Critics Awards: Natalie Portman Wows Some More + Surprise Terror Comedy & Australian Winner

Natalie Portman Black Swan dress. Perfectly attired + mentally unbalanced ballerina wows criticsNatalie Portman Black Swan dress: Perfectly attired but mentally unbalanced ballerina in Darren Aronofsky's psychological thriller continues to wow U.S.-based film critics, as Natalie Portman remains their Best Actress favorite this awards season. The Austin Film Critics, for their part, were impressed with the movie itself, as Black Swan was their somewhat surprising top winner.

Latest film critics winners include favorite Natalie Portman & Australian surprise

Among the “single” Utah Film Critics Association's 2010 award winners were Best Actor James Franco for 127 Hours (curiously, so far this awards season Franco's performance as gay poet Allen Ginsberg in Howl has been completely ignored), Best Actress Natalie Portman for Black Swan, and supporting players Christian Bale (The Fighter) and, somewhat surprisingly, Jacki Weaver (for David Michôd's Australian crime family drama Animal Kingdom).

Weaver has topped the Best Supporting Actress category of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Board of Review, but Melissa Leo (The Fighter) and Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) have been the two favorites among U.S. critics groups.

As an aside, the Utah Film Critics – correctly – listed Steinfeld as a lead actress in Joel and Ethan Coen's Western hit. That may have led to the exclusion of The Kids Are All Right co-star Annette Bening from their nominee shortlist. (See the Utah Film Critics Association's list of winners further below.)

Two Best Films & two Best Directors

But why the “single” winners label? Well, because this year the Utah Film Critics have come up with lots of ties. The Best Films (plural) were Danny Boyle's 127 Hours, in which James Franco resorts to desperate measures after getting trapped in a cave, and David Fincher's The Social Network, about all the animosity behind the creation of Facebook.

The Best Directors (also plural) were Fincher and Christopher Nolan for the sci-fier of sorts Inception, in which Leonardo DiCaprio and his gang keep trespassing into other people's dreams and dreams within dreams, (nearly) ad infinitum.

Additionally, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's anti-weapon-makers fantasy Micmacs and Jacques Audiard's tough prison drama A Prophet shared the Best Foreign Language Film Award.

More Utah Film Critics winners

Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle topped the Best Cinematography category for their work on 127 Hours, while Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3 was the expected Best Animated Feature.

Now, apart from the three ties, the Utah critics' biggest surprise was the selection of Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman's reality-TV-like Catfish as the year's Best Documentary – instead of critics' faves Exit Through the Gift Shop, Waiting for 'Superman', and The Tillman Story. (Restrepo wasn't even among the five contenders.)

See below the full list of Utah Film Critics Association winners.

Utah Film Critics winners

Best Picture (tie): 127 Hours & The Social Network.

Best Non-English Language Feature (tie): Micmacs & A Prophet.

Best Director (tie): Christopher Nolan, Inception & David Fincher, The Social Network.

Best Actor: James Franco, 127 Hours.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter.

Best Supporting Actress: Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom.

Best Screenplay: The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin.

Best Documentary Feature: Catfish.

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3.

Best Cinematography: 127 Hours, Enrique Chediak and Anthony Dod Mantle.

'The Social Network' tops Oklahoma Film Critics' (mostly) predictable picks

After slipping in Austin, where it won only an award for Best Adapted Screenplay (see further below), David Fincher's The Social Network resumed its U.S. film critics' sweep by way of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Film Critics Circle selected the Facebook drama as their no. 1 movie of 2010 in the following categories: Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg), and Best Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin). (See the full list of Oklahoma Film Critics winners further below.)

Just as surprising (insert tongue in cheek here) were the Oklahoma Film Critics' choices for Best Actress (Natalie Portman for Black Swan), Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale for The Fighter), and Best Animated Film (Lee Unkrich's Toy Story 3).

Christopher Nolan's win in the Best Original Screenplay category for Inception wasn't exactly a shocker, either. The same goes for Jacques Audiard's 2009 prison drama A Prophet winning as Best Foreign Language Film.

Four Lions Riz Ahmed. British-made terrorism comedy surprise OK critics winnerFour Lions with Riz Ahmed: British-made Islamist terror comedy a surprise winner in, of all places, Oklahoma. After radicalization, a quintet of young British Muslims – including a white convert – decide to become suicide bombers. The London marathon is their target, but will the stupid misfits be able to pull off the attack? The big-screen directorial debut of film and TV multitasker Chris Morris, Four Lions was written by Morris, Sam Bain, and Jesse Armstrong. In April 1995, Oklahoma City was the setting of what was then the deadliest terrorist attack on U.S. soil; the perpetrators were far-right, anti-government, firearm-loving Americans.

