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Groupthink Choices & Clint Eastwood Movie Among Worst of the Year? + Naomi Watts Makes Surprise Appearance

Groupthink or absolute masterpiece? Facebook drama The Social Network with Rooney Mara is Best FilmGroupthink or absolute masterpiece? David Fincher's Facebook drama The Social Network has been winning just about every single Best Film award this season. Its mostly young cast includes Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Armie Hammer, Justin Timberlake, and Rooney Mara (pictured).

Critics awards: Groupthink mostly takes over from Houston to Boston

Groupthink is an awards season disease, as can be attested by the Best of 2010 lists of winners and nominees that have been made public in the last few days. (See various lists further below.)

As has been almost invariably the case since the pre-Oscar proliferation of U.S.-based critics groups announcements, the groupthink virus continues to infect the numerous voting bodies. As a result – with a handful of exceptions – the same two or three movies, actors, actresses, screenwriters, etc., are being honored ad nauseam.

Best Film groupthink

In the Best Film category, Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker dominated last year. The previous year, it was Danny Boyle's Slumdog Millionaire. This year, it's David Fincher's The Social Network.

Is that because critics really all agree that The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, and The Social Network are – by far – the best movies of their respective years?

Or is that because they are the “acceptable” titles? In other words, Oscar-worthy movies – in terms of possibility, not quality – and thus publicity-worthy as well? Critics groups, after all, must remain relevant.

Or could it simply be that each year most U.S. film critics watch the same dozen or so new releases?

'The Social Network' dominance

So far this year, The Social Network, a widely acclaimed drama about the friendlessness involved in the creation of Facebook, has been shortlisted by the American Film Institute, the Houston Film Critics, and the Detroit Film Critics.

It was also the top movie of 2010 according to the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, and the New York Film Critics Online.

There's more: a week or so ago, The Social Network received top honors from the Washington D.C. Film Critics and the National Board of Review. (Update: Add to this list the now unabashedly mainstream New York Film Critics Circle.)

Kim Hye-ja and Niels Arestrup among groupthink exceptions

Admittedly, there have been the inevitable handful of groupthink exceptions in other categories. In internationally minded Los Angeles, for instance, Kim Hye-ja topped the Best Actress category for her work in Bong Joon-ho's South Korean psychological drama Mother, while Niels Arestrup was Best Supporting Actor for his work in Jacques Audiard's French prison drama A Prophet.

It's always a heartening sign whenever U.S.-based critics – inundated with Hollywood fare all year long – succeed in acknowledging the existence of quality filmmaking from other parts of the globe.

Below are the recently announced lists from the various groups.

Boston Society Film Critics Awards

Best Picture: The Social Network.

Best Foreign Language Film: Mother.

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network.

Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter .

Best Supporting Actress: Juliette Lewis, Conviction.

Best Ensemble: The Fighter.

Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network.

Best Cinematography: Roger Deakins, True Grit.

Best Documentary: Marwencol.

Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3.

Best Film Editing (awarded in memory of Karen Schmeer): Andrew Weisblum, Black Swan.

Best New Filmmaker (awarded in memory of David Brudnoy): Jeff Malmberg, Marwencol.

Best Use of Music in a Film: Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, The Social Network.

New York Film Critics Online winners

Best Film: The Social Network.

Best Foreign Language Film: I Am Love.

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

Best Actor: James Franco127 Hours.

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter.

Ensemble Cast: The Kids Are All Right.

Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network.

Best Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3.

Breakthrough Performer: Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Debut Director: John Wells, The Company Men.

Best Cinematography: Matthew Libatique, Black Swan.

Best Score: Clint Mansell, Black Swan.

Houston Film Critics nominations

The 2010 Houston Film Critics winners will come out on Dec. 18.

