Critics' Choice Awards: Humanitarian Matt Damon & Dreary Arnold Schwarzenegger

by S. Montgomery
Joseph Gordon-Levitt Leonardo DiCaprio Tom Hardy Inception
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Inception

The BFCA voters usually get it right, e.g., The Hurt Locker, Slumdog Millionaire, Sean Penn for Milk, Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight, The Departed, Helen Mirren for The Queen. At times, the Oscars take a weird turn and the BFCA gets it wrong, e.g., Brokeback Mountain in 2005, Kate Winslet's unexpected Best Actress – instead of Best Supporting Actress – Oscar nomination (and eventual win) for The Reader in 2008.

When not presaging the Oscars, the BFCA voters have usually gone for the most famous name in any particular category (Eddie Murphy for Dreamgirls, Quentin Tarantino's screenplay for Inglourious Basterds, Bruce Springsteen's song for The Wrestler, etc.)

And then there are the ties: Sandra Bullock and Meryl Streep last year; Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway the previous year; Amy Adams and Michelle Williams in 2005.

After all, much like the Golden Globes, the Critics' Choice Awards are all about who will come to the (televised) party. The Globes, for instance, have all those drama and comedy/musical categories in both film and television, which result in dozens of stars being nominated each year. The Critics' Choice Awards, for their part, have been listing ten Best Picture nominees, six nominees in the directing, and in each of the acting and screenwriting categories – but, ahem, a mere three nominees in the Best Foreign Language Film category.

Yet, no less than six movies are in the running for Best Comedy and five for Best Action Movie. The Broadcast Film Critics Association clearly knows their audience.

The Best Documentary will likely be Davis Guggenheim's much talked about Waiting for 'Superman' (though I believe the Oscar will go to Inside Job). Best Song: “You Haven't Seen the Last of Me Yet” from Burlesque. It may not win the Oscar; in fact, it may not even be nominated (though you never can tell), but Cher sings it and Diane Warren wrote it. If Joan Rivers can't go up on stage to pick up the Best Documentary Award for Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and do a one-woman show while in possession of the microphone, then Cher would be the Critics' Choice Awards' next best thing.

Now, I'm at a loss to explain the six nominees for Best Documentary. So, let me sidestep that thorny category. But then again, one has Joan Rivers in the title; another has 'Superman'

Ever wonder how those zero-gravity Inception scenes were shot? According to Christopher Nolan, it was all very simple. At The Film Experience, Nathaniel Rogers quotes part of Nolan's acceptance speech after Inception won the award for Best Action Movie: “And I'd also very much like to single out Joseph Gordon-Levitt for letting us hang him from his toes for three weeks to make all the action scenes in zero gravity.” So, there you go.

The Kardashian sisters presented the Best Documentary Award. Whether or not that was supposed to be intentionally humorous, who can tell? Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for 'Superman' won. “Every kid in America can learn,” Guggenheim was quoted as saying to the Critics' Choice Awards audience at the Hollywood Palladium. Only in America!

The Best Made for Television Movie was The Pacific. (We'd predicted Temple Grandin, but we got Waiting for 'Superman' right.)

Joan Rivers and Sarah Silverman presented the Best Comedy Award to Easy A. An Emma Stone / Nathaniel Hawthorne combo just had to win. Now, everyone, go check the Lillian Gish version directed by Victor Sjöström – a silent film released in 1926. It is good, I kid you not. In fact, it's much more thought-provoking than Inception!

Another one we got right: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo as Best Foreign Language Film. What else could you expect? It made twice as much money as I Am Love. (Biutiful opens later this month, just in case it gets an Oscar nod in the Best Foreign Language Film category.)

“I invented not speaking English correctly,” former action star and former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger told the crowd at the Hollywood Palladium at the Broadcast Film Critics Association's 2011 Critics' Choice Awards. Samuel Goldwyn – e.g., “Bring on the empty horses!” – must be rolling in his grave. Goldwyn made better movies, too.

David O. Russell's The Fighter has won for Best Ensemble. There goes Alt Film Guide's prediction for The Kids Are All Right and consolation prizes given to Annette Bening. The Fighter's cast includes Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, and Melissa Leo. Additionally, True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld was voted Best Newcomer, a category our Alt Film Guide Critics Choice soothsayer strangely ignored.

Schwarzenegger quote via The Film Experience.

Quentin Tarantino, whose career began in 1992 – that means less than two decades ago – received a career homage at the 2011 Critics' Choice Awards. Tarantino fans are thrilled. Those of us who aren't probably wish they'd homage'd someone like Sidney Lumet instead.

Via Nathaniel Rogers (to the best of my knowledge, no relation to The Scarlet Letter's Nathaniel Hawthorne): “[Easy A director] Will Gluck – I assume that's Will Gluck? accepts and says an off-color joke about Emma Stone pretending to have sex in high school. But she was home-schooled so was it incest? Your brother is hot … I was going to share the whole joke but this show is moving to fast for me.” Darn, Nathaniel!

Rogers adds: “Emma was totally taken aback. But [The Social Network's screenwriter] Aaron Sorkin thought it was hilarious.”

Toy Story 3 was the Best Animated Feature. No off-color jokes in that particular acceptance speech. The Social Network won for Best Score (now that was a surprise; I mean, what about Hans Zimmer's relentless Inception score?), while Danny Boyle's 127 Hours won the Best Song Award. So much for Burlesque's Cher going up onstage…

David O. Russell's boxing melodrama The Fighter has won its third Critics Choice Award: Best Supporting Actress for Melissa Leo. The other winners were Best Supporting Actor Christian Bale and an award for Best Ensemble. (Mark Wahlberg and Amy Adams are the other two principals.)

Also in 2010, Leo could be seen in the Hilary Swank vehicle Conviction; playing opposite Kristen Stewart and James Gandolfini in Welcome to the Rileys; and in two lesser-known efforts, The Space Between and The Dry Land. No wonder Leo made a point of telling the crowd at the Hollywood Palladium that even though she was told her career was over when she turned 40 ten years ago, it has flourished since then.

At this stage, Leo is also the favorite for the Academy Awards, though some claim that the Oscar statuette may go to either True Grit's Hailee Steinfeld or Leo's fellow The Fighter player Amy Adams. In case they all get nominated, that is.

Aaron Sorkin won for Best Adapted Screenplay (The Social Network); David Seidler was the Best Original Screenplay winner (The King's Speech). Not Christopher Nolan for Inception? Surprised.

Photo: Paramount Pictures

In addition to its Best Ensemble win at the Critics' Choice Awards, David O. Russell's The Fighter has also earned Christian Bale the Best Supporting Actor Award. That was no surprise, to put it mildly. I mean, even Alt Film Guide got that one right.

Inception, Christopher Nolan's summer blockbuster disguised as a thought-provoking thriller, was the Broadcast Film Critics Association's Best Action Movie. The competition included Ben Affleck's The Town and Tony Scott's Unstoppable. Inception's stellar casts includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, and Ellen Page.

Photo: Inception (Stephen Vaughan / Warner Bros.)

Matt Damon received the Joel Siegel Award for his humanitarian services. Damon was introduced as “His Holiness Matt Damon.” Award presenters were Jimmy Kimmel and Emily Blunt. Considering the state of Planet Earth – deadly floods in Australia, deadly mudslides in Brazil, general economic and ecological collapse, apathy and idiocy everywhere – Citizen of the World Damon must keep himself busy.

On to lighter things now…

David Fincher was the expected Best Director winner at the 2011 Critics' Choice Awards. The Social Network, a drama about the founding of Facebook, has been winning just about every Best Film award out there. Well, at least in North America. Greg Kinnear was the presenter. Fincher was the absentee winner.

Colin Firth was the Best Actor winner for The King's Speech. As predicted at Alt Film Guide, Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland won for Best Costume Design and Best Make-Up. Also as predicted on this site, Christopher Nolan's Inception won in the Cinematography, Visual Effects, Art Direction, Editing, and Sound categories. It's the evening's top winner.

Photo: The King's Speech (The Weinstein Co.)