'Four Lions' let loose in Oklahoma

On the other hand, many were surely caught off guard when Christopher Morris' British terrorism satire Four Lions was chosen as the year's Best First Film. In the cast: Riz Ahmed, Kayvan Novak, Nigel Lindsay, Arsher Ali, and Adeel Akhtar.

And a few were probably just as surprised that Black Swan actress Mila Kunis – not Melissa Leo (The Fighter) or Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) – was voted the year's Best Supporting Actress.

Obvious vs. not-so-obvious Worst Movie

Despite fierce competition, Michael Patrick King's Sex and the City 2 was voted 2010's Obviously Worst Movie.

The Not-So-Obviously Worst Movie was Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, which is up for a Golden Globe in the Best Comedy or Musical category. Talk about being subtly awful.

And please note that the Oklahoma Film Critics' criteria regarding bad movies' obviousness are kinda murky.

See below the full list of Oklahoma Film Critics Circle winners.

Oklahoma Film Critics winners

Best Film: The Social Network.

Top Ten Films
The Social Network.
Inception.
Black Swan.
The Fighter.
Winter's Bone.
True Grit.
The King's Speech.
Toy Story 3.
The Kids Are All Right.
127 Hours.

Best Foreign Language Film: A Prophet / Un prophète.

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

Best Actor: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network.

Best Supporting Actress: Mila Kunis, Black Swan.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network.

Best Original Screenplay: Christopher Nolan, Inception.

Best First Feature: Four Lions.

Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3.

Obviously Worst Movie: Sex and the City 2.

Not-So-Obviously Worst Movie: Alice in Wonderland.

'Black Swan' tops Austin Film Critics awards

Darren Aronofsky's psychological ballet thriller/drama Black Swan swept the Austin Film Critics Association's 2010 awards.

Black Swan, which stars Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder, and Vincent Cassel, won a total of five awards:

  • Best Film.
  • Best Director.
  • Best Actress for Natalie Portman.
  • Best Original Screenplay for Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, and John McLaughlin.
  • Best Cinematography for Matthew Libatique.

U.S. critics favorite Colin Firth was once again named Best Actor for his portrayal of the U.K.'s King George VI in Tom Hooper's The King's Speech. (Full list of Austin Film Critics winners further below.)

In the supporting categories, Christian Bale – clearly the favorite to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar – and Hailee Steinfeld were recognized for, respectively, David O. Russell's boxing drama The Fighter and Joel and Ethan Coen's Western True Grit.

Strangely, newcomer Hailee Steinfeld won the Austin Film Critics' Best Supporting Actress award, but Chloë Grace Moretz was their choice of Breakthrough Artist for Let Me In and Kick-Ass. (Something similar happened at the 2010 Phoenix Film Critics awards.)

Facebook movie mostly bypassed

American critics' fave The Social Network won a single award: for Aaron Sorkin's screenplay based on Ben Mezrich's book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook, a Tale of Sex, Money, Genius, and Betrayal. David Fincher's Facebook movie was also the runner-up in the Austin critics' Best Film category.

Wrapping up, Austin-based Ben Steinbauer's Winnebago Man won the Austin Film Award. The documentary revolves around the filmmaker's relationship with the “Angriest Man in the World,” online videographer Jack Rebney.

See below the full list of Austin Film Critics Association winners. And further below is the list of the St. Louis Film Critics Association winners.

Austin Film Critics winners

Best Film: Black Swan.

Top 10 Films.
1. Black Swan.
2. The Social Network.
3. Inception.
4. Toy Story 3.
5. The King's Speech.
6. True Grit.
7. The Fighter.
8. A Prophet.
9. Winter's Bone.
10. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Best Foreign Language Film: A Prophet / Un Prophète, France.

Best Director: Darren Aronofsky, Black Swan.

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter.

Best Supporting Actress: Hailee Steinfeld, True Grit.

Best Original Screenplay: Black Swan, Mark Heyman, Andres Heinz, and John McLaughlin.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin.

Best Documentary: Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3.

Best First Film: Monsters.

Best Cinematography: Black Swan, Matthew Libatique.

Best Original Score: TRON: Legacy, Daft Punk.

Robert R. McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award: Chloë Grace Moretz, Kick-Ass and Let Me In.

Austin Film Award: Winnebago Man, Ben Steinbauer.

Special Honorary Award: Friday Night Lights, for producing excellent, locally made television and contributing to the film community in Austin for the past five years.

 

St. Louis Film Critics Association awards

Best Film: The Social Network.

Best Foreign Language Film: Micmacs.

Best Director: David Fincher, The Social Network.

Best Actor: Colin Firth, The King's Speech.

Best Actress: Natalie Portman, Black Swan.

Best Supporting Actor: Christian Bale, The Fighter.

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa Leo, The Fighter.