BEST PICTURE
127 Hours, Fox Searchlight (produced by Christian Colson, John Smithson, Danny Boyle).
Black Swan, Fox Searchlight (produced by Mike Medavoy, Scott Franklin, Arnold Messer, Brian Oliver).
Inception, Warner Bros. (produced by Christopher Nolan, Emma Thomas).
Kick-Ass, Lionsgate (produced by Matthew Vaughn, Brad Pitt, Kris Thykier, Adam Bohling, Tarquin Pack, David Reid).
The Kids Are All Right, Focus Features (produced by Gary Gilbert, Jordan Horowitz, Celine Rattray, Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Philippe Hellmann).
The King's Speech, The Weinstein Company (produced by Iain Canning, Emile Sherman, Gareth Unwin).
The Social Network, Columbia Pictures (produced by David Fincher, Scott Rudin, Danna Brunetti, Michael de Luca, Cean Chaffin, Kevin Spacey).
Toy Story 3, Walt Disney Pictures (produced by Darla K. Anderson, John Lasseter, Nicole Paradis).
True Grit, Paramount Pictures (produced by Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin, Steven Spielberg).
Winter's Bone, Roadside Attractions (produced by Anna Rosellini, Alix Madigan).

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Biutiful, Mexico (directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu; produced by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Alfonso Cuarón, Guillermo del Toro, Fernando Bovaira, Sandra Hermida, Jon Kilik, Ann Ruark).
Carlos, France/Germany (directed by Olivier Assayas; produced by Jens Meurer, Judy Tossell, Daniel Leconte, Raphael Cohen).
Mother, South Korea (directed by Bong Joon-ho; produced by Choi Jae-won, Seo Woo-sik).
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Sweden (directed by Niels Arden Oplev; produced by Soren Staermose).
The Secret in Their Eyes, Argentina (directed by Juan José Campanella; produced by Juan José Campanella, Gerardo Herrero, Mariela Besuiveski, Vanessa Ragone, Axel Kuschevatsky).

BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan.
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours.
Joel and Ethan Coen, True Grit.
David Fincher, The Social Network.
Christopher Nolan, Inception.

BEST ACTRESS
Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right.
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole.
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone.
Natalie Portman, Black Swan.
Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

BEST ACTOR
Jeff Bridges, True Grit.
Robert Duvall, Get Low.
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network.
Colin Firth, The King's Speech.
James Franco, 127 Hours.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech.
Melissa Leo, The Fighter.
Julianne Moore, The Kids Are All Right.
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit.
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Fighter.
Andrew Garfield, The Social Network.
Bill Murray, Get Low.
Jeremy Renner, The Town.
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech.

BEST SCREENPLAY
Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right.
Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini (based on the novel by Daniel Woodrell), Winter's Bone.
John Lasseter (story) & Andrew Stanton (story) & Lee Unkrich (story) and Michael Arndt (screenplay), Toy Story 3.
Christopher Nolan, Inception.
Aaron Sorkin (based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich), The Social Network.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer, Magnolia Pictures (directed by Alex Gibney; produced by Maiken Baird, Robert DeBitetto, Alex Gibney).
Marwencol, The Cinema Guild (directed by Jeff Malmberg; produced by Jeff Malmberg, Tom Putnam, Matt Radecki, Chris Shellen, Kevin W. Walsh).
Restrepo, National Geographic Entertainment (directed and produced by Tim Hetherington & Sebastian Junger).
The Tillman Story, The Weinstein Company (directed by Amir Bar-Lev; produced by John Battsek, Robert DeBitetto).
Waiting for 'Superman', Paramount Pictures (directed by Davis Guggenheim; produced by Lesley Chilcott).

BEST ANIMATED FILM
Despicable Me, Universal Pictures (directed by Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud; produced by John Cohen, Janet Healy, Chris Meledandri).
How to Train Your Dragon, DreamWorks Animation (directed by Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois; produced by Bonnie Arnold, Doug Davison, Roy Lee, Michael Connolly, Tim Johnson)
Megamind, Paramount Pictures (directed by Tom McGrath; produced by Lara Breary, Ben Stiller, Denise Nolan Cascino).
Tangled, Walt Disney Pictures (directed by Nathan Greno & Byron Howard; produced by Roy Conli, John Lasseter, Glen Keane).
Toy Story 3, Walt Disney Pictures (directed by Lee Unkrich; produced by Darla K. Anderson, John Lasseter, Nicole Paradis).

