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Home Movie Awards ‘Batman’ Awards Snub But ‘Pro-Torture’ Thriller In + ‘Classy’ French Veteran & Amy Adams Wins

‘Batman’ Awards Snub But ‘Pro-Torture’ Thriller In + ‘Classy’ French Veteran & Amy Adams Wins

Amy Adams The Master NSFC
Amy Adams in The Master: “Classy” NSFC win.
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1. What Batman Awards? WGA snubs latest ‘Dark Knight’ movie

What Batman Awards? WGA snubs latest ‘Dark Knight’ movie

Ramon Novarro biography Beyond Paradise

The WGA Awards 2013 nominations were announced earlier today. Expect the Academy Awards 2013 nominations in the writing categories to be – at least – somewhat different, for reasons explained below. But first, here are the WGA Awards 2013 nominees:

Best Original Screenplay John Gatins for Robert ZemeckisFlight; Rian Johnson for Looper, which he also directed; Paul Thomas Anderson for The Master, which he also directed; Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola for Moonrise Kingdom, which Anderson also directed; Mark Boal for Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty.

Best Adapted Screenplay Chris Terrio for Ben Affleck’s Argo; David Magee for Ang Lee’s Life of Pi; Tony Kushner for Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln; Stephen Chbosky for The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which he also directed; David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook, which he also directed.

Best Documentary Screenplay: The Central Park Five, Sarah Burns and David McMahon and Ken Burns; The Invisible War, Kirby Dick; Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God, Alex Gibney; Searching for Sugar Man, Malik Bendejelloul; We Are Legion: The Story of the Hacktivists, Brian Knappenberger; West of Memphis, Amy Berg & Billy McMillin.

WGA Awards 2013 vs. Academy Awards 2013

One key reason for the inevitable discrepancies between the WGA and the Oscar nominees is that, unlike the Screen Actors Guild, the Writers Guild of America is quite strict on which movies are eligible for its awards. Those had to be “exhibited theatrically for at least one week in Los Angeles during 2012 and […] written under the WGA’s Minimum Basic Agreement (MBA) or under a bona fide collective bargaining agreement of the Writers Guild of Canada, Writers Guild of Great Britain, Irish Playwrights & Screenwriters Guild, or the New Zealand Writers Guild.”

That takes immediate care of Michael Haneke’s Amour, Jacques Audiard’s Rust and Bone, and Leos Carax’s Holy Motors. In fact, according to TheWrap‘s Steve Pond, this year 58 original and 39 adapted screenplays qualified for the WGA Awards vs. 165 and 108, respectively, for the Academy Awards.

Among the English-language movies ineligible (or not submitted) for the WGA Awards were strong Oscar contenders such as Tom Hooper’s all-star musical Les Misérables, Benh Zeitlin’s indie Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quentin Tarantino’s violent and slur-laced Django Unchained, and John Madden’s India-set ensemble piece The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

In addition to Ava DuVeray’s indie Middle of Nowhere, Martin McDonagh’s all-star comedy Seven Psychopaths, David Cronenberg’s Robert Pattinson star vehicle Cosmopolis, Ronald Harwood’s Dustin Hoffman-directed Quartet, and Juan Antonio Bayona’s Spanish-made tsunami drama The Impossible.

Eligible screenplays bypassed by the WGA Awards 2013

Among the eligible screenplays bypassed by WGA Awards 2013 voters were those for Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games, Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage, David Ayer’s End of Watch, Sam MendesSkyfall, Ira Sachs’ Keep the Lights On, Woody Allen’s To Rome with Love, and Marc Webb’s The Amazing Spider-Man.

Also: Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, Sacha Gervasi’s Hitchcock, Richard Linklater’s Bernie, Judd Apatow’s This Is 40, Tony Gilroy’s The Bourne Legacy, Walter Salles’ film version of Jack Kerouac’s On the Road, Ben Lewin’s The Sessions, Tom Tykwer, and Andy and Lana Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas, and Christopher McQuarrie’s thriller and Tom Cruise star vehicle Jack Reacher.

