Home Movie Awards National Board of Review 2015: Dystopian Thriller Tops + Los Angeles Honors Veteran British Actress

National Board of Review 2015: Dystopian Thriller Tops + Los Angeles Honors Veteran British Actress

Mad Max: Fury Road National Board of Review Best Film winnerMad Max: Fury Road: National Board of Review 2015 winner.

National Board of Review 2015 Awards: First indication of ‘Mad Max: Fury Road’ awards season potential

Going over the December 2015 movie awards not previously discussed on this site, we begin with the National Board of Review Awards, announced on Dec. 1. (Scroll down for the full list of winners.)

Not including the Gotham Awards, which specifically honors independent American cinema, the National Board of Review was the first group to announce their Best of the Year picks this awards season. As a result, they were the first to indicate that George Miller’s action-thriller Mad Max: Fury Road would be a major awards contender this year.

Since then, among other awards and nominations, Mad Max: Fury Road – a Mad Max reboot of sorts starring Charlize Theron, Tom Hardy, and Nicholas Hoult – has been shortlisted for two Golden Globes, including Best Picture - Drama, and it has received top honors from the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Online Film Critics Society, and the Chicago and San Diego critics groups. Additionally, veteran George Miller (The Witches of Eastwick, Lorenzo’s Oil) was the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Best Director.

As a result, even though Mad Max: Fury Road failed to be shortlisted in any major category for the Screen Actors Guild Awards – it’s up for Best Stunts in a Motion Picture – Miller’s dystopian thrill ride is now a likely Best Picture Oscar contender.

Holocaust drama ‘Son of Saul’ in, musical comedy ‘The Martian’ iffy

Barring some ungodly miracle, László Nemes’ Holocaust drama Son of Saul, which won the National Film Board’s Best Foreign Language Film Award, is the movie to beat in that category at the Oscars. NBR Best Actress winner Brie Larson, for her part, is in the running for both a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for her performance as an abducted sexual abuse victim in Lenny Abrahamson’s Room.

Best Actor Matt Damon, Best Director Ridley Scott, and their movie, The Martian, have been less lucky so far. True, the box office hit is up for three Golden Globes – it helps that this mostly dramatic story is in the running as a “comedy or musical” – but elsewhere The Martian, if at all mentioned, has almost invariably ended up as a runner-up.

At the SAG Awards, The Martian, which also features Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, was completely bypassed. That turn of events came as quite a surprise for such a generally well-received commercial effort, the sort of stuff SAG members usually go for.

This blatant omission reduces Damon’s chances of landing a Best Actor Oscar nomination, as the Academy’s Actors’ Branch tend to match the SAG Awards’ choices when it comes to commercial Hollywood fare. For now, Ridley Scott has a better chance of getting a Best Director nod; a three-time nominee (Thelma & Louise, Gladiator, Black Hawk Down), the Alien and Blade Runner filmmaker has never taken home that particular golden statuette.

Mustang movie Turkish Freedom of Expression‘Mustang’ movie and Turkish ‘Freedom of Expression.’ In the cast: Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Elit Iscan, Tugba Sunguroglu and Ilayda Akdogan.

Veteran actors and Freedom of Expression

Two veteran National Board of Review Award winners, Jennifer Jason Leigh for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight and Sylvester Stallone for Ryan Coogler’s Rocky-esque Creed, are also shoo-ins for the Academy Awards in the supporting categories.

And finally, the NBR’s Freedom of Expression Awards went to two disparate movies: Cary Joji Fukunaga’s Beasts of No Nation and Mustang, the feature film debut of Turkish-born actress/director Deniz Gamze Ergüven. The former, a Best Cast SAG Award nominee, tells the story of a child soldier in Civil War-stricken Liberia; set in a Turkish village, the latter focuses on the lives of five orphaned sisters struggling to break away from an oppressively patriarchal system. (Check out a curious comment on the IMDb re: Mustang‘s portrayal of this particular aspect of Turkey’s multifaceted society.)