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
Roger Deakins, True Grit.
Matthew Libatique, Black Swan.
Anthony Dod Mantle & Enrique Chediak, 127 Hours.
Wally Pfister, Inception.
Eduardo Serra, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
Carter Burwell, True Grit.
John Powell, How to Train Your Dragon.
A.R. Rahman, 127 Hours.
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network.
Hans Zimmer, Inception.

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
“If I Rise,” from 127 Hours, music by A.R. Rahman and lyrics by Dido Armstrong & Rollo Armstrong.
“Shine,” from Waiting for 'Superman', music & lyrics by John Legend.
“The Clap,” from Get Him to the Greek, music & lyrics by Dan Bern & Mike Viola.
“We are Sex Bob-Omb!” from Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, music & lyrics by Beck.
“You Haven't Seen the Last of Me,” from Burlesque, music & lyrics by Diane Warren.

WORST MOVIES OF THE YEAR
Furry Vengeance, Summit Entertainment (produced by Robert Simonds, Brendan Fraser, Keith Goldberg, Ira Shuman).
Jonah Hex, Warner Bros. (produced by Akiva Goldsman and Andrew Lazar).
Sex and the City 2, Warner Bros. (produced by Michael Patrick King, Sarah Jessica Parker, Darren Star, John Melfi).
Splice, Warner Bros. (produced by Steve Hoban, Guillermo del Toro).
The Last Airbender, Paramount Pictures (produced by M. Night Shyamalan, Frank Marshall, Kathleen Kennedy, Sam Mercer, Scott Aversano).

Armie Hammer The Social Network: Groupthink exception is Best Supporting Actor for playing Winklevoss twinsArmie Hammer in The Social Network. Groupthink exception: In a dual role – with the help of CGI and Josh Pence's body – as Winklevoss twins Cameron and Tyler, Hammer has been surprisingly singled out as the year's Best Supporting Actor by the Toronto Film Critics Association.

More North American film critics awards: Groupthink picks

As mentioned at the top of this post, thanks to either absolutely artistic superiority or (and?) groupthink, things have gotten increasingly repetitive as North American critics group after North American critics group herald David Fincher's drama about the creation of Facebook as the Best Film the year.

The Toronto Film Critics Association was the latest to announce The Social Network as their top pick. In addition to Best Film, Fincher's movie also won in the following categories: Best Director, Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg, playing Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg), Best Supporting Actor (Armie Hammer), and Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin).

Groupthink exceptions: Armie Hammer & Cannes Film Festival winner

Admittedly, the Toronto Film Critics came up with a few surprises as well.

First of all, there was Armie Hammer's aforementioned win for playing – with the assistance of CGI and Josh Pence's body – the twins Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss in The Social Network. Hammer hasn't really been on anyone's awards season radar thus far.

Additionally, the Toronto Film Critics have given the season's first victory to 2010 Cannes Film Festival winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, a meditative Thai drama directed by Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Even more surprising, Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives was also a runner-up in the Best Film category.

Moderate & minor surprises: Hailee Steinfeld & Banksy documentary

Two other moderately surprising choices were:

  • The selection of Hailee Steinfeld as Best Supporting Actress for Joel and Ethan Coen's Western True Grit – instead of Academy Award shoo-in Melissa Leo for The Fighter. Kim Darby had Steinfeld's role in Henry Hathaway's 1969 original starring John Wayne.
  • The Best Animated Feature award going to Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders' How to Train Your Dragon, which has beaten Toy Story 3 only a couple of other times so far.

Although Black Swan star Natalie Portman remains this year's Best Actress Oscar shoo-in, Toronto's selecting instead shoo-in Oscar contender Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone) was hardly a major surprise.