More on the WGA Awards vs. the Academy Awards

Last year, two WGA Award nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Help) and three Best Original Screenplay nominees (50/50, Win Win, Young Adult) failed to be shortlisted by the Academy. In their place, the Oscar shortlist featured Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and the WGA-eligible The Ides of March in the Best Adapted Screenplay category; Margin Call, A Separation, and The Artist in the Best Original Screenplay category.

Also worth noting when discussing the differences between the WGA and the Academy’s choices is the membership of each organization. Whereas the Writers Guild of America, West, has close to 20,000 members, the Academy has only 350-400 Writers Branch members – an “elite” among screenwriters. And finally, let’s not forget the strong influence of the Academy’s preferential voting system.

The WGA Awards 2013 winners will be announced on Feb. 17, at bicoastal ceremonies in New York and Los Angeles.

Emma Watson The Perks of Being a Wallflower photo: Summit Entertainment.

DGA Awards: Ben Affleck is only first-timer; four previous winners among five nominees

Ben Affleck for the political thriller Argo, Kathryn Bigelow for the political thriller Zero Dark Thirty, Tom Hooper for the socially conscious musical Les Misérables, Ang Lee for the existentialist fantasy Life of Pi, and Steven Spielberg for the political drama Lincoln are the five nominees for the 2013 Directors Guild of America Awards in the narrative feature category. The DGA Award 2013 winners will be announced on Saturday, Feb. 2, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland. (Image: DGA Awards 2013 nominee Ben Affleck directing Argo.) [Check out: DGA Awards vs. Academy Awards.]

Ben Affleck, who also co-produced and stars in Argo, is a first-time DGA Award nominee. Three years ago, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman to win the DGA Award for a narrative feature, for the Iraq War drama The Hurt Locker. Tom Hooper won two years ago for the British royal family drama The King’s Speech, starring Colin Firth as the speechifying king; besides, Hooper had been previously nominated in the Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television / Mini-Series category for John Adams (2008).

Ang Lee won DGA Awards for the “gay cowboy” romantic drama Brokeback Mountain, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as the star-crossed lovers, and for the Mandarin-language period adventure fantasy Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000), featuring Zhang Ziyi and Michelle Yeoh as ferocious flying fighters. Prior to his two DGA wins, Lee had been nominated for the Jane Austen adaptation Sense and Sensibility (1995), a British-set, period romantic drama revolving around sisters Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet.

Steven Spielberg, the most nominated DGA Award director ever – 11 nods, including this year’s – is a case apart. Spielberg has won three DGA Awards: for The Color Purple (1985), Schindler’s List (1993), and Saving Private Ryan (1998). His seven other DGA Award nominations were for Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial (1982), Empire of the Sun (1987), Amistad (1997), and Munich (2005). In other words, Spielberg has received a DGA nod for just about every other movie he has made. Additionally, he was handed the DGA’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

DGA Awards 2013: Missing names

Among the potential DGA Awards 2013 nominees left out of this year’s roster were the following: Michael Haneke for the Palme d’Or and European Film Award winner Amour, Benh Zeitlin for the fantasy Beasts of the Southern Wild, Quentin Tarantino for the violent anti-racism comedy Django Unchained, John Madden for the India-set ensemble piece The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Paul Thomas Anderson for the Scientology-ish themed The Master, Wes Anderson for the well-received Cannes Film Festival entry Moonrise Kingdom, David O. Russell for the Bradley Cooper / Jennifer Lawrence comedy drama Silver Linings Playbook, and Robert Zemeckis for the Denzel Washington courtroom drama Flight.

Considering the DGA Award voters’ historical disdain for non-English-language films – see Michael Haneke’s Amour in the previous paragraph – it would be pointless to include in the list above the names of, say, Jacques Audiard for Rust and Bone, or Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano for The Intouchables.

Of note: The Weinstein Company (The Master, Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook) was totally bypassed this year. So was every other independent and “specialty” distributor.

DGA Awards 2013 first-time nominee Ben Affleck directing Argo image: Warner Bros.

PGA Awards: Surprising Omissions

The Producers Guild of America announced yesterday its list of nominees for the 2013 PGA Awards for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures and several other film and television categories. The Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures – the equivalent of the PGA Awards’ Best Picture – are the following (director listed before title; producers listed between parentheses): [Photo: Suraj Sharma Life of Pi.]