Best Original Screenplay: The King's Speech, David Seidler.

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network, Aaron Sorkin.

Best Documentary: The Tillman Story.

Best Animated Film: Toy Story 3.

Best Cinematography: True Grit, Roger Deakins.

Best Music: The Social Network.

Best Visual Effects: Inception.

Best Comedy: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

Best Artistic/Creative Film (for excellence in art-house cinema): Micmacs.

Moving the Medium Forward (for technical/artistic innovations that advance the medium): Inception.

Special Merit (for best scene, cinematic technique or other memorable aspect or moment) (tie):

  • 127 Hours for the zoom-up scene beginning with a tight shot on Aron (James Franco) screaming, which pulls up to a wide shot of a large land area, showing how isolated he was.
  • Inception for the zero-gravity hotel hallway fight scene with Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Hailee Steinfeld True Grit. Best Actress despite newcomer unfairly in supporting categoryHailee Steinfeld in True Grit: Best Actress nominee in London and Utah despite critics groups' – unfair – insistence on having the relative newcomer shortlisted in the Best Supporting Actress category. In Henry Hathaway's 1969 movie version (written by Marguerite Roberts) of Charles Portis' Western novel True Grit, Kim Darby was cast as Mattie Ross, the young woman who hires eye-patch-wearing U.S. Marshal Rooster Cogburn (John Wayne) to hunt down her father's murderer. In Joel and Ethan Coen's 2010 version, Jeff Bridges plays Cogburn.

Hailee Steinfeld gets 'lead actress' nomination + opposites attract: London Film Critics

Tom Hooper's conventional crowd-pleaser The King's Speech and Mike Leigh's uncommercial old-age drama Another Year topped the London Film Critics' Circle 2010 nominations with seven nods apiece. Of course, it helps that British films and performers have their own specific categories, which boosts their chances of earning extra mentions.

The King's Speech, for instance, is up for Film of the Year and British Film of the Year; its star, Colin Firth, is up for Actor of the Year and British Actor of the Year. That's four nominations right there.

All seven nods for Another Year were in the British categories, where competition was considerably less fierce than in the international shortlists.

'True Grit' leading lady gets lead actress nomination for a change

In fact, even potential Best Actress Oscar contender Lesley Manville failed to be included as an Actress of the Year nominee. Instead, the London critics opted for Swedish actress Noomi Rapace (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), and Hollywood imports Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), and, surprisingly, Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit).

Undoubtedly because of her age and “freshness,” this awards season Steinfeld has been usually placed in the Best Supporting Actress category. Besides the London Film Critics, the Utah Film Critics Association (see further above) has been one of the rare critics groups to have her shortlisted as a lead.

Plenty of double nominees

In addition to Colin Firth, the London Film Critics' double nominees were:

  • Helena Bonham Carter as British Actress for The King's Speech and British Supporting Actress for Alice in Wonderland.
  • Andrew Garfield as British Actor for Never Let Me Go and British Supporting Actor for The Social Network.
  • Rosamund Pike as British Actress for Barney's Version and as British Supporting Actress for Made in Dagenham.
  • Christopher Nolan as Director of the Year and British Director of the Year for the blockbuster Inception.

In addition to Hailee Steinfeld in the Actress of the Year shortlist, other surprising London Film Critics' nominees were:

  • Actor of the Year contender Edgar Ramírez for Olivier Assayas' originally made-for-TV miniseries Carlos (released as a feature in some territories).
  • Director of the Year contender Apichatpong Weerasethakul for 2010 Cannes Film Festival winner Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives.

Made in Britain not good enough?

As mentioned above, the London Film Critics' Circle has the curious habit of placing British productions in their own private categories.

Also as mentioned above, British films can show up in the “Film of the Year,” “Actor of the Year,” “Actress of the Year,” and “Director of the Year” categories as well.

One can then safely assume that the London Film Critics' category divisions clearly imply that those found only in the “British” shortlists aren't good enough to be included in the international shortlists. Else, like The King's Speech, Colin Firth, and Christopher Nolan, they'd be there.

Among the international productions – as usual dominated by American fare – David Fincher's The Social Network received the most nominations, five in all.

The London Film Critics' Circle winners will be announced on Feb. 10.

 

Utah Film Critics Association winners & nominees source: inthisweek.com.

Riz Ahmed Four Lions image: Optimum Releasing / Drafthouse Films.

Natalie Portman Black Swan dress image: Niko Tavernise / Fox Searchlight.

Hailee Steinfeld True Grit image: Paramount Pictures.

“Critics Awards: Natalie Portman Wows Some More + Surprise Terror Comedy & Australian Winner” last updated in July 2018.

Critics Awards: Natalie Portman Wows Some More + Surprise Terror Comedy & Australian Winner © 2004–2018 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s).
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