The same can be said of the Best Documentary award being given to Banksy's Exit Through the Gift Shop, which also happened to be the Best First Feature winner.

The Best Canadian Film winner will be announced on Jan. 12.

Toronto Film Critics winners

Best Picture: The Social Network (Sony Pictures).

Runners-Up: Black Swan (Fox Searchlight Pictures). Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Filmswelike).

Best Foreign Language Film: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Filmswelike).

Runners-Up: Mother (Mongrel Media). Of Gods and Men (Mongrel Media).

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network.

Runners-Up: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan. Christopher Nolan, Inception.

Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network.

Runners-Up: Colin Firth, The King's Speech. James Franco, 127 Hours.

Best Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone.

Runners-Up: Natalie Portman, Black Swan. Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine.

Best Supporting Actor: Armie Hammer, The Social Network.

Runners-Up: Christian Bale, The Fighter. Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit.

Runners-Up: Amy Adams, The Fighter. Melissa Leo, The Fighter.

Best Screenplay: The Social Network, written by Aaron Sorkin and based on the book The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich.

Runners-Up: The King's Speech, written by David Seidler. True Grit, written by Joel Coen & Ethan Coen and based on the novel by Charles Portis.

Best First Feature: Exit Through the Gift Shop, directed by Banksy.

Runners-Up: Get Low, directed by Aaron Schneider. Monsters, directed by Gareth Edwards.

Best Documentary Feature: Exit Through the Gift Shop (Mongrel Media).

Runners-Up: Inside Job (Mongrel Media). Marwencol (Kinosmith Inc.).

Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon (DreamWorks Animation).

Runners-Up: Despicable Me (Universal Studios). Toy Story 3 (Disney/Pixar).

Jay Scott Prize for Emerging Talent Writer-Director: Daniel Cockburn, You Are Here.

Special Citation: Bruce McDonald, who directed four movies in 2010 – This Movie is Broken, Trigger, Music from the Big House, and Hard Core Logo 2.

Best Canadian Film Nominees:

  • Incendies, directed by Denis Villeneuve.
  • Splice, directed by Vincenzo Natali.
  • Trigger, directed by Bruce McDonald.
Hailee Steinfeld True Grit: Groupthink exception as Melissa Leo favorite Best Supporting ActressHailee Steinfeld in True Grit. Groupthink exception: Melissa Leo is by far this year's favorite Best Supporting Actress, but relative newcomer Steinfeld has topped that category a few times so far.

Southeastern Film Critics groupthink exceptions: Geoffrey Rush & Hailee Steinfeld

Groupthink exceptions – even if only moderately surprising – from the Southeastern Film Critics Association include the following:

  • Geoffrey Rush, as stuttering King Colin Firth's speech therapist, winning Best Supporting Actor for The King's Speech. Sure to receive an Oscar nomination, Rush has been lagging behind Christian Bale for The Fighter.
  • Once again, relative newcomer Hailee Steinfeld as Best Supporting Actress for Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit.

Elsewhere, it's been all about The Social Network, Colin Firth, and Natalie Portman.

Southeastern Film Critics winners & runners-up

BEST FILM: The Social Network.

TOP TEN FILMS.

1 - The Social Network.
2 - The King's Speech.
3 - Winter's Bone.
4 - Black Swan.
5 - Inception.
6 - True Grit.
7 - Toy Story 3.
8 - 127 Hours.
9 - The Fighter.
10 - The Kids Are All Right.

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: Mother.

Runner-up: Biutiful.

BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher, The Social Network.

Runner-up: Christopher Nolan, Inception.

BEST ACTOR: Colin Firth, The King's Speech.

Runner-up: James Franco, 127 Hours.

BEST ACTRESS: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech.

Runner-up: Christian Bale, The Fighter.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit.

Runner-up: Melissa Leo, The Fighter.

BEST ENSEMBLE: The Social Network.

Runner-up: Winter's Bone.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: The King's Speech.