Mustang is the French entry for the 2016 Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. It’s also one of the nine semi-finalists in that category.

Awards ceremony in January 2016

According to the National Board of Review, “over 250 films (studio, independent, foreign-language, animated, and documentary) were viewed by this select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics, and students.”

The NBR’s awards ceremony will take place on Jan. 5, ’16, at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City.

2015 National Board of Review winners

Best Film: Mad Max: Fury Road, directed by George Miller.

Best Foreign Language Film: Son of Saul, directed by László Nemes.

Best Director: Ridley Scott, The Martian.

Best Actress: Brie Larson, Room.

Best Actor: Matt Damon, The Martian.

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight.

Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, Creed.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Drew Goddard, The Martian.

Best Original Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight.

Best Documentary: Amy, directed by Asif Kapadia.

Best Animated Feature: Inside Out, directed by Pete Docter, with co-director Ronnie del Carmen.

Best Ensemble: The Big Short, directed by Adam McKay. (The cast includes Brad Pitt, Marisa Tomei, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Melissa Leo, Finn Wittrock, Max Greenfield, and Karen Gillan.)

Breakthrough Performance: Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation, and Jacob Tremblay, Room.

Best Directorial Debut: Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea.

Spotlight Award: Sicario, for Outstanding Collaborative Vision. (Director: Denis Villeneuve. Screenplay: Taylor Sheridan.)

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Beasts of No Nation, directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, and Mustang, directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven.

William K. Everson Film History Award: Cecil B. DeMille’s granddaughter Cecilia DeMille Presley, co-author with Mark A. Vieira of Cecil B. DeMille: The Art of the Hollywood Epic.

National Board of Review Top Films
Bridge of Spies.
Creed.
The Hateful Eight.
Inside Out.
The Martian.
Room.
Sicario.
Spotlight.
Straight Outta Compton.

National Board of Review Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Goodnight Mommy.
Mediterranea.
Phoenix.
The Second Mother.
The Tribe.

National Board of Review Top 5 Documentaries
Best of Enemies
The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution.
The Diplomat.
Listen to Me Marlon.
The Look of Silence.

National Board of Review Top 10 Independent Films
’71.
45 Years.
Cop Car.
Ex Machina.
Grandma.
It Follows.
James White.
Mississippi Grind.
Welcome to Me.
While We’re Young.

 

National Board of Review website.

Image of Tom Hardy National Board of Review Best Film winner Mad Max: Fury Road: Warner Bros.

Image of Günes Sensoy, Doga Zeynep Doguslu, Elit Iscan, Tugba Sunguroglu and Ilayda Akdogan in National Board of Review Freedom of Expression Award co-winner Mustang: Cohen Media Group.

Michael Fassbender Steve Jobs Best Actor Los Angeles Film CriticsMichael Fassbender in ‘Steve Jobs’: Los Angeles Film Critics’ Best Actor.

Michael Fassbender & Charlotte Rampling: Los Angeles Film Critics Awards

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association’s 2015 winners were announced on Sunday, Dec. 6. LAFCA is one of the two most influential critics groups – i.e., those whose decisions get at least some mainstream media mileage – in the United States. The other one is the much older New York Film Critics Circle, followed by the National Society of Film Critics.

Five-decade movie veteran Charlotte Rampling,[1] who’ll turn 70 next Feb. 5, was one of the day’s big winners. Besides being selected Best Actress by the Los Angeles Film Critics for her performance in 45 Years, Rampling was also the 2015 Boston Society of Film Critics’ pick. Earlier this year, Andrew Haigh’s marital drama co-starring Tom Courtenay (Doctor Zhivago, The Dresser) earned her the Silver Bear for Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival.

‘Spotlight’ is Best Film

Another double winner was Tom McCarthy’s Boston-set Spotlight, a sort of early 21st-century All the President’s Men. The Los Angeles Film Critics followed the lead of their Boston counterparts by choosing it as the year’s Best Film.

