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Kidnapped Mormon Missionary & Sex Slave Documentary: More U.S. Critics Awards

Joyce McKinney Mormon missionary kidnapping sex slave Tabloid Errol Morris
Joyce McKinney, Errol Morris' Tabloid

A few days ago, the Detroit Film Critics chose Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist, starring Jean Dujardin and Bérénice Bejo, as their top film of 2011. Set in Hollywood at the dawn of the sound era, The Artist is currently the favorite for the 2012 Best Picture Oscar. Competition, however, remains fierce, including Martin Scorsese's Hugo, Steven Spielberg's War Horse, and Alexander Payne's The Descendants. (See below the full list of Detroit Film Critics winners.)

Hazanavicius was also the Detroit Critics' Best Director, but the Best Screenplay Award went to Aaron Sorkin and Steven Zaillian for Moneyball, a baseball drama directed by Bennett Miller and starring Brad Pitt.

In the acting categories, Michael Fassbender was the Best Actor for his performance as a troubled man who enjoys a lot of sex in Steve McQueen's Shame, while Carey Mulligan, Fassbender's troubled sister in Shame, was the Best Supporting Actress. Critics' faves Michelle Williams and Christopher Plummer were named Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor, respectively, for My Week with Marilyn and Beginners. In the former, Williams plays Marilyn Monroe during the making of Laurence Olivier's The Prince and the Showgirl; in the latter Plummer plays Ewan McGregor's gay father.

Roman Polanski's Carnage, starring Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christoph Waltz, and John C. Reilly was the Best Ensemble winner. Jessica Chastain, not surprisingly, was the Detroit Critics' Breakthrough Performance winner for three movies: Tate Taylor's The Help, Jeff Nichols' Take Shelter, and Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life. The Best Documentary was Errol Morris' Tabloid, about former Miss Wyoming Joyce McKinney, who, much to the delight of the British yellow press, allegedly kidnapped an American Mormon missionary and turned him into her sex slave in late '70s England.

Joyce McKinney/Tabloid photo: Sundance Selects

Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, Carnage, Roman Polanski
Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet in Roman Polanski's Carnage

BEST PICTURE
* THE ARTIST
THE DESCENDANTS
HUGO
TAKE SHELTER
THE TREE OF LIFE

BEST DIRECTOR
* MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS - THE ARTIST
TERRENCE MALICK - THE TREE OF LIFE
JEFF NICHOLS - TAKE SHELTER
MARTIN SCORSESE– HUGO
NICHOLAS WINDING REFN - DRIVE

BEST ACTOR
GEORGE CLOONEY– THE DESCENDANTS
JEAN DUJARDIN - THE ARTIST
* MICHAEL FASSBENDER - SHAME
BRAD PITT - MONEYBALL
MICHAEL SHANNON - TAKE SHELTER

BEST ACTRESS
VIOLA DAVIS - THE HELP
FELICITY JONES - LIKE CRAZY
MERYL STREEP - THE IRON LADY
CHARLIZE THERON - YOUNG ADULT
* MICHELLE WILLIAMS - MY WEEK WITH MARILYN

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
KENNETH BRANAGH - MY WEEK WITH MARILYN
ALBERT BROOKS - DRIVE
RYAN GOSLING - CRAZY STUPID LOVE
PATTON OSWALT - YOUNG ADULT
* CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER - BEGINNERS

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
BÉRÉNICE BEJO - THE ARTIST
JESSICA CHASTAIN - TAKE SHELTER
* CAREY MULLIGAN - SHAME
VANESSA REDGRAVE - CORIOLANUS
OCTAVIA SPENCER - THE HELP

BEST ENSEMBLE
* CARNAGE
CEDAR RAPIDS
CRAZY STUPID LOVE
THE HELP
MARGIN CALL
WIN WIN

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE
* JESSICA CHASTAIN - THE HELP/TAKE SHELTER/THE TREE OF LIFE
FELICITY JONES - LIKE CRAZY
MELISSA MCCARTHY - BRIDESMAIDS
ELIZABETH OLSEN –MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE
SHAILENE WOODLEY– THE DESCENDANTS

BEST SCREENPLAY
50/50 - WILL REISER
THE ARTIST - MICHEL HAZANAVICIUS
BEGINNERS - MIKE MILLS
* MONEYBALL - AARON SORKIN & STEVEN ZAILLIAN
TAKE SHELTER– JEFF NICHOLS