Runner-up: Inception.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Social Network.

Runner-up: Winter's Bone.

BEST DOCUMENTARY: Inside Job.

Runner-up: Exit Through the Gift Shop.

BEST ANIMATED FILM: Toy Story 3.

Runner-up: How to Train Your Dragon.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: True Grit.

Runner-up: Inception.

The GENE WYATT AWARD for FILM THAT BEST EVOKES THE SPIRIT OF THE SOUTH: Winter's Bone.

Runner-up: Get Low.

Hereafter with Matt Damon worst movie of the year? Despite Clint Eastwood critics' darling statusHereafter with Matt Damon. U.S. critics' darling & two-time Best Director Oscar winner or no, Clint Eastwood has had his metaphysical drama shortlisted in the St. Louis Film Critics Association's Worst Movie of the Year category.

Oscar-influenced Best Picture 'groupthink'?

The St. Louis Film Critics Association mostly played it safe in their 2010 nominations. The five Best Film nominees, for instance, are all potential Best Picture Oscar candidates that have been already shortlisted elsewhere.

The one major surprise in the acting nominations was in the Best Actress race: Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right, which was completely shut out) was absent while Naomi Watts (Fair Game) was in.

The other major surprise was finding U.S. critics' fave and two-time Best Director Oscar winner Clint Eastwood (Unforgiven, 1992; Million Dollar Baby, 2004) having one of his efforts – the metaphysical Hereafter – included among the five Worst Movies of the year.

And meanwhile, Jackass 3D can be found in the Best Comedy category. A joke? Could Hereafter, for one, have been funnier?

Update: See list of 2010 St. Louis Film Critics winners.

St. Louis Film Critics nominations

BEST FILM
Black Swan.
The Fighter.
Inception.
The King's Speech.
The Social Network.
(Runners-up: True Grit and Winter's Bone).

BEST FOREIGN FILM
Biutiful.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Micmacs.
North Face.
A Prophet.

BEST DIRECTOR
Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan.
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours.
David Fincher, The Social Network.
Tom Hooper, The King's Speech.
Christopher Nolan, Inception.

BEST ACTOR
Javier Bardem, Biutiful.
Jeff Bridges, True Grit.
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network.
Colin Firth, The King's Speech.
James Franco, 127 Hours.
(Runner-up: Kevin Spacey, Casino Jack).

BEST ACTRESS
Nicole Kidman, Rabbit Hole.
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone.
Natalie Portman, Black Swan.
Noomi Rapace, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
Naomi Watts, Fair Game.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christian Bale, The Fighter.
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone.
Jeremy Renner, The Town.
Sam Rockwell, Conviction.
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Amy Adams, The Fighter.
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech.
Barbara Hershey, Black Swan.
Melissa Leo, The Fighter.
Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit.
(Runner-up: Chloë Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass and Let Me In).

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY
Biutiful.
Black Swan.
The Fighter.
Inception.
The King's Speech.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY
127 Hours.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
The Social Network.
True Grit.
Winter's Bone.

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE
Despicable Me.
How to Train Your Dragon.
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole.
Tangled.
Toy Story 3.

BEST DOCUMENTARY
A Film Unfinished.
Restrepo.
The Tillman Story.
Waiting for 'Superman'.
Waking Sleeping Beauty.

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Kick-Ass.
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.
Inception.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
TRON: Legacy.

BEST MUSIC
Black Swan.
Burlesque.
The Fighter.
Inception.
The Social Network.

BEST COMEDY
Easy A.
I Love You Phillip Morris.
Jackass 3D.
Micmacs.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

MOVING THE MEDIUM FORWARD
127 Hours.
Inception.
Kick-Ass.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Toy Story 3.
Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

BEST ARTISTIC/CREATIVE FILM (Excellence in Arthouse Cinema)
The King's Speech.
Micmacs.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Trash Humpers.
Winter's Bone.

