erik lundegaard

National Society of Film Critics Loves 'Llewyn," Ignores 'Wolf'

Llewyn Davis and cat

The cat's pajamas: Llewyn and Ulysses on a odyssey to nowhere.

The National Society of Film Critics, one of my favorite film-critic bodies, chose its best of 2013 last night. Their votes, my thoughts:

BEST PICTURE
*1. Inside Llewyn Davis – 23
2. American Hustle – 17
3. 12 Years a Slave – 16
3. her – 16

First, I like that we don't just get winners and runners-up; we get vote tallies. Imagine if AMPAS did this. Second, where is “The Wolf of Wall Street”? No takers? In New York? The fuck? But I love “Llewyn,” so ...

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. Joel and Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis) – 25
2. Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) – 18
3. Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) – 15

Do directors ever win best director awards for the original meaning of the word—directing the actors—or is it all about auteur sensibility now? Or some combo? I suppose I have no favorites in this category, but I'd definitely put David O. Russell and Martin Scorsese ahead of NSFC's 2 and 3.

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
*1. Blue Is the Warmest Color – 27
2. A Touch of Sin – 21
3. The Great Beauty – 15

Yep. Although I haven't seen “A Touch of Sin.” Most of the best foreign-language films tend to arrive in the spring of the following year. This year, for example, I enjoyed “A Hijacking,” “No,” “The Gatekeepers,” etc., but I assume those are 2012 movies for NSFC.

BEST NON-FICTION FILM
*1. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer) – 20
*1. At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman) – 20
3. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel) – 18

For all the good docs I've seen this year, I haven't seen these three. Should've seen No. 1 at SIFF. Blew it. Maybe today? Via iTunes? Anyone?

BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke) – 29
2. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen) – 26
3. American Hustle (Eric Singer and David O. Russell) – 18

OK, besides my obvious antipathy for “Before Midnight,” how can “her” get votes for best pic and Spike Jonze get bupkis in this category? The movie has some of the most memorable lines of the year; and some of the most daring choices.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel) -28
2.Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki) – 26
3. Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael) – 19

Looks good. All around.

BEST ACTOR
*1. Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) – 28
2. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) – 19
3. Robert Redford (All Is Lost) – 12

This is one tough category, particularly this year, since the actor of the year, Matthew McConaughey, isn't even named for “Mud” or “Dallas Buyers Club” or “Wolf of Wall Street” (brilliant cameo). Neither is Joaquin Phoenix for “her.” Both men are quickly becoming my favorite actors. But if I had to give this award right now, it would go to Leo in “Wolf of Wall Street.” He was channeling something in that movie that not many actors since Jack Nicholson in his prime have channeled.

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) – 57
2. Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color) – 36
3. Julie Delpy (Before Midnight) – 26

Replace Delpy with Judi Dench in “Philomena,” a movie that's sadly being forgotten by most critics, and you've got it. Remember what the producer of “Gladiator” said after it won best picture? What he said to Russell Crowe? About filling the screen with the force of his face? That's what Judi Dench does in “Philomena.” Unforgettable and heartbreaking and beautiful.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. James Franco (Spring Breakers) – 24
2. Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) – 20
3. Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) – 14

Put Leto up a notch, remove Franco (although he was good in that awful movie), sub in Fassbender in “12 Years.”

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) – 54
2. Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) – 38
3. Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) – 18
3. Léa Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color) – 18

Another tough category. Nice to see Sally Hawkins here. Hey, no one ever mentions Bobby Canavale in same, do they? Should.

Those are my quick thoughts. Yours?


Posted at 05:13 PM on Sun. Jan 05, 2014 in category Movies - Awards  
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COMMENTS

Nicholas G. Brown wrote:

Definitely watch 'The Act of Killing'; you won't regret it.

Comment posted on Mon. Jan 06, 2014 at 06:47 AM

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