BEST DOCUMENTARY
INTO ETERNITY
INTO THE ABYSS
MARWENCOL
* TABLOID directed by Errol Morris
WE WERE HERE

Jodie Foster/Kate Winslet/Carnage picture: Guy Ferrandis / Sony Pictures Classics

Michel Hazanavicius, The ArtistMichel Hazanavicius' The Artist won another award earlier today from US-based film critics. The Phoenix Film Critics Society chose the French-made (mostly) silent comedy-drama as the Best Film of 2011. Hazanavicius (right) was also chosen as Best Director and as the writer of the Best Original Screenplay, while The Artist's leading man, Jean Dujardin, was the Best Actor and the film's leading lady, Bérénice Bejo, was the Best Supporting Actress. (Sometimes there's a fine line between what amounts to a leading or a supporting role.) Additionally, The Artist was cited for Best Score, Best Film Editing, and Best Costume Design.

Despite The Artist's sweep, several other movies managed to come out victorious in Phoenix as well: Martha Marcy May Marlene's Elizabeth Olsen was a relatively unusual choice for Best Actress – Michelle Williams has been dominating that field for My Week with Marilyn, though Olsen has been often shortlisted elsewhere either among the year's “Breakthrough Performers” or as a contender in the Best Actress category.

Critics' fave Albert Brooks was the Best Supporting Actor for his uncharacteristic turn as a mean gangster in Nicolas Winding Refn's thriller Drive, starring Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan. The Oscar this year will likely go to either Brooks or fellow veteran Christopher Plummer for Beginners.

Pedro Almodóvar's gender-bending The Skin I Live In, featuring Antonio Banderas and Elena Anaya as, respectively, a mad doctor-cum-kidnapper and his victim, was the Best Foreign Language Film. J.J. Abrams' sci-fier Super 8 was the surprising Best Ensemble winner – beating out Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, Steven Soderbergh's Contagion, Paul Feig's Bridesmaids, and J.C. Chandor's Margin Call. The Best Adapted Screenplay mention went to Tate Taylor for the sleeper box office hit The Help, starring Viola Davis and Emma Stone. Andrew Rossi's Page One: Inside the New York Times was the Best Documentary.

Among the other winners were Gore Verbinski's Rango as Best Animated Film, Martin Scorsese's 3D adventure fantasy Hugo for Best Production Design and Best Visual Effects, and kiddie flick The Muppets as the Best Live Action Family Film. Unfortunately, the Phoenix Critics have no Best Film for Adults Only category, else Steve McQueen's NC-17-rated Shame, starring Michael Fassbender as a troubled man with a very high sex drive, might have taken home an award, too.

Also worth noting – coming from an Arizona-based film critics' group – the Phoenix Critics' Overlooked Film of the Year was Chris Weitz's A Better Life, which stars SAG Award nominee Demián Bichir as an undocumented Mexican immigrant struggling to eke out a living in Los Angeles.

Michel Hazanavicius/The Artist picture: The Weinstein Company.

Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Jean Dujardin, The Artist

BEST FILM
* The Artist
The Descendants
Drive
The Help
Hugo
Midnight in Paris
Moneyball
My Week with Marilyn
Super 8
The Tree of Life

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
Incendies
Point Blank
* The Skin I Live In

BEST DIRECTOR
Woody Allen, Midnight in Paris
* Michael Hazanavicius, The Artist
Alexander Payne, The Descendants
Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Tate Taylor, The Help

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
George Clooney, The Descendants
* Jean Dujardin, The Artist
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Brad Pitt, Moneyball

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
Viola Davis, The Help
* Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
* Albert Brooks, Drive
John Hawkes, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Jonah Hill, Moneyball
Christopher Plummer, Beginners

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
* Bérénice Bejo, The Artist
Bryce Dallas Howard, The Help
Jessica Chastain, The Help
Octavia Spencer, The Help
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

BEST ENSEMBLE ACTING
Bridesmaids
Contagion
Margin Call
Midnight in Paris
* Super 8

BEST SCREENPLAY - ORIGINAL
* The Artist by Michel Hazanavicius
Beginners
Midnight in Paris