Based on actual events, Spotlight shines on the Boston Globe‘s exposé of child sex abuse and cover-up involving members of the local Catholic archdiocese. The journalistic drama also won Best Screenplay (McCarthy and Josh Singer), but none of its extensive ensemble cast (New York Film Critics Circle winner Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, etc.) was singled out in the individual acting categories.

For Best Director, Tom McCarthy was bypassed by George Miller for the female-centered futuristic actioner Mad Max: Fury Road. Miller’s runner-up was the New York Film Critics’ winner: Todd Haynes, for the romantic lesbian drama Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara.

As an aside, curiously missing in action so far this awards season is Spotlight‘s fellow 2015 journalistic drama Truth, directed by James Vanderbilt, and starring Robert Redford and Cate Blanchett.

‘Son of Saul’: Géza Röhrig in the Los Angeles Film Critics Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film winner.

Best Actor category surprises: Michael Fassbender & Géza Röhrig

The Los Angeles Critics’ 2011 Best Actor winner,[2] Michael Fassbender was somewhat surprisingly back for his performance in Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs, in which he stars as the bespectacled, irascible Apple co-founder. A box office flop, the Jobs biopic had been considered a lesser awards season contender despite numerous positive reviews. (We did, however, select him in our predictions posted the night before the announcements. See further below.)

Even more surprising was Fassbender’s runner-up, Géza Röhrig, who plays a Jewish man forced to incinerate the bodies of Nazi concentration camp victims in László Nemes’ Son of Saul – Hungary’s submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar and, if ultimately nominated, the year’s top contender for the award.

Son of Saul was also the Los Angeles Film Critics’ choice in the Best Foreign Language Film category. And don’t be too surprised if Nemes’ Holocaust drama is selected as the National Society of Film Critics’ Best Picture of the year.

Alicia Vikander, Kristen Stewart

The Los Angeles Film Critics’ Best Supporting Actress was Alicia Vikander for one specific performance: her humanoid robot in Alex Garland’s Ex Machina. Vikander’s other 2015 movies were Burnt, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and The Danish Girl (which has been all but ignored by U.S. critics groups thus far).

Vikander’s runner-up was Kristen Stewart for Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria, in which the former Bella Swan and Snow White plays Juliette Binoche’s secretary. Earlier this year, Stewart became the first American actress to win the French Academy’s César Award for her performance, which also earned her kudos from the New York Film Critics and the Boston Society of Film Critics.

Both Vikander and Stewart can now be considered likely Best Supporting Actress Academy Award contenders. Having said that, Stewart’s Oscar fate largely depends on Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (and Screen Actors Guild) members’ ability to watch her film.

Last year, IFC Films scored with Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, which earned 6 Oscar nominations including Best Picture, in addition to a Best Actress nod for Marion Cotillard for the Belgian drama Two Days, One Night and another in the Best Documentary Feature category for John Maloof and Charlie Siskel’s Finding Vivian Maier.

This year, IFC Films biggest bets in the major Oscar categories are 45 Years and Clouds of Sils Maria, and stars Charlotte Rampling and Kristen Stewart – and to a lesser extent Rampling’s co-star and fellow veteran Tom Courtenay. Juliette Binoche might have had a chance in a weaker year, but competition in the Best Actress category is going to be strong.

Michael Shannon, ‘Amy’

The Los Angeles Film Critics’ surprising Best Supporting Actor was Michael Shannon, who plays a greedy, ruthless, powerful real estate broker – even the cops call him boss – in Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes. Shannon was the only U.S.-born winner in the acting categories.

Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehouse documentary Amy was the winner in the non-fiction category. Its runner-up was Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence, about a man confronting the murderer of his brother – one of an estimated 1 million victims of Indonesia’s anti-communist genocide of the 1960s.

Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa was the Best Animated Feature, while Ryan Coogler won the New Generation Award for the Rocky-esque Creed, featuring Michael B. Jordan and Sylvester Stallone.