  • Ben Affleck’s Argo (Ben Affleck, George Clooney, Grant Heslov).
  • Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild (Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey, Josh Penn).
  • Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained (Reginald Hudlin, Pilar Savone, Stacey Sher).
  • Tom Hooper’s Les Misérables (Tim Bevan & Eric Fellner, Debra Hayward, Cameron Mackintosh).
  • Ang Lee’s Life of Pi (Ang Lee, Gil Netter, David Womark).
  • Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (Kathleen Kennedy, Steven Spielberg).
  • Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom (Wes Anderson & Scott Rudin, Jeremy Dawson, Steven Rales).
  • David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook (Bruce Cohen, Donna Gigliotti, Jonathan Gordon).
  • Sam Mendes’ Skyfall (Barbara Broccoli, Michael G. Wilson).
  • Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty (Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Megan Ellison).

PGA Awards 2013: Several surprising omissions

Missing from the PGA Awards 2013 roster – especially considering that the Producers Guild voters love box office hits – are a few surprises such as Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, Gary Ross’ blockbuster The Hunger Games, Joss Whedon’s blockbuster The Avengers, and the successful Robert Zemeckis / Denzel Washington collaboration Flight. Somehow, the well-received small indie Beasts of the Southern Wild managed to sneak in.

Less surprising was the omission of a small French-Austrian-German movie like Michael Haneke’s Palme d’Or winner Amour or that of Paul Thomas Anderson’s box office flop The Master. (Django Unchained and Silver Linings Playbook took the Weinstein Company slots.)

PGA Awards vs. Academy Awards

Now, in case there are 10 Best Picture nominees for the 2013 Academy Awards, expect the Academy’s list to be quite similar to the one above. Having said that, bear in mind that there are a few key differences between the PGA Awards and the Academy Awards that helps to explain past discrepancies:

First of all, beginning last year, Best Picture Oscar contenders must receive at least 5 percent of votes in the no. 1 position if they’re to be shortlisted. (Of course, 5 percent of votes in the top slot wouldn’t per se guarantee an Oscar nomination, as 20 movies could theoretically reach that percentage.)

Also, whereas the Producers Guild Award nominees are chosen according to which movies get the most votes, the Academy Award nominees in every regular category are selected according to which contenders get the most “top votes.” In the Academy’s preferential voting system, those mostly listed in the fourth or fifth slots (or lower, in the ten-strong Best Picture category) have little chance of getting nominated even if they’re found in every single ballot.

Note: for the Academy, only one selection counts per ballot. For instance, let’s say your no. 1 choice is The Master, but that fails to meet the required 5 percent of votes. Let’s say your second choice is Life of Pi, which meets the 5 percent requirement. In that case, your vote for Life of Pi – and only that one selection – will be the tallied. The other top ten titles listed in your ballot will be ignored.

If Life of Pi turns out to be behind, say, 13 or 14 other titles up for Best Picture, then it’ll also be “disqualified.” In that case, your no. 3 choice – and only that choice – will be tallied. And so on until at most ten Best Picture nominees are selected.

Also worth noting is that both Les Misérables and Moonrise Kingdom have more than three producers listed by the Producers Guild. Since the Academy usually lists at most three producers per film, expect some squabbling before the names of the Oscar-nominated producers are announced.

Suraj Sharma in Ang Lee’s Life of Pi photo: Fox 2000.

PGA Awards vs. Academy Awards

As mentioned in the previous post about the Producers Guild Awards 2013, the PGA Awards and the Academy Awards should have very similar Best Producer / Best Picture lists. But in case there are ten Best Picture Oscar nominees, I believe there’ll be one discrepancy: Skyfall. (Image: Ben Whishaw, Daniel Craig Skyfall.)

Even though it’s the best-received James Bond movie in years – perhaps decades – most Academy voters will likely not list Skyfall in the no. 1 or no. 2 position. After all, with few exceptions, the Oscars tend to smile at thought-provoking movies (or at least at what Academy members perceive to be thought-provoking).

Of course, there’s always the chance that, like last year, there’ll be fewer than ten nominees. (If fewer than nine, then Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild and/or Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained may also run the risk of being bumped off the list.) But in case the Academy does list ten Best Picture nominees, instead of Skyfall that tenth slot should more likely go to either Michael Haneke’s prestigious Palme d’Or-winning Amour, or to a less prestigious but more financially successful Hollywood blockbuster such as Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.

TDKR has a good chance at a Best Picture nomination especially if Warner Bros. executives and publicists, aware of the across-the-board love for their key Oscar contender, Ben Affleck’s Argo, vote instead for their biggest hit of 2012. It’s truly not impossible. Last year, for instance, Warners and Paramount managed to get Stephen Daldry’s poorly reviewed Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close shortlisted for Best Picture – one of the film’s two eventual Oscar nods (the other one was for Best Supporting Actor Max von Sydow). And in early 2010, one of the ten Best Picture nominees was another Warner Bros. entry with lukewarm-to-mediocre reviews – and coincidentally featuring Extremely Loud & Incredible Close leading lady Sandra Bullock: the blockbuster The Blind Side, whose only other Oscar nod (and eventual win) was for Bullock herself. I should add that neither Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close nor The Blind Side was shortlisted for the PGA Awards.

This year, I must admit, there may be a problem with that sort of Oscar strategy. The Warners vote could be split with the studio’s other big 2012 movie, Peter Jackson’s late entry The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.

PGA Awards 2013: Other theatrical nominees

Other theatrical 2013 PGA Award nominees are the following:

  • Brave, Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, Rise of the Guardians, and Wreck-It Ralph in the Animated Feature category.
  • A People Uncounted, The Gatekeepers, The Island President, The Other Dream Team, and Searching for Sugar Man in the Documentary Feature category.

In 2013, the Producers Guild will also present special awards to Bob and Harvey Weinstein (Milestone Award), Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner (David O. Selznick Achievement Award), J.J. Abrams (Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television), Russell Simmons (Visionary Award), and the Weinstein Company-distributed documentary Bully (Stanley Kramer Award).

The 2013 Producers Guild Award winners will be announced on January 26 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

Ben Whishaw, Daniel Craig Skyfall photo: Sony Pictures.

Nicole Kidman, Quentin Tarantino: PGA Awards Presenters

The Paperboy‘s potential Best Supporting Actress Academy Award contender Nicole Kidman, Argo‘s Bryan Cranston, Butter‘s Jennifer Garner (and the wife of Argo director / co-producer / star Ben Affleck), Django Unchained‘s Kerry Washington and Quentin Tarantino, Marlo Thomas, Jonah Hill, Jessica Alba, Julianna Margulies, L.L. Cool J, Damian Lewis, Robert Rodriguez, and Chris Tucker are some of the presenters at the 2013 Producers Guild of America Awards. The PGA Awards ceremony will be held on Saturday, January 26, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. (Image: Nicole Kidman The Paperboy.)

Back in 1990, the Producers Guild of America held its first awards ceremony – the PGA Awards were then known as the Golden Laurel Awards. The winners in the Best Produced Motion Picture category were Richard Zanuck and Lili Fini Zanuck for the eventual Best Picture Academy Award winner Driving Miss Daisy, a mix of melodrama and comedy set in the American South, directed by Bruce Beresford, and starring Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman.

PGA Awards vs. Best Picture Academy Awards

From then on, every single PGA Award winner went on to earn a Best Picture Academy Award nomination, and only seven of those failed to take home an Oscar statuette. The unlucky ones were Neil Jordan’s The Crying Game (1992), Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 (1995), Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998), Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge! (2001), Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator (2004), Ang Lee’s Brokeback Mountain (2005), and Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris’ Little Miss Sunshine (2006).

For the record, the respective Best Picture Oscar winners in those years were the following: Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven (1992), Mel Gibson’s Braveheart (1995), John Madden’s Shakespeare in Love (1998), Ron Howard’s A Beautiful Mind (2001), Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (2004), Paul HaggisCrash (2005), and Martin Scorsese’s The Departed (2006).

PGA Awards: Clint Eastwood 0, Steven Spielberg 2

A couple more for the record: No Clint Eastwood movie has ever won the PGA Award. Steven Spielberg is the only director whose movies have won two PGA Awards: Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998).

Last year, the PGA Award winner for Best Produced Motion Picture – now known as the Darryl F. Zanuck Producer of the Year Award in Theatrical Motion Pictures – was Michel Hazanavicius’ Los Angeles-shot but French-made The Artist, which also became the first 100 percent foreign-produced movie to win the Best Picture Oscar.

The Producers Guild of America has more than 5,400 members. That’s nearly as many as the total Academy membership (around 6,000).

Nicole Kidman The Paperboy photo: Millennium Entertainment.

Ben Affleck: Critics’ Choice Awards following Oscar ‘snub’

Ben Affleck and his political thriller Argo were the two big winners at the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics’ Choice Awards held last night at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica. Affleck was the Best Director; Argo was the Best Film. Earlier in the day, Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow, the director of another well-received political thriller, were two of the biggest losers when the nominations for the 2013 Academy Awards were announced. Neither Affleck nor Bigelow, the two critical favorites and most buzzed-about filmmakers this awards season, were bypassed in the Best Director category. (Image: Ben Affleck at the Critics’ Choice Awards.)

“I would like to thank the Academy … I’m kidding, I’m kidding. This is the one that counts,” Ben Affleck joked while accepting his Best Director Critics Choice Award. He later told Access Hollywood: “It doesn’t feel like [I got robbed by the Oscars]. We got nominated for Best Picture and seven other nominations. I guess I would’ve liked to personally have two, or like three, four or five for myself, but I’ll take whatever we got. It’s a pretty cool thing.” Affleck then added: “If you go into the situation where you think you’re entitled to get nominated, you’re probably in trouble.”

But really, was Ben Affleck less than 100 percent sure he was going to be nominated for a Best Director Oscar? Only if he hadn’t been paying any attention to his other awards-season accolades and to his Directors Guild of America nomination. The fact that both Ben Affleck and Kathryn Bigelow were absent from the Best Director Oscar 2013 line-up is one for the books: one – or rather, two – of the biggest upsets in Oscar history. (Check out: Why Ben Affleck will no longer co-star with Kristen Stewart in Focus.)

Ben Affleck’s fellow Critics’ Choice Awards 2013 winners

Of note: Apart from Best Director and Best Film, Ben Affleck’s Argo was bypassed in every category in which it was nominated. Among the other Critics’ Choice Awards 2013 winners were Best Actress Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty, Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, Best Supporting Actress Anne Hathaway for Les Misérables, Best Supporting Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman for The Master, Best Young Actor/Actress Quvenzhané Wallis for Beasts of the Southern Wild, Best Documentary Searching for Sugar Man, and Best Foreign Language Film Amour.

Also: Best Original Screenplay (Quentin Tarantino) for Django Unchained, Best Adapted Screenplay (Tony Kushner) and Best Score (John Williams) for Lincoln, Best Cinematography (Claudio Miranda) and Best Visual Effects for Life of Pi, and Best Art Direction (Sarah Greenwood and Katie Spencer) and Best Costume Design (Jacqueline Durran) for Anna Karenina.

A couple more: Best Editing for Zero Dark Thirty (William Goldenberg and Dylan Tichenor) and Best Ensemble for Silver Linings Playbook (the cast includes Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, and Jacki Weaver).

Critics’ Choice Awards: Skyfall, Silver Linings Playbook, Twilight Saga top populist categories

Additionally, the Critics’ Choice Awards feature a whole array of populist categories – it’s a televised show, after all – such as Best Action Movie and Best Actress in a Comedy. Curiously, there’s no Best Actress (or Actor) in a Tragedy category, which is too bad, really. Anyhow, Sam Mendes’ James Bond flick Skyfall was the Best Action Movie, while David O. Russell’s The Weinstein Company-distributed Silver Linings Playbook dominated the Comedy categories.

Leaving no populist stone unturned, the Critics’ Choice Awards have opened up their voting to the public in one new category, Best Movie Franchise. Shockingly, the winner was Twilight. The vampire-human-werewolf franchise consists of five movies featuring Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, and Taylor Lautner: Catherine Hardwicke’s Twilight, Chris Weitz’s New Moon, David Slade’s Eclipse, and Bill Condon’s Breaking Dawn – Part 1 and Breaking Dawn – Part 2. To date, the Twilight movies have grossed a grand total of $3.33 billion at the worldwide box office.

