New York Film Critics Circle and Gotham Awards Insufficiently Awed by Tree of Life

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11/29/2011 1:53 PM |


A few short years ago, in the halcyon days before Twitter, New York Film Critics Circle Mike D’Angelo got in trouble for texting the results of the group’s annual vote to a friend, who live-blogged the results. This morning, the NYFCC actually live-tweeted the results, from the newly formed @NYFCC2011 account. (Which is not the official NYFCC twitter account: this is. I’m not sure what this is.) Mostly, though, @NYFCC2011 dryly announced winners at 30-minute intervals or so; no, the NYFCC’s Year of Twitter belonged to the courageous fake live-tweeting of Fake Armond White. See above, and, really, just the whole thing please.

Anyway, the NYFCC moved their voting date up a couple of weeks, lest they feel a widdle bit wess infwentual than they feel they ought to be. They were originally scheduled to vote yesterday, but it was moved back today and they all went to, I’m deducing, a fairly exclusive embargoed screening of Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. (I was not invited, because I am emphatically not the widely respected Elle film critic Karen Durbin.) A fat lot of good it did: Best Picture went to The Artist, and Best Director to its director Michel Hazanavicius.

Moving up the date also ensured an early NYC screening of The Iron Lady—Meryl Streep won Best Actress for it—as I thought it might, though I also naively thought that the screening would be held through the usual pr channels and that I’d be able to send a writer or writers to it in time for year-end lists and polls and maybe even coverage. Guess not.

Anyway, the rest of the awards!

The interesting thing about the NYFCC is its diversity, from rigorous alt-weekly cranks to daily-paper grinds to glossy star-fluffers; this year’s awards are notable, as ever, for the detente they find between the poles of the mainstream critical establishment.

With cutesy-pie crowd-pleaser The Artist , Hazanavicius demonstrated that he had seen several silent movies. Best First Feature? Margin Call. Can be framed as topical, or political, depending upon your orientation. Best Non-Fiction Film? Cave of Forgotten Dreams. World Cinema’s most huggable auteur (a German New Wave survivor who also released a death-penalty doc this year) makes a 3D film about cave paintings.

The other acting awards went to Brad Pitt (for Moneyball and Tree of Life) his Tree of Life co-star, Jessica Chastain (also cited for Take Shelter and The Help), and Drive‘s Albert Brooks. Moneyball got screenplay for Zaillian and Sorkin (ew); Tree of Life got cinematography for the great Emmanuel Lubezki. Best Foreign Film went to the forthcoming NYFF entry A Separation, and Raul Ruiz received a posthumous citation.


And last night, the Independent Filmmaker Project’s annual, increasingly star-studded Gotham Awards were handed out at Cipriani Wall Street; in the nebulous world of independent film, the Best Feature award was split between Tree of Life and Beginners.

In the Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You category, the interrogation doc Scenes of a Crime won—it’s now guaranteed a week at Cinema Village

Dee Rees won “breakout director” for Pariah, the Fort Greene-set story of a gay African-American teen, opening here in late December; and Best Documentary went to the very fine domestic terror/confidential informants expose Better This World (whose directors we interviewed early this year).

(The nice thing about the Gothams is that there’s only a few awards; the rest is tributes of people who you don’t mind seeing quoted a half-dozen times on your Twitter feed. David Cronenberg said, upon receiving his lifetime achievement award, “I’m here because I’m a failure. I have failed to sell out.”)

Anyway. 2011/2012 Awards Season Fever! Catch it?

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