The Los Angeles Film Critics have apparently just discovered Coogler, whose first feature film, Fruitvale Station, won/was nominated for scores of “Best New Filmmaker” awards a full two years ago.

Anne V. Coates: Sixth woman honored with Los Angeles Film Critics’ Career Achievement Award

Career Achievement Award recipient Anne V. Coates, who turns 90 next Dec. 12, and whose film editing credits range from David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia to Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Fifty Shades of Gray, is one of the precious few women to have been so honored in the last four decades. Her predecessors are actresses Barbara Stanwyck (1981) and Myrna Loy (1983), editor Dede Allen (1999), and actresses Doris Day (2011) and Gena Rowlands (2014).

The Los Angeles Film Critics’ 2015 ceremony was dedicated to experimental Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman (Je Tu Il Elle; Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels), who died last October at the age of 65.

2015 Los Angeles Film Critics winners

Best Film: Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight.

Runner-up: George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road.

Best Foreign Language Film: László Nemes’ Son of Saul.

Runner-up: Miroslav Slaboshpitsky’s The Tribe

Best Director: George Miller for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Runner-up: Todd Haynes for Carol.

Best Actress: Charlotte Rampling for Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years.

Runner-up: Saoirse Ronan for John Crowley’s Brooklyn.

Best Actor: Michael Fassbender for Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs.

Runner-up: Géza Röhrig for Son of Saul.

Best Supporting Actress: Alicia Vikander for Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.

Runner-up: Kristen Stewart for Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria.

Best Supporting Actor: Michael Shannon for Ramin Bahrani’s 99 Homes.

Runner-up: Mark Rylance for Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies.

Best Screenplay: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer for Spotlight.

Runner-up: Charlie Kaufman for Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s Anomalisa.

Best Cinematography: John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Runner-up: Edward Lachman for Carol.

Best Editing: Hank Corwin for Adam McKay’s The Big Short.

Runner-up: Margaret Sixel for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film: Asif Kapadia’s Amy.

Runner-up: Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence.

Best Production Design: Colin Gibson for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Runner-up: Judy Becker for Carol.

Best Music Score: Carter Burwell for Anomalisa and Carol.

Runner-up: Ennio Morricone for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

Best Animation: Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa.

Runner-up: Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen’s Inside Out.

New Generation: Ryan Coogler for Creed.

Career Achievement Award: Anne V. Coates.

Alicia Vikander Ex Machina Los Angeles Film Critics Best Supporting ActressAlicia Vikander in ‘Ex Machina’: Los Angeles Film Critics’ Best Supporting Actress. Vikander received no mention for ‘The Danish Girl.’

Early 2015 Los Angeles Film Critics Awards predictions

Addendum: Our Los Angeles Film Critics Awards 2015 predictions were posted the night before the winners were announced. We got quite a few of them wrong, but there were a couple of surprising matches. See further below.

In recent years, the LAFCA has gone where other critics groups fear to tread, selecting, for instance, the likes of Yolande Moreau (Séraphine), Kim Hye-ja (Mother), Yoon Jeong-hee (Poetry), Emmanuelle Riva (Amour), and Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color) in the Best Actress category – even though, gasp!, several of these actresses and their films weren’t even eligible for the Academy Awards.[3]

In other words, it’s hard to predict the unpredictable – especially when the unpredictable may involve schizophrenic, Hollywood commercial/anti-Hollywood uncommercial ties. Or when the Best Supporting Actress winner turns out to be, however deserving, someone like Agata Kulesza for a Polish movie like Ida. That’s the bad news.

The good news: if we get it wrong and the LAFCA selects someone like Juliette Binoche for Clouds of Sils Maria or Catherine Deneuve for In the Name of My Daughter or Gaspard Ulliel for Saint Laurent, or some other first-rate Polish actress, we’ll be very happy.[4]

L.A. Film Critics Awards 2015: Our initial predictions

Best Film: Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight.

Runner-up: John Crowley’s Brooklyn.

Best Foreign Language Film: Abderrahmane Sissako’s Timbuktu.

Runner-up: Anna Muylaert’s The Second Mother / Que Horas Ela Volta?

Best Director: Todd Haynes for Carol.

Runner-up: Abderrahmane Sissako for Timbuktu.

Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn.

Runner-up: Charlotte Rampling for 45 Years.

Best Actor: Michael Fassbender for Steve Jobs. (Wish: Ricardo Darín for Wild Tales.)

Runner-up: Michael Keaton for Spotlight.

Best Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart for Clouds of Sils Maria.

Runner-up: Alicia Vikander for Ex Machina.

Best Supporting Actor: Oscar Isaac for Ex Machina.

Runner-up: Mark Rylance for Bridge of Spies.

Best Screenplay: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer for Spotlight.

Runner-up: Phyllis Nagy for Carol.

Best Documentary/Non-Fiction Film: Asif Kapadia’s Amy. (Wish: Jafar Panahi’s Taxi.)

Runner-up: Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence.

Best Animation: Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen’s Inside Out.

Runner-up: Paul King’s Paddington.

Charlotte Rampling 45 Years Los Angeles Film Critics Best ActressCharlotte Rampling in ’45 Years’: Los Angeles Film Critics’ Best Actress is a potential contender for the Academy Awards.

Charlotte Rampling

[1] Charlotte Rampling has been featured in nearly 100 films in the last five decades, beginning with a bit part in Richard Lester’s 1965 Cannes Film Festival winner The Knack… and How to Get It.

She has since collaborated with the likes of Luchino Visconti (The Damned), Liliana Cavani (The Night Porter), Woody Allen (Stardust Memories), Sidney Lumet (The Verdict), François Ozon (Under the Sand, Swimming Pool, Angel), Gianni Amelio (The Keys to the House), Todd Solondz (Life During Wartime), Lars von Trier (Melancholia), and Dominik Moll (Lemming).

Charlotte Rampling has been shortlisted for four French Academy Awards and four European Film Awards. In 2001, she took home an Honorary César; in 2003, she won the Best Actress European Film Award for Swimming Pool.

Among Rampling’s leading men are Dirk Bogarde, Paul Newman, Kim Rossi Stuart, Max von Sydow, Michel Serrault, Michael Gambon, André Dussollier, Robert Mitchum, Sean Connery, Gabriel Byrne, and 45 Years’ Tom Courtenay.

Elsewhere this past weekend, the British Independent Film Awards picked Saoirse Ronan – last week’s New York Film Critics Circle choice – as Best Actress for Brooklyn, while the New York Film Critics Online opted for Brie Larson in Room, last week’s National Board of Review choice.

[2] In 2011, Michael Fassbender won Best Actor for four movies: A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, and X-Men: First Class.

There have been only three other Los Angeles Film Critics Association double winners in the Best Actor category:

  • Robert De Niro (Taxi Driver, 1976; Raging Bull, 1980).
  • Robert Duvall (Tender Mercies, 1983; The Apostle, 1997).
  • Jack Nicholson (Ironweed and The Witches of Eastwick, 1987; About Schmidt [tie with Daniel Day-Lewis], 2002.)

Daniel Day-Lewis is the Los Angeles Film Critics’ sole three-time Best Actor winner: My Left Foot, 1989; Gangs of New York, 2002 (tied with Jack Nicholson); and There Will Be Blood, 2007.

[3] Emmanuelle Riva tied with the Hollywood-friendly Jennifer Lawrence for David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, while Adèle Exarchopoulos tied with another Hollywoodite, Cate Blanchett, for Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Both Lawrence and Blanchett went on to win Best Actress Oscars.