BEST SCREENPLAY - ADAPTATION
The Descendants
* The Help by Tate Taylor
Hugo

BEST LIVE ACTION FAMILY FILM
Dolphin Tale
Hugo
* The Muppets
We Bought a Zoo

THE OVERLOOKED FILM OF THE YEAR
* A Better Life
The Conspirator
Texas Killing Fields

BEST ANIMATED FILM
The Adventures of Tintin
* Rango directed by Gore Verbinski
Winnie the Pooh

BEST DOCUMENTARY
African Cats
The Greatest Movie Ever Sold
* Page One: Inside the New York Times directed by Andrew Rossi
Project Nim

BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"I Believe in You,” Johnny English Reborn
* “Life's a Happy Song,” The Muppets
"The Living Proof,” The Help
"Star Spangled Man,” Captain America

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
* The Artist
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Moneyball
Super 8

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
The Artist
Hugo
* The Tree of Life

BEST FILM EDITING
* The Artist
Super 8
The Tree of Life

BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN
The Artist
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
* Hugo

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
* The Artist
Hugo
Jane Eyre

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2
* Hugo
Rise of the Planet of the Apes

BEST STUNTS
* Drive
Fast Five
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE ON CAMERA
Elle Fanning, Super 8
* Thomas Horn, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

BREAKTROUGH PERFORMANCE BEHIND THE CAMERA
Sean Durkin, Martha Marcy May Marlene
* Michael Hazanavicius, The Artist
Tate Taylor, The Help

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A YOUTH IN A LEAD OR SUPPORTING ROLE - MALE
Asa Butterfield, Hugo
Joel Courtney, Super 8
* Thomas Horn, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A YOUTH IN A LEAD OR SUPPORTING ROLE - FEMALE
Elle Fanning, Super 8
Amara Miller, The Descendants
Chloe Grace Moretz, Hugo
* Saoirse Ronan, Hanna

Jean Dujardin/The Artist photo: The Weinstein Company

The Tree of Life, Terrence Malick, Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt in Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life

Most US-based film critics' groups have chosen either Alexander Payne's The Descendants or Michel Hazanavicius' The Artist as the year's Best Film. Not so the Chicago Film Critics, who went instead for Terrence Malick's cosmically inclined family drama The Tree of Life, which earlier this year won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and Jessica Chastain star.

In addition to its Best Film victory, The Tree of Life also won awards for director Malick, for Chastain as Best Supporting Actress, and for Emmanuel Lubezki's cinematography. Lubezki (Children of Men, The New World, Sleepy Hollow) has been a critical favorite this year, and will quite possibly take home the Academy Award as well.

Another surprise Chicago Critics' winner was Michael Shannon, who plays a disturbed man in Take Shelter. The Descendants' George Clooney has been the US critics' favorite male lead to date.

Other Chicago winners fell more in line with most other US-based critics' groups. Michelle Williams was chosen as Best Actress for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in Simon Curtis' My Week with Marilyn; Asghar Farhadi's Golden Bear-winning Iranian family drama A Separation was the Best Foreign Language Film; Gore Verbinski's Johnny Depp-voiced Rango was Best Animated Film; and Albert Brooks was the Best Supporting Actor for Nicolas Winding Refn's thriller Drive.

Despite its six nominations, The Descendants didn't win anything, but The Artist was cited for Best Original Screenplay. Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin wrote the Best Adapted Screenplay Moneyball. Set in Chicago's low-income communities, Steve James' The Interrupters was the Best Documentary, a “surprise” only in that other US critics groups have opted for other titles such as Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams or Asif Kapadia's Senna.

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2 Comments to Kidnapped Mormon Missionary & Sex Slave Documentary: More U.S. Critics Awards

  1. sm

    Katie,

    The word “troubled” - which I used in another article while describing Fassbender's character in “Shame” — was missing from this post. I've added it just now. As for the word “enjoy,” I used it in the sense of “to experience.” And that he does.

  2. Katie

    Uhm,

    “In the acting categories, Michael Fassbender was the Best Actor for his performance as a man who enjoys a lot of sex in Steve McQueen's Shame”

    Really? Please go and watch the movie and you will discover that the sex Fassbender's character is “enjoying” in Shame is not pleasurable or even sexy. He is a sex addict, but there is no joy in sex in Shame. Shame is to sex what Requiem for a Dream is to drugs. Really guys, go and watch Shame.