The 2013 San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards were announced this past Sunday, Dec. 15, at a gathering of 31 Bay Area film critics at the Variety Club Preview Room on Market Street. Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave was chosen as the Best Picture of 2013; additionally, the slavery drama earned John Ridley the Best Adapted Screenplay Award, while Chiwetel Ejiofor was voted Best Actor for his performance as free man Solomon Northup, who was kidnapped and forced into slave work at a Southern plantation in the 1850s.
However, Gravity received the most awards from the San Francisco Film Critics: four in all, namely, Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón, Best Film Editing (Cuarón and Mark Sanger), Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), and Best Production Design (Andy Nicholson). Starring Sandra Bullock and George Clooney, Gravity is Alfonso Cuarón's 3D mix of adventure, action, special effects, and sentimental drama (plus a large dose of pure fantasy).
Other San Francisco Film Critics winners
Oscar favorite Cate Blanchett was the San Francisco Film Critics' Best Actress for her work in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine – a performance that some have found reminiscent of Vivien Leigh's Oscar-winning turn in Elia Kazan's A Streetcar Named Desire (1951). In the Best Supporting Actor/Actress categories, the winners were James Franco for Harmony Korine's Spring Breakers, and Jennifer Lawrence for David O. Russell's American Hustle, which also earned the Best Original Screenplay Award for Eric Singer and David O. Russell.
Other San Francisco Film Critics Award winners were Best Documentary The Act of Killing, about Indonesia's para-military death squads; Best Foreign Language Film Blue Is the Warmest Color, Abdellatif Kechiche's controversial drama starring Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux as lesbian lovers; and Best Animated Feature Frozen, the Walt Disney Studios' musical version of Hans Christian Andersen's “The Snow Queen.”
And finally, the San Francisco Film Critics issued a Special Citation to Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess, set at a 1980s weekend tournament for chess software programmers, while the Marlon Riggs Award, which honors films set in the Bay Area, was shared by Fruitvale Station filmmaker Ryan Coogler and Christopher Statton "for his inspiring work on behalf of the independent Roxie Theater."
See full list of San Francisco Film Critics Awards nominees and winners (in bold) below
2013 San Francisco Film Critics Awards: Winners
Best Picture: AMERICAN HUSTLE, directed by David O. Russell; GRAVITY, directed by Alfonso Cuarón; NEBRASKA, directed by Alexander Payne; 12 YEARS A SLAVE, directed by Steve McQueen; THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, directed by Martin Scorsese.
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, GRAVITY; Spike Jonze, HER; Steve McQueen, 12 YEARS A SLAVE; David O. Russell, AMERICAN HUSTLE; Martin Scorsese, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET.
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, BLUE JASMINE; Sandra Bullock, GRAVITY; Judi Dench, PHILOMENA; Adèle Exarchopoulos, BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR; Brie Larson, SHORT TERM 12; Meryl Streep, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY.
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, AMERICAN HUSTLE; Lupita Nyong’o, 12 YEARS A SLAVE; Léa Seydoux, BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR; Octavia Spencer, FRUITVALE STATION; June Squibb, NEBRASKA.
Best Foreign Language Film: BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR, directed by Abdellatif Kechiche; A HIJACKING, directed by Tobias Lindholm; THE HUNT, directed by Thomas Vinterberg; THE PAST, directed by Asghar Farhadi; WADJDA, directed by Haifaa al-Mansour.
Best Documentary: THE ACT OF KILLING, directed by Anonymous, Christine Cynn, and Joshua Oppenheimer; THE ARMSTRONG LIE, directed by Alex Gibney; BLACKFISH, directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite; STORIES WE TELL, directed by Sarah Polley; TWENTY FEET FROM STARDOM, directed by Morgan Neville.
Best Screenplay, Original: AMERICAN HUSTLE, Eric Singer and David O. Russell; GRAVITY, Alfonso Cuarón and Jonás Cuarón; HER, Spike Jonze; INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Joel and Ethan Coen; NEBRASKA, Bob Nelson.
Best Screenplay, Adapted: BEFORE MIDNIGHT, Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke; PHILOMENA, Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope; THE SPECTACULAR NOW, Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber; 12 YEARS A SLAVE, John Ridley; THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, Terence Winter.
Best Cinematography: GRAVITY, Emmanuel Lubezki; HER, Hoyte Van Hoytema; INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Bruno Delbonnel; NEBRASKA, Phedon Papamichael; 12 YEARS A SLAVE, Sean Bobbitt.
Best Editing: ALL IS LOST, Pete Beaudreau; AMERICAN HUSTLE, Alan Baumgarten; Jay Cassidy and Crispin Struthers; CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, Christopher Rouse; GRAVITY, Alfonso Cuarón and Mark Sanger; 12 YEARS A SLAVE, Joe Walker; THE WOLF OF WALL STREET, Thelma Schoonmaker.
Best Production Design: AMERICAN HUSTLE, Judy Becker; GRAVITY, Andy Nicholson; HER, K. K. Barrett; INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, Jess Gonchor; 12 YEARS A SLAVE, Adam Stockhausen.
Best Animated Feature: THE CROODS, directed by Kirk DeMicco and Chris Sanders; DESPICABLE ME 2, directed by Pierre Coffin and Chris Renaud; FROZEN, directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee; MONSTERS UNIVERSITY, directed by Dan Scanlon; THE WIND RISES, directed by Hayao Miyazaki.
Michael Fassbender and Chiwetel Ejiofor in San Francisco Film Critics' winner 12 Years a Slave photo: Fox Searchlight Pictures.