Critics' Choice Awards

Best Picture: The Social Network.

Best Foreign Language Film: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

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 Young Actor/Actress: Hailee Steinfeld – True Grit.

Best Acting Ensemble: The Fighter.

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

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Social Network – Aaron Sorkin.

Best Documentary Feature: Waiting for 'Superman'.

Best Animated Feature: Toy Story 3.

Best Cinematography: Inception – Wally Pfister.

Best Art Direction: Inception – Guy Hendrix Dyas.

Best Editing: Inception – Lee Smith.

Best Costume Design: Alice in Wonderland – Colleen Atwood.

Best Make-Up: Alice in Wonderland.

Best Visual Effects: Inception.

Best Sound: Inception.

Best Action Movie: Inception.

Best Comedy: Easy A.

Best Picture Made for Television: The Pacific.

Best Song: “If I Rise” – performed by Dido and A.R. Rahman. Music by A.R. Rahman; lyrics by Dido Armstrong and Rollo Armstrong – 127 Hours.

Best Score: The Social Network – Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross.

'Inception': American Cinema Editor Awards

Black Swan, The Fighter, Inception, The King's Speech, and The Social Network have been nominated for the American Cinema Editor's “Eddie” Awards in the Feature Film Drama category. The nominated comedies/musicals are Alice in Wonderland (is that a comedy or a musical?), Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, The Kids Are All Right, Made in Dagenham, and Easy A. (See list of American Cinema Editors nominations below.)

The ACE's five nominees in the Drama category match those found in the Directors Guild shortlist, announced a few days ago. Whether that doesn't bode well for Joel Coen and Ethan Coen's True Grit is debatable.

For instance, Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain (2005) and Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris' Little Miss Sunshine (2006) were nominated by both the ACE and the DGA; at the Oscars, the two Best Film contenders were left out of the Best Editing category, while Dayton and Faris were omitted from the Best Director category as well.

In 2008, Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight was also shortlisted by both the ACE and the DGA. Although the second Batman film did receive a Best Editing Oscar nod, it was left out of the Best Director and Best Film categories. That same year, Stephen Daldry's The Reader failed to be included in the ACE's and the DGA's rosters, but went on to received Best Picture and Best Director Oscar nominations.


Black Swan
Andrew Weisblum, A.C.E.

The Fighter
Pamela Martin

Lee Smith, A.C.E.

The King's Speech
Tariq Anwar

The Social Network
Angus Wall, A.C.E. & Kirk Baxter


Alice in Wonderland
Chris Lebenzon, A.C.E.

Easy A
Susan Littenberg

The Kids Are All Right
Jeffrey M. Werner

Made in Dagenham
Michael Parker

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Jonathan Amos & Paul Machliss


Despicable Me
Gregory Perler & Pam Ziegenhagen

How to Train Your Dragon
Maryann Brandon, A.C.E. & Darren T. Holmes, A.C.E.

Toy Story 3
Ken Schretzmann & Lee Unkrich, A.C.E.


The Big C: “Pilot”
Brian A. Kates, A.C.E.

Modern Family: “Family Portrait”
Jonathan Schwartz

Nurse Jackie: “Years of Service”
Anne McCabe


Breaking Bad: “Sunset”
Kelley Dixon

Friday Night Lights: “I Can't”
Mark Conte, A.C.E.

Glee: “Journey”
Bradley Buecker, Doc Crotzer, Joe Leonard & John Roberts

The Good Wife: “Running”
Scott Vickrey, A.C.E.

The Walking Dead: “Days Gone Bye”
Hunter Via


Boardwalk Empire: “Pilot”
Sidney Wolinsky, A.C.E.

Dexter: “Take It!”
Louis Cioffi, A.C.E.

Treme: “Do You Know What it Means”
Kate Sanford, A.C.E. & Alexander Hall


The Pacific: “Okinawa”
Marta Evry, A.C.E. & Alan Cody, A.C.E.

Temple Grandin
Leo Trombetta, A.C.E.

