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.

Continue reading “Pre-Oscars Round Up: AFI, LAFCA, NYFCO, Boston, SFFCC”

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Critics Roundup: LA Film Critics, AFI, NY Film Critics Online

There is nothing quite like sitting on a Greyhound bus and reading the tweets of your fellow film bloggers as several critics groups announce their annual awards. I probably seemed like a crazy person, muttering to myself about The Social Network. This awards’ season critical darling cleaned up at the Boston Film Critics, LA Film Critics and NY Film Critics Online awards. It was also named one of the ten best films of the year by the American Film Institute.

There were also plenty of surprises, courtesy of Colin Firth, Melissa Leo, Niels Arestrup and Carlos, to keep things interesting.  Here is a breakdown of the winners.

LA Film Critics

The most surprising and interesting critics awards yet. Sure The Social Network was named Best Picture but its star Jesse Eisenberg was left out of the mix. With Firth’s LAFCA win, the Best Actor race definitely came alive today. (He apparently lost the Best Actor prize from the Boston critics by just one vote.) Likewise, Natalie Portman for her performance in Black Swan was left off the winner’s list in favor of Kim Hye-Ja in Mother. Arguably the most surprising win of all is Niels Arestrup for his supporting role in A Prophet. (For an explanation of A Prophet‘s and Mother‘s Oscar eligibility, head here.)

Best Picture – The Social Network
(Runner-up: Carlos)

Best Actor – Colin Firth, The Kings Speech
(Runner-up: Edgar Ramirez, Carlos)

Best Actress – Kim Hye-Ja, Mother
(Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone)

Best Supporting Actor – Niels Arestrup, A Prophet
(Runner-up: Geoffrey Rush, The King’s Speech)

Best Supporting Actress – Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom
(Runner-up: Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer)

Best Director – Olivier Assayas, Carlos and David Fincher, The Social Network (tie)

Best Screenplay – The Social Network
(Runner-up: The King’s Speech)

Best Cinematography – Black Swan
(Runner-up: True Grit)

NY Film Critics Online

What has made me beyond ecstatic here is Melissa Leo’s win. Leo is by far my favorite, and often one of the most unappreciated, actresses. Any attention a performance of her’s receives makes me happy. Other than that, the NY Film Critics named, at this point, fairly expected winners.

Best Picture – The Social Network

Best Actor – James Franco, 127 Hours

Best Actress – Natalie Portman, Black Swan

Best Director – David Fincher, The Social Network

Best Supporting Actor – Christian Bale, The Fighter

Best Supporting Actress – Melissa Leo, The Fighter

Best Breakthrough Performer – Noomi Repace, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Best Debut Director – John Wells, The Company Men

Best Ensemble Cast – The Kids Are All Right

Best Screenplay – Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network

American Film Institute Top 10

In a top 10 list that is fairly safe, although it is filled with excellent movies, Winter’s Bone stands out to me as an exciting selection. Special awards were given to The King’s Speech and Waiting for Superman.

Black Swan
The Fighter
Inception
The Kids Are All Right
127 Hours
The Social Network
The Town
Toy Story 3
True Grit
Winter’s Bone

Critics Roundup: New York, Los Angeles and AFI

The Hurt Locker continues to rake in the critics prizes; the film won two Best Picture honors and two Best Director honors for Kathryn Bigelow. But what I’m sure will get a lot of hype in the tabloids/bloggersphere is that Hurt Locker and Bigelow are frequently nominated against ex-husband James Cameron’s Avatar. Here is the critics roundup from yesterday:

Continue reading “Critics Roundup: New York, Los Angeles and AFI”

Best of 2008: Los Angeles Film Crtics Association

Over on the west coast, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association has revealed its picks for the best of 2008.

Surprisingly (or maybe not) Wall-E, everybody’s favorite futuristic robot, won Best Film and The Dark Knight was named the runner up. Is this going to improve their chances for Best Picture nominations?