Ben Affleck photo: Getty Images.

The National Society of Film Critics can be a classy, discerning voting body when its members feel like it. And that happens much more frequently than with most other U.S.-based film critics groups, including the better known and increasingly more mundane New York Film Critics Circle (though there’s quite a bit of membership overlapping between the two entities). So, instead of going for well-received big-studio Hollywood fare like Zero Dark Thirty or Lincoln or Argo, the National Society of Film Critics selected Michael Haneke’s French-language Palme d’Or winner Amour as the Best Picture of 2012.

The tale of a devoted elderly couple facing illness and death, Amour topped two other National Society of Film Critics Award categories as well: Best Actress for 85-year-old veteran Emmanuelle Riva (if Riva doesn’t get an Academy Award nomination, every Academy member should have their membership rescinded), and Best Director for Michael Haneke – his first such win this awards season in North America. Once again left out, as has been the case in the last several weeks (in North America), was Riva’s leading man, 82-year-old veteran Jean-Louis Trintignant. In fact, Trintignant isn’t even included among the National Society of Film Critics’ Best Actor runners-up.

The 85-year-old Riva has been in show business – stage, film, TV – for nearly six decades; among her cinema classics and near-classics are Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959); Gillo Pontecorvo’s Kapò (1960); Jean-Pierre Melville’s Léon Morin Priest (1961); Georges Franju’s Thérèse Desqueyroux (1962); and Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors: Blue (1993), in which she has a supporting role. At the time Alain Resnais’ epoch-making Hiroshima Mon Amour was screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, who could have ever predicted that the film’s 32-year-old French performer would be winning international Best Actress awards left and right in the second decade of the 21st century?

Anyhow, although Trintignant was bypassed, the National Society of Film Critics made another classy choice in the form of Amy Adams, voted Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Paul Thomas Anderson’s well-received but financially disappointing The Master. The Best Cinematography award also went to Anderson’s film, thanks to the work of Mihai Malaimare Jr.

Amy Adams, by the way, is now a two-time National Society of Film Critics winner, having topped the Best Supporting Actress category for Junebug back in 2005. Besides, Adams was a runner-up in 2010, for David O. Russell’s The Fighter.

National Society of Film Critics Awards 2013: More mainstream choices include Daniel Day-Lewis, Matthew McConaughey

Now, the National Society of Film Critics went mainstream in their choice of Best Actor: the U.S. critics’ overwhelming favorite Daniel Day-Lewis, for incarnating U.S. president Abraham Lincoln in Steven Spielberg’s unexpected box office hit Lincoln. Additionally, Tony Kushner’s Lincoln screenplay – another critical favorite this awards season and a WGA Award nominee – was also singled out.

This marks Daniel Day-Lewis’ third National Society of Film Critics win. The first two were for Jim Sheridan’s My Left Foot (1989) and Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood (2007). Additionally, Day-Lewis was the National Society of Film Critics’ runner-up twice in the past: for Sheridan’s In the Name of the Father (1993) and, as Best Supporting Actor, for James Ivory’s A Room with a View and Stephen Frears’ My Beautiful Laundrette in 1986.

The National Society of Film Critics’ third mainstream choice this year was that of Matthew McConaughey as Best Supporting Actor, though, admittedly, for a couple of independently made films: Steven Soderbergh’s domestic box office hit Magic Mike, in which McConaughey plays a stripper, and Richard Linklater’s little-seen Bernie, with McConaughey as a fully clothed district attorney.

More National Society of Film Critics 2013 winners: Shin Bet documentary, Jafar Panahi

The Best Non-Fiction Film was cinematographer-turned-documentarian Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers, featuring interviews with several former heads of Israel’s highly controversial secret service agency, Shin Bet. The Gatekeepers, I should add, is one of the semi-finalists for the 2013 Best Documentary Feature Academy Award.

And finally, the National Society of Film Critics’ award for Best Experimental Film went to jailed Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi’s This Is Not a Film, which had to be smuggled out of Iran and is another semi-finalist for this year’s Best Documentary Feature Oscar. The Film Heritage Awards were given to MoMA’s Senior Film Curator Laurence Kardish “for his extraordinary 44 years of service, including this year’s Weimar Cinema retrospective,” and to Milestone Film and Video “for their ongoing Shirley Clarke project.”

National Society of Film Critics choices: Los Angeles influence

National Society of Film Critics Awards: Classy Winners Include Amour, Emmanuelle Riva.”] Curiously, even though the National Society of Film Critics is based in New York City, its “Best of 2012” choices had more in common with the Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Picture Amour, Best Non-Fiction Film The Gatekeepers, Best Actress Emmanuelle Riva (tied with Silver Linings Playbook‘s Jennifer Lawrence in L.A.), and Best Supporting Actress Amy Adams. Even Best Actor runner-up Denis Lavant (for Leos Carax’s Holy Motors), an unusual choice among U.S.-based critics groups, matched the L.A. Critics’ runner-up in that category. (The L.A. Critics’ winner, The Master‘s Joaquin Phoenix, was the NSFC’s third choice.) [Photo: Amy Adams The Master.]

Now, definitely not following the Los Angeles Critics’ lead, the National Society of Film Critics gave no Best Foreign Language Film Award and announced no list of runners-up. In L.A., the critics strangely selected the French-language Holy Motors as their Best Foreign Language Film after selecting the French-language Amour as their Best Film.

Also worth noting, the choices of the National Society of Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Circle matched three times: Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis for Lincoln, Best Supporting Actor Matthew McConaughey for Magic Mike and Bernie, and Best Screenplay for Lincoln‘s Tony Kushner. And although the New York Critics’ picked Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial political thriller Zero Dark Thirty as their Best Film of 2012, Amour was their Best Foreign Language Film choice.

NSFC Awards omissions

Besides Amour‘s Jean-Louis Trintignant, who has already been mentioned in the previous article, glaring omissions from the National Society of Film Critics Awards 2013 list of winners and runners-up include the following: Ben Affleck’s Argo, Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, Ang Lee’s Life of Pi, Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, Ben Lewin’s The Sessions, and Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild in any category; plus New York Film Critics winner Rachel Weisz for The Deep Blue Sea; Marion Cotillard for Rust and Bone; Steven Spielberg for Lincoln; Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook; and the documentaries How to Survive a Plague and The Central Park Five.

The National Society of Film Critics’ foreign Best Picture winners

Of note: Since 2000, besides Michael Haneke’s Amour, three other non-English-language films have won the National Society of Film Critics’ Best Picture Award: Edward Yang’s Taiwanese family drama Yi Yi (2000), Guillermo del Toro’s Spanish-made dark fantasy Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), and Ari Folman’s politically charged Israeli animated feature Waltz with Bashir (2007). Additionally, in the last dozen years the NSFC has given its top prize to two other non-U.S. – but English-language – productions: Roman Polanski’s The Pianist (2002) and Lars von Trier’s Melancholia (2011). And let’s not forget David Lynch’s Franco-American co-production Mulholland Dr. (2001).

I should add that the National Society of Film Critics’ World Cinema choices are nothing new. During the course of its first decade, eight of the NSFC’s Best Picture winners were non-U.S.-made films, seven of which in a language other than English: Ingmar Bergman’s Persona (1967), Bergman’s Shame (1968), Costa-GavrasZ (1969), Eric Rohmer’s Claire’s Knee (1971), Luis Buñuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972), François Truffaut’s Day for Night (1973), and Bergman’s Scenes from a Marriage (1974). Michelangelo Antonioni’s English-set Anglo-American Blow-Up was the 1966 winner. The only full-fledged American Best Picture winners were two Robert Altman efforts: MASH (1970) and Nashville (1975).

National Society of Film Critics Awards dedicated to co-founder Andrew Sarris

The 2013 National Society of Film Critics Awards were dedicated to auteur theorist Andrew Sarris, who died last year. Sarris is described on the NSFC’s website as “one of the most original and influential American film critics as well as […] a founding member of the National Society.”

The National Society of Film Critics is composed of 60 critics from top American publications. Forty-three of those got together at New York City’s Film Society of Lincoln Center – more specifically, at the FSLC’s Elinor Bunin Monroe Center – to come up with their Best of 2012 choices.

For the record, Michael Haneke’s Amour was the National Society of Film Critics’ Best Picture after garnering 28 points. Haneke’s Palme d’Or winner was followed by Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master with 25 and Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty with 18. (Image: Amour Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant.)

Amour‘s Emmanuelle Riva was chosen as the year’s Best Actress after receiving 50 points. The runners-up were Silver Linings Playbook‘s Jennifer Lawrence with 42 and Zero Dark Thirty‘s Jessica Chastain with 32. The young and pretty Lawrence and Chastain have received Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations. Tellingly, the 85-year-old foreigner Emmanuelle Riva has not.

European Film Award Best Director winner Michael Haneke received 27 points from the NSFC. In second place there was a tie: 24 points each for Zero Dark Thirty‘s Kathryn Bigelow and The Master‘s Paul Thomas Anderson.

Daniel Day-Lewis’ Lincoln victory was the result of 59 points. The runners-up were Holy Motors’ Denis Lavant and The Master‘s Joaquin Phoenix with 49 points each. Of the three, Day-Lewis is the only one nominated for both the SAG Awards and the Golden Globes. Lavant, needless to say, has been ignored by the Screen Actors Guild and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Phoenix is up for a Golden Globe in the Best Actor – Drama category.

The Master‘s Amy Adams received 34 points. Next in line in the Best Supporting Actress category were Lincoln‘s Sally Field with 23 and Les Misérables’ Anne Hathaway with 13. All three actresses have earned Golden Globe nominations. Apparently, SAG Award voters didn’t care for The Master, as Adams, much like Joaquin Phoenix, was bypassed.

NSFC winner Matthew McConaughey bypassed by Golden Globes, SAG Awards

Matthew McConaughey earned 27 points for Magic Mike and Bernie. He was followed by Lincoln‘s Tommy Lee Jones with 22 and The Master‘s Philip Seymour Hoffman with 19. Curiously, both Jones and Hoffman have been nominated for the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards, whereas McConaughey, perhaps as a result of vote-splitting (Magic Mike vs. Bernie), has been bypassed by both.

Tony Kushner’s Lincoln screenplay received as many points as Lincoln star Daniel Day-Lewis, 59. The runners-up were The Master‘s Paul Thomas Anderson with 27 points, and Silver Linings Playbook‘s David O. Russell with 19. All three have been shortlisted for the 2013 WGA Awards.

Dror Moreh’s The Gatekeepers earned 53 points, followed by Jafar Panahi’s Best Experimental Film winner This Is Not a Film with 45 and Malik Bendjelloul’s U.S. critics’ favorite Searching for Sugar Man with 23.

The Master‘s cinematographer Mihai Malaimare Jr. received 60 points. Next in line was Skyfall‘s Roger Deakins with 30 and Greig Fraser with 21 for Kathryn Bigelow’s controversial political thriller Zero Dark Thirty – but, curiously, not for either the Kristen Stewart / Chris Hemsworth dark fantasy Snow White and the Huntsman or the Brad Pitt mafia thriller Killing Them Softly (or for Fraser’s work on all three movies).


Amour Emmanuelle Riva, Jean-Louis Trintignant image: Sony Pictures Classics.

Amy Adams The Master image: The Weinstein Company.

Emmanuelle Riva in Michael Haneke’s Amour image: Sony Pictures Classics.

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Sarah Park -

I love Ben Affleck’s Argo. I am also in bet with the Les Miserables. The movie adaptation was really superb.

Barb -

I do not understand why everyone tries to hype Hunger Games because it really wasn’t that good. The best thing about Hunger Games was Woody Harrelson, Elizabeth Banks and Lenny Kravitz. It only did well in North America. It only made $400K+ domestically ($686,533,290 ww Box Office Mojo)even with the IMAX premium prices it didn’t do more than a Twilight film. Not the last one but the other ones. So what makes it such a big deal?

The the chariots with the fake fire on back was so fake and funny. Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson look more like the Odd Couple than any believable girlfriend and boyfriend. That was a joke. All of the contestants looked like well-fed athletes which all of them supposed to be starving hence, “Hunger Games.”

I’m hoping that this next one will be worth while because if it wasn’t for the US and Canada, the box office wouldn’t be anything. No it doesn’t deserve any nominations.


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