They could’ve been contenders

[4] The list below, featuring potential – and ultimately failed – contenders in various award categories, was posted the night before the Los Angeles Film Critics Association announced its winners and runners-up:

  • Sylvester Stallone in Creed.
  • Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams in Spotlight.
  • Kate Winslet in Steve Jobs.
  • Charlize Theron in Mad Max: Fury Road.
  • Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy.
  • Jennifer Lawrence in Joy.
  • Marion Cotillard in Macbeth.
  • Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.
  • Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.
  • Denis Villeneuve’s Sicario.
  • Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol.
  • Sean Baker’s Tangerine.
  • Brie Larson in Room.
  • Jane Fonda in Youth.
  • Lily Tomlin in Grandma.
  • Ridley Scott’s The Martian and star Matt Damon.
  • Carey Mulligan in Suffragette.
  • Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander in The Danish Girl.
  • Maggie Smith in The Lady in the Van.
  • Tom Courtenay in 45 Years.
  • Ben Whishaw and Olivia Colman in Spectre.
  • Carey Mulligan in Suffragette.

 

Los Angeles Film Critics Awards’ Best Actor winner Michael Fassbender Steve Jobs image: Universal Pictures.

Los Angeles Film Critics Awards’ Best Actress winner Charlotte Rampling 45 Years image: Sundance Selects/IFC Films.

Los Angeles Film Critics’ Best Supporting Actress winner Alicia Vikander Ex Machina image: Universal Pictures.

Image of Géza Röhrig in the Los Angeles Film Critics Awards’ Best Foreign Language Film Son of Saul: Sony Pictures Classics.

Best Film winner Spotlight trailer: Open Road Films.

Los Angeles Film Critics Association website.

Boston Film Critics’ somewhat surprising Best Actress winner Charlotte Rampling in ’45 Years.’

Boston Film Critics Awards: Somewhat surprising winners Charlotte Rampling & Kristen Stewart winners

Those following the movies’ awards season will enjoy a smorgasbord of winners, runners-up, and WTFs/How could they? on Dec. 6. The Boston Society of Film Critics (a.k.a. just simply the Boston Film Critics), the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Online, and the British Independent Film Awards are all announcing their winners (and, by extension, non-winners). But not to worry, in case your favorite is not to be found on their lists, there’s always next year.

The Boston Film Critics named their winners and runners-up at the Brattle Theater in Cambridge. On Sunday morning, they tweeted: “We’re here! There’s coffee! Dues paid! Wifi working! Pizza ordered! Let the debating begin!”

‘Studio tactic’ leads to voting woes

There was quite a bit of debating and a whole lot of pizza-eating, it seems, as two hours later they had announced only a handful of winners. Some of the discussion had to do with the fact that local critics had trouble catching up with year-end releases. Here’s one tweet: “Problem: many film groups deciding awards in early December. Screenings access is difficult. 11th hour buzz = studio tactic.”

Studio mistactic, it seems. Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, featuring the twisted offspring of John Sturges’ The Magnificent Seven (themselves the bastard children of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai), is a case in point. “Discussion: A minority of our critics attended the screening of THE HATEFUL EIGHT – problematic for the timing of our awards,” the Boston Film Critics’ official twitterer complained.

After all, if critics are unable to watch a potential awards contender, they can’t (if they’re honest) vote for the film in question and give it extra free publicity. Of course, that makes no difference to something like J.J. Abrams’ Stars Wars: The Force Awakens, which has been manufactured with an embedded audience (and not shown to critics), but movies such as Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight and Todd Haynes’ Carol need all the help they can get from U.S. critics.

Even Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight could definitely have benefitted from some critical love. As it turned out, it didn’t receive a single mention (winner/runner-up) from the Boston critics.

Anyhow, below is a brief overview of this year’s Boston Film Critics award winners.

Boston Film Critics surprising Best Supporting Actress winner Kristen StewartBoston Film Critics’ somewhat surprising Best Supporting Actress winner Kristen Stewart in ‘Clouds of Sils Maria.’