WORST MOVIE
Hereafter.
How Do You Know.
Skyline.
When in Rome.
The Wolfman.

Naomi Watts Fair Game as CIA spy Valerie Plame: Best Actress for Summit Entertainment box office disappointmentNaomi Watts in Fair Game. Summit Entertainment's box office disappointment about the George W. Bush's administration's “outing” of CIA spy Valerie Plame has been shortlisted in the St. Louis Film Critics Association's Best Actress category.

American Film Institute (AFI): Top Ten American movies

No major surprises are to be found in the American Film Institute's list of best American movies released in 2010. Something notable, however, is the inclusion of two independently made efforts directed by women: Debra Granik's Ozarks-set drama Winter's Bone and Lisa Cholodenko's family comedy-drama The Kids Are All Right.

In order to include a nonfiction film and a non-American production in their honor rolls, this year the AFI announced “Special Awards” for Tom Hooper's The King's Speech – a British box office hit in the U.S. and already an Oscar favorite – and Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for 'Superman'.

Non-English-language films such as A Prophet and Mother, no matter how well received, were out of luck.

Needless to say, the AFI isn't a critics group. Besides, they don't announce a specific winner, sticking to a Top Ten list instead. See below.

    AFI movies of the year (in alphabetical order)

  • Black Swan (dir.: Darren Aronofsky).
  • The Fighter (dir.: David O. Russell).
  • Inception (dir.: Christopher Nolan).
  • The Kids Are All Right (dir.: Lisa Cholodenko).
  • 127 Hours (dir.: Danny Boyle).
  • The Social Network (dir.: David Fincher).
  • The Town (dir.: Ben Affleck).
  • Toy Story 3 (dir.: Lee Unkrich).
  • True Grit (dir.: Joel and Ethan Coen).
  • Winter's Bone (dir.: Debra Granik).
  • AFI Special Awards

  • The King's Speech (dir.: Tom Hooper).
  • Waiting for 'Superman' (dir.: David Guggenheim).

'The Social Network' again: Groupthink and/or indisputable greatness?

David Fincher's The Social Network has won another film critics award, courtesy of the Indiana Film Journalists Association (IFJA). Aaron Sorkin's adapted screenplay was also singled out.

Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, the dream-invading Inception also won two awards in Indiana: Best Director for Christopher Nolan and the Original Vision Award, “meant to recognize a film that is especially innovative or original.”

Also in the Inception cast: Marion Cotillard, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Tom Hardy, among others.

Lebanon 2009 movie: groupthink exception as Middle East war drama surprising Best Foreign Language Film winnerLebanon groupthink exception: Samuel Maoz's 2009 Middle East-set war movie was the surprising Best Foreign Language Film winner at the Indiana Film Journalists Association's awards.

More groupthink exceptions: King and Kids not quite all right, apparently

Indiana-style groupthink exceptions: Totally shut out were Tom Hooper's The King's Speech and Lisa Cholodenko's The Kids Are All Right.

Also, somewhat – albeit increasingly less – surprising was Hailee Steinfeld as Best Supporting Actress and How to Train Your Dragon being voted Best Animated Film.

Now, a major groupthink exception was Samuel Maoz's Israeli war drama Lebanon, winner of the Golden Lion at the 2009 Venice Film Festival, being selected as the year's Best Foreign Language Film.

Hoosier Award

And last but not least, screenwriter Andie Redwine was honored with The Hoosier Award for her work on Storme Wood's Paradise Recovered, described as “a film about a woman from a cloistered religious sect forced to view her community from a new perspective, which was partially shot in southern Indiana.”

The Hoosier Award “recognizes a significant cinematic contribution by a person or persons with Indiana roots.”

Indiana Film Journalists winners and runners-up

Best Film of the Year: The Social Network.

Runner-up: Inception.

Other Finalists: 127 Hours, Black Swan, Exit Through the Gift Shop, The Fighter, Never Let Me Go, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, True Grit, Winter's Bone.