Here are the rest of the winners and runner ups:

Picture: Wall-E
Runner-up: The Dark Knight

Director: Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
Runner-up: Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight

Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Runner-up: Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler

Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Runner-up: Melissa Leo, Frozen River

Supporting actor: Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
Runner-up: Eddie Marsan, Happy-Go-Lucky

Supporting actress: Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Elegy
Runner-up: Viola Davis, Doubt

Screenplay: Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
Runner-up: Charlie Kaufman, Synecdoche, New York

Foreign-language film: Still Life
Runner-up: The Class

Documentary: Man on Wire
Runner-up: Waltz With Bashir

Animation: Waltz With Bashir

Cinematography: Yu Lik Wai, Still Life
Runner-up: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire

Production design: Mark Friedberg, Synecdoche, New York
Runner-up: Nathan Crowley, The Dark Knight

Music/score: A.R. Rahman, Slumdog Millionaire
Runner-up: Alexandre Desplat, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Race So Far: The Critics Have Spoken

his is just the beginnings of the critics picks. Based on their picks (listed below) the Oscar frontrunners are:

Best Picture
No Country for Old Me
There Will Be Blood

Best Director
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Actress
Julie Christie, Away from Her
Marianne Cotillard, La Vie En Rose

Best Actor
George Clooney, Michael Clayton
Daniel Day Lewis, There Will Be Blood
Frank Langella, Starting Out in the Evening

Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men,

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone;

Best Foreign Language Film
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Best Documentary Film
No End in Sight
Sicko

Best Animated Film
Persepolis
Ratatouille

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The Critics’ Picks – New York Film Critics Circle

Best Foreign Film
The Lives of Others

Best Animated Film
Persepolis

Best First Film
Sarah Polley, Away from Her

Best Documentary
No End in Sight

Best Cinematographer
Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood

Best Screenplay
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Best Actress
Julie Christie, Away from Her

Best Director
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Best Actor
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Best Picture
No Country for Old Men

Lifetime Achievement
Sidney Lumet

Special Critics’ Award
Charles Burnett, Killer of Sheep

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San Francisco Film Critics Circle

Best Picture
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Best Director
Joel and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Best Original Screenplay
The Savages

Best Adapted Screenplay
Away from Her

Best Actor
George Clooney, Michael Clayton

Best Actress
Julie Christie, Away from Her

Best Supporting Actor
Casey Affleck , The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan Gone Baby Gone

Best Foreign Language Film
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Documentary
No End in Sight

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Los Angeles Film Critics Association

Best Director
Paul Thomas Anderson, There Will Be Blood

Runner-up
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

Runner-up
Anamaria Marinca, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Best Actor:
Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood

Runner-up
Frank Langella, Starting Out in the Evening

Best Screenplay
The Savages, Tamara Jenkins

Runner-up
There Will Be Blood, Paul Thomas Anderson

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone and Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead

Runner-up
Cate Blanchett, I’m Not There

Best Supporting Actor
Vlad Ivanov, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Runner-up
Hal Holbrook, Into the Wild

Best Foreign Language Film:
4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Runner-up
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Documentary Film
No End in Sight

Runner-up
Sicko
Best Production Design
Jack Fisk, There Will Be Blood

Runner-up
Dante Ferretti, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Animated Film
(tie) Ratatouille and Persepolis

Best Music
Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, Once

Runner-up
Jonny Greenwood, There Will Be Blood

Best Cinematography
Janusz Kaminski, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Runner-up
Robert Elswit, There Will Be Blood

New Generation
Sarah Polley, Away From Her

Career Achievement
Sidney Lumet

Best Independent/Experimental
Colossal Youth,directed by Pedro Costa

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Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association

Best Film
No Country for Old Men

Best Foreign Language Film
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (dir. Julian Schnabel)

Best Documentary
Sicko (dir Michael Moore)

Best Director
Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, No Country for Old Men

Best Actor
George Clooney, Michael Clayton

Best Actress
Julie Christie, Away from Her

Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

Best Ensemble
No Country for Old Men

Best Adapted Screenplay
Aaron Sorkin, Charlie Wilson’s War

Best Original Screenplay
Diablo Cody, Juno

Best Animated Feature
Ratatouille

Best Breakthrough Performance
Ellen Page, Juno

Best Art Direction
Dante Ferretti, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

——————————————————————————————————————–Boston Society of Film Critics

Best Picture

No Country For Old Men

Best Actor
Frank Langella, Starting Out in the Evening

Best Actress
Marion Cotillard, La Vie en Rose

Best Supporting Actor
Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Best Supporting Actress
Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

Best Director
Julian Schnabel, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Screenplay
Brad Bird; Ratatouille

Best Cinematography
Janusz Kaminski; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Documentary
Crazy Love

Best Foreign-Language Film
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best New Filmmaker
Ben Affleck for Gone Baby Gone

Best Ensemble Cast
Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead