Monday, December 05, 2011

National Board of Review and NY Film Critics Circle Award Their "Best Of" for 2011

Three Breakout Movies

Last week, both the National Board of Review (NBR) and the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) voted the Iranian movie A Separation (Jodaeiye Nader az Simin) Best Foreign Film. Few outside the movie industry hear about the NBR or the NYFCC awards, but I post them because I rely upon them when making my Oscar picks.
A Separation, written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, was awarded the Golden Bear for best film and the Silver Bear for best acting ensemble at the Berlin Film Festival this year. In addition it won the FIPRESCI Prize at the Riga Film Forum in Latvia, along with many festival nominations and awards from various countries around the world.

I hope A Separation receives better treatment by the Academy this year than Farhadi's 2009 film, About Elly. For a list of films submitted and accepted for a run for and Oscar as Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards this coming February, see the link on the right sidebar.
Farhadi has a long list of awards beginning with his first movie, Dancing in the Dust in 2003, through his most previous film, About Elly. Unfortunately, his films have not received a single Oscar nomination. His internationally acclaimed About Elly was submitted to the Academy by Iran, but did not make the first cut. This year, A Separation was submitted by Iran. I hope the cultural, religious and political divides between the USA and Iran will not handicap this movie's chance for an Academy Award.
So far, there is hope for a first-time nomination for Farhadi. A Separation is about a married couple faced with a difficult decision. Should they move to another country to improve the life of their child, or stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's? For more on A Separation, click the title of this post.
The NY Film Critics Circle bestowed its Best Picture award for 2011 to Michel Hazanavicius’ black-and-white silent film The Artist, along with the Best Director award. I predict good things for this movie at the 84th Academy Awards.  Here is the NYFCC's winner's list:

Best Picture: The Artist
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki (The Tree of Life)
Best Screenplay: Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin (Moneyball)
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist)
Best Foreign-Language Film: A Separation
Best Actor: Brad Pitt (Moneyball, The Tree Of Life)
Best Actress: Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady)
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain (The Tree Of Life, The Help and Take Shelter)
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks (Drive)
Best Nonfiction Film: Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
Best First Feature: Margin Call
2011 Special Award: Raoul Ruiz (posthumous).
The National Board Of Review Named Hugo Best Film, and Martin Scorsese Best Director for the animated movie. I also predict good things for this movie at the Academy Awards. Here is is the NBR's winner's list:

Best Film: Hugo
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, Hugo
Best Actor: George Clooney, The Descendants
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners
Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
Best Original Screenplay: Will Reiser, 50/50
Best Adapted Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, The Descendants
Best Animated Feature: Rango
Breakthrough Performance: Felicity Jones, Like Crazy
Breakthrough Performance: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Debut Director: J.C. Chandor, Margin Call
Best Ensemble: The Help
Spotlight Award: Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Jane Eyre, Shame, X-Men: First Class)
NBR Freedom of Expression: Crime After Crime
NBR Freedom of Expression: Pariah
Best Foreign Language Film: A Separation
Best Documentary: Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
Special Achievement in Filmmaking: The Harry Potter Franchise – A Distinguished Translation from Book to Film.

The 84th Academy Awards nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PT, in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2011 will be presented on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood and Highland Center®, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

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