Best Animated Film: How to Train Your Dragon.

Runner-up: Toy Story 3.

Best Foreign Language Film: Lebanon.

Runner-up: Biutiful.

Best Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Runner-up: The Tillman Story.

Best Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network.

Runner-up: Christopher Nolan, Inception.

Best Director: Christopher Nolan, Inception.

Runner-up: Debra Granik, Winter's Bone.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit.

Runner-up: Melissa Leo, The Fighter.

Best Actor: James Franco, 127 Hours.

Runner-up: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter.

Runner-up: John Hawkes, Winter's Bone.

Original Vision Award: Inception.

Runner-up: 127 Hours.

The Hoosier Award: Andie Redwine, writer/producer of Paradise Recovered.

Halle Berry Oscar for Best Actress: Academy Award ceremony presenter won for Marc Forster drama Monster's BallHalle Berry Oscar: Next year's Academy Award ceremony presenter was a Best Actress winner in early 2002 for her performance in Marc Forster's drama Monster's Ball. Bear in mind that when it comes to awards season presenters – as opposed to winners – groupthink doesn't really play a role.

Halle Berry & Marisa Tomei + Sandra Bullock & Jeff Bridges: Oscar 2011 presenters

In other awards season news, Halle Berry, Marisa Tomei, Sandra Bullock, Jeff Bridges, and Oprah Winfrey, all former Oscar nominees and/or winners, will be presenters at the 2011 Academy Awards, telecast producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer have announced.

Halle Berry is a Best Actress Oscar winner for Marc Forster's Monster's Ball (2001). She can currently be seen in Geoffrey Sax's Frankie & Alice, which has earned her the 2010 African American Film Critics' Best Actress award.

Marisa Tomei has been shortlisted for three Best Supporting Actress Academy Awards. She took home the Oscar statuette for Jonathan Lynn's My Cousin Vinny (1992). Her two other nods were for Todd Field's In the Bedroom (2001) and Darren Aronofsky's The Wrestler (2008).

Tomei is currently shooting George Clooney's Ides of March, and will be next seen in Brad Furman's The Lincoln Lawyer, and Glenn Ficarra and John Requa's Crazy Stupid Love.

Last year's winners

Last year, Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges took home the Best Actress and Best Actor Oscars for John Lee Hancock's The Blind Side and Scott Cooper's Crazy Heart, respectively.

Bridges will soon be seen in Joel and Ethan Coen's True Grit, which is already being shortlisted for U.S. critics awards, and in Joseph Kosinski's TRON: Legacy. Bullock will next appear in Stephen Daldry's Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, also featuring Tom Hanks and Max von Sydow.

Oprah Winfrey was a Best Supporting Actress nominee for Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple (1985). She recently voiced the character Eudora in The Princess and the Frog and was credited as executive producer of Lee Daniels' 2009 Best Picture nominee Precious.

The 2011 Academy Award nominations will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The 2011 Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, Feb. 27, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center.

 

Boston Society of Film Critics website.

American Film Institute (AFI) website.

Houston Film Critics Society website.

Houston Film Critics nominations via Awards Daily.

Armie Hammer and Rooney Mara The Social Network images: Merrick Morton / Sony Pictures.

Hailee Steinfeld True Grit image: Paramount Pictures.

Matt Damon Hereafter image: Ken Regan / Warner Bros.

Naomi Watts Fair Game image: Summit Entertainment.

Lebanon movie image: Sony Pictures Classics.

Halle Berry Oscar image: Courtesy of A.M.P.A.S.


         
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1 Comment to Groupthink Choices & Clint Eastwood Movie Among Worst of the Year? + Naomi Watts Makes Surprise Appearance

  1. steandric

    Why is the absence of Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) and the inclusion of Naomi Watts (Fair Game) in the Best Actress race be a surprise? Sorry it is definitely not a surprise but absolutely correct and most righteous. Ms. Watts gave one of the best performances of the year and Bening not. Therefore no surprise whatsoever.