You Don't Know Jack
Aaron Yanes


Exit Through the Gift Shop
Tom Fulford & Chris King

Inside Job
Chad Beck & Adam Bolt

Waiting for 'Superman'
Jay Cassidy, A.C.E., Greg Finton & Kim Roberts


The Deadliest Catch: “Redemption Day”
Kelly Coskran & Josh Earl

If You Really Knew Me : “Colusa High”
Rob Goubeaux, Jeremy Gantz, Hilary Scratch, Ken Yankee, Mark S. Andrew, A.C.E., Heather Miglin, John Skaare & Paul J. Coyne

Whale Wars 3: “Vendetta”
Yvette Mangassarian-Amirian, Eric Myerson, Michael Caballero, David Michael Maurer & Edward Salier, A.C.E.

Daft Punk 'TRON: Legacy' Score Wins Critics Award

The Social Network's David Fincher may have lost the Directors Guild Award to Tom Hooper on Saturday night, but both Fincher and his film received top honors from the Denver Film Critics Society on Jan. 28. (See below the list of Denver Film Critics winners and nominees.)

North American critics' favorites Colin Firth (The King's Speech), Natalie Portman (Black Swan), Melissa Leo (The Fighter), and Christian Bale (also The Fighter) were honored as well. All four performers will probably be adding SAG Award trophies to their collection of film awards and mentions later this evening.

The Denver film critics' choices were mostly unsurprising, e.g., the aforementioned film, director, and acting winners, in addition to The Social Network's Aaron Sorkin for Best Adapted Screenplay, Inception's Christopher Nolan for Best Original Screenplay, etc. The one exception was Daft Punk's TRON: Legacy score, voted the year's best. I believe that's a first this awards season.

Best Film
* The Social Network, David Fincher
Black Swan, Darren Aronofsky
Blue Valentine, Derek Cianfrance
The King's Speech, Tom Hooper

Best Foreign Language Film
* Mother, Joon-ho Bong
Biutiful, Alejandro González Iñárritu
I Am Love, Luca Guadagnino
White Material, Claire Denis

Best Director
* David Fincher, The Social Network
Danny Boyle, 127 Hours
Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit
Christopher Nolan, Inception

Best Actor
* Colin Firth, The King's Speech
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
James Franco, 127 Hours

Best Actress
* Natalie Portman, Black Swan
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Lesley Manville, Another Year
Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine

Best Supporting Actress
* Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Amy Adams, The Fighter
Helena Bonham Carter, The King's Speech
Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom

Best Supporting Actor
* Christian Bale, The Fighter
Matt Damon, True Grit
Jeremy Renner, The Town
Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech

Best Animated Film
* Toy Story 3, Lee Unkrich
How to Train Your Dragon, Dean DeBlois & Chris Sanders
The Illusionist, Sylvain Chomet
Tangled, Nathan Greno & Byron Howard

Best Screenplay (Original)
* Christopher Nolan, Inception
Lisa Cholodenko & Stuart Blumberg, The Kids Are All Right
Nicole Holofcener, Please Give
David Seidler, The King's Speech

Best Screenplay (Adapted)
* Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Ben Affleck, Peter Craig & Aaron Stockard, The Town
Danny Boyle & Simon Beaufoy, 127 Hours
Joel & Ethan Coen, True Grit

Best Documentary
* Exit Through the Gift Shop, Banksy
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, Ricki Stern & Annie Sundberg
Restrepo, Tim Hetherington & Sebastian Junger
Waiting for Superman, Davis Guggenheim

Best Original Song
* A.R. Rahman & Dido, If I Rise, 127 Hours
John Legend, Shine, Waiting For Superman
Chris Martin, Me and Tennessee, Country Strong
Randy Newman, We Belong Together, Toy Story 3

Best Original Score
* Daft Punk, Tron: Legacy
Carter Burwell, True Grit
Clint Mansell, Black Swan
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network

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1 comment

somefan345 -

I'm really hoping that Christopher Nolan will get an Oscar. Hopefully this will increase his chances. I'm not expecting Inception to win best picture although it was better than the Social Network(although that was a great film too.Social Network is more likely to win). But if Nolan could win in Screenplay or directing that'd be cool.


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