December 10, 2012

The Weekend in Critics Awards

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Written by: Mitch Salem
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The big prizes this weekend were the Los Angeles Film Critics Association awards, LAFCA has a habit of showcasing its iconoclasm (the organization has only given its Best Picture prize to the eventual Oscar winner once in the past 18 years, for The Hurt Locker), and this year was no exception.

Best Picture went to Michael Haneke’s AMOUR, an uncompromising portrait of fatal illness and old age which has been beloved of film festivals since Cannes and will hit US theatres next week.  Best Director went to Paul Thomas Anderson for THE MASTER, which was also the runner-up for Picture.  (Runner-up for Director was Kathryn Bigelow for ZERO DARK THIRTY.)  

Performance honors were split among contenders for the more prominent awards and less mainstream choices.  Actor went to The Master‘s Joaquin Phoenix (Denis Lavant of HOLY MOTORS was runner-up), and Actress was a tie between Jennifer Lawrence for SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK and Amour‘s Emmanuelle Riva.  Supporting Actress went to Amy Adams for The Master, with Anne Hathaway as runner-up for both LES MISERABLES and THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.  Supporting Actress took an esoteric turn, with Dwight Henry of BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD taking the prize, and Christoph Waltz the runner-up for DJANGO UNCHAINED.  (Director Benh Zeitlin of Beasts also took a “New Generation” award.)

ARGO picked up Screenplay (Silver Linings Playbook was runner-up), and was runner-up to Zero Dark Thirty for Editing.  Cinematography went to the interesting and not unworthy SKYFALL, with Master as runner-up.  Master was runner-up again for Score, this time to Beasts of the Southern Wild, but Master took the lead in Production Design, with MOONRISE KINGDOM making an appearance behind it.

In other categories, FRANKENWEENIE won Animated Film (ahead of IT’S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY), Holy Motors took Foreign-Language Film (FOOTNOTE was runner-up), and Documentary went to THE GATEKEEPERS (runner-up was SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN).

The lesser (no offense) critics’ organizations were more in line with what have been consensus picks, with the Boston Society of Film Critics, the NY Film Critics Online and the DC Film Critics all going with Zero Dark Thirty as Best Picture and Kathryn Bigelow as Director.  Boston’s acting awards went to Daniel Day-Lewis (for LINCOLN, of course), Emannuelle Riva, Ezra Miller (for THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER) and Sally Field; the NY Onliners went with Day-Lewis, Riva, Tommy Lee Jones and Hathaway; DC’s choices were Day-Lewis and Hathaway paired with Jessica Chastain and Philip Seymour Hoffman.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."