

The Best Actress category has become a three-way race between Meryl Streep, Michelle Williams and Tilda Swinton. Okay, it is really a two-way race between Streep and Williams. (The Oscar Gods will bend over backwards to give Streep her third Oscar.) But Swinton should be winning all the awards for We Need To Talk About Kevin.

The best sign of things to come from this round of award winners is the rise of Bridesmaids. Can the comedy and Melissa McCarthy score Oscar nominations?  I hope so. Also, one of my favorite 2011 films, Martha Marcy May Marlene is still being slightly shortchanged, winning the New Generation Award from the LAFCA and best new filmmaker award (for director Sean Durkin) from the BSFC.

Speaking of the Boston Society of Film Critics, their support of Kenneth Lonergan’s film Margaret is simply awesome. (Read it here.) I stupidly did not see Margaret when it was briefly playing in NYC, even though it is about exactly what I am interested in: post-9/11 New York. (My undergrad thesis topic was post-9/11 American independent film.) So if anyone wants to help me see Margaret

Unpopular opinion: I'm convinced that I will hate My Week With Marilyn because I am sick of the Marilyn Monroe craze.

The round up of the critics awards winners is below. Share any of your thoughts on the awards season so far in the comments.

New York Film Critics Online:

Picture: The Artist
Director: Michel Hazanavicus, The Artist
Actor: Michael Shannon, Take Shelter (runners-up: Michael Fassbender, Shame and Gary Oldman, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy)
Actress: Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, Drive
Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Breakthrough Performer: Jessica Chastain
Debut Director: Joe Cornish Attack the Block
Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash, The Descendants
Documentary: Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Animated Film: The Adventures of Tintin
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Use of Music: Ludovic Bource, The Artist
Ensemble Cast: Bridesmaids

NYFCO TOP 10 FILMS OF 2011: The Artist; The Descendants; Drive; The Help; Hugo; Melancholia; Midnight in Paris; Take Shelter; The Tree of Life; War Horse

Los Angeles Film Critics Association:

Best Picture:  The Descendants Runner-Up: The Tree of Life
Best Director: Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life Runner-Up: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Best Actor: Michael Fassbender, A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class Runner-Up: Michael Shannon, Take Shelter
Best Actress: Yun Jung-hee, Poetry Runner-Up: Kirsten Dunst, Melancholia
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, Coriolanus, The Debt, The Help, Take Shelter, Texas Killing Fields, The Tree of Life Runner-Up: Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners Runner-Up: Patton Oswalt, Young Adult

Boston Society of Film Critics:

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Actor: Brad Pitt, Moneyball
Best Actress: Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, Drive
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Best Screenplay: Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin, Moneyball
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life
Best Documentary: Project Nim
Best Foreign-Language Film: Incendies
Best Animated Film: Rango
Best Film Editing: Christian Marclay, The Clock
Best New Filmmaker: Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Best Ensemble Cast: Carnage
Best Use of Music in a Film: Drive and The Artist (Tie)

San Francisco Film Critics Circle:

Best Picture: The Tree of Life
Best Director: Terrance Malick, The Tree of Life
Best Original Screenplay: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Best Adapted Screenplay: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Best Actor: Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, Drive
Best Supporting Actress: Vanessa Redgrave, Coriolanus
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Best Foreign Language Film: Certified Copy
Best Documentary: Tabloid
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life

AFI Top 10 Films of 2011:

The Descendants
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The Help
J. Edgar
Midnight in Paris
The Tree of Life
War Horse

Special Awards: The Artist and the Harry Potter series

One thought on “Pre-Oscars Round Up: AFI, LAFCA, NYFCO, Boston, SFFCC”

  1. I was beginning to think that I was the only one paying attention yet!

    I’m happy to see THE ARTIST getting so much early love, especially since I was skeptical what its chances would be in terms of growing beyond festival darling.

    I haven’t paid too much attention to the actors just yet – guess we’ll get more clarity on that tomorrow with the SAG’s, eh?

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