‘Spotlight’ wins three awards, ‘The Look of Silence’ gets two mentions

The Boston-set Spotlight, which seems to be on its way to Oscar favorite-ness, was the not unexpected Best Film winner. Based on a true story, Tom McCarthy’s drama focuses on how the Boston Globe uncovered a massive case of corruption – child molestation and ensuing cover-up – within the local Catholic archdiocese. Spotlight also received awards for Best Screenplay and Best Ensemble – though none of its performers was shortlisted in the individual acting categories.

A couple of pleasant semi-surprises were victories for veteran Charlotte Rampling – whose half-century-plus film career (The Damned, The Night Porter) has lasted longer than the title of her film (45 Years) – and for former Twilight movie franchise star Kristen Stewart, apparently on her way to an Oscar nomination after replacing Mia Wasikowska (who had previously replaced Stewart herself) as Juliette Binoche’s secretary in Olivier Assayas’ French-made drama Clouds of Sils Maria.

Also worth noting, Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence, about a man confronting the murderer of his brother – one of countless victims during Indonesia’s anti-left-wing genocide of the 1960s – was singled out in two categories: Best Foreign Language Film of 2015 and as runner-up for Best Documentary (behind Asif Kapadia’s Amy Winehouse documentary Amy).

See below the full list of the Boston Film Critics’ 2015 award winners and runners-up.

2015 Boston Film Critics Awards

Best Film: Tom McCarthy’s Spotlight.

Runners-up: George Miller’s Mad Max: Fury Road. (According to Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr, a distant second.)

Best Foreign Language Film: Joshua Oppenheimer’s The Look of Silence.

Runners-up: Kornél Mundruczó’s White God and László Nemes’ Son of Saul.

Best Director: Todd Haynes for Carol.

Runners-up: Tom McCarthy for Spotlight.

Best Actor (tie): Paul Dano for Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy and Leonardo DiCaprio for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s The Revenant.

Runners-up: Bryan Cranston for Jay Roach’s Trumbo and Tom Hardy for Brian Helgeland’s Legend.

Best Actress: Charlotte Rampling for Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years.

Runner-up: Saoirse Ronan for John Crowley’s Brooklyn.

Best Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart for Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria.

Runner-up: Alicia Vikander (unspecified film; this year, she was seen in Ex Machina, The Danish Girl, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Burnt).

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance for Steven Spielberg’s Bridge of Spies.

Runner-up: Sylvester Stallone for Ryan Coogler’s Creed.

Best Ensemble: Spotlight (cast includes Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James, Elena Wohl, Gene Amoroso, Doug Murray, Billy Crudup).

Runner-up: Adam McKay’s The Big Short (cast includes Brad Pitt, Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Marisa Tomei, Finn Wittrock, Ryan Gosling, Max Greenfield, Karen Gillan, and Melissa Leo).

Best Screenplay: Tom McCarthy and Josh Singer for Spotlight.

Runner-up: Phyllis Nagy for Carol (from Patricia Highsmith’s novel).

Best Documentary: Asif Kapadia’s Amy.

Runner-up: The Look of Silence.

Best Animated Feature (tie): Pete Docter and co-director Ronnie Del Carmen’s Inside Out and Duke Johnson and Charlie Kaufman’s Anomalisa.

Runner-up: Mark Burton and Richard Starzak’s Shaun the Sheep Movie.

Best Cinematography: Edward Lachman for Carol.

Runner-up: Emmanuel Lubezki for The Revenant.

Best Editing: Margaret Sixel for Mad Max: Fury Road.

Runner-up: Tom McArdle for Spotlight.

Best Original Score: Love & Mercy.

Runner-up: Creed.

Best New Filmmaker: Marielle Heller for Diary of a Teenage Girl.

Runner-up: Alex Garland for Ex Machina.

 

Boston Film Critics’ Best Actress winner Charlotte Rampling 45 Years image: Sundance Selects / IFC Films.

Boston Film Critics’ Best Supporting Actress winner Kristen Stewart Clouds of Sils Maria image: Sundance Selects / IFC Films.

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