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Utah Picks "Drive", Black Film Critics Love "Pariah", And More...

Well, look at that!

Critics group finally veered off the three well paved roads of Best Picture honors (The Artist, The Descendants and The Tree of Life were the only previous films named "Best Picture" by a US critics group. No, the NBR is not a critics group). Utah named Drive the Best Picture of 2011 and the Black Film Critics Circle went for The Help

Their love for the film which earned two additional prizes also broke up the clean sweep by The Tree of Life in cinematography. Emmanuel Lubezki's god like talents are truly majestic (and have been jaw dropping for a long time prior to The Tree of Life) but it's nice to see another artistic photographic achievement honored, in this case Newton Thomas Sigel's evocative night time cityscapes and theatrically dreamy interiors. Sigel has done rich work before, particularly on X2: X-Men United and Three Kings, but nothing as fine as his work on Drive. He's never been honored by his own guild or Oscar so hopefully that'll happen for him this year since he's done his best work ever.

Consider this prize a wee detour as there are more honors to come for Lubezki, though, surely. Lubezki might actually win the Oscar this year... though I'm trying not to hope for it too emphatically as Oscar has a way of ignoring his genius.


Full list of Utah's prizes and two more critics groups after the jump...

Utah Film Critics Association
Picture Drive (ru: The Artist)
Director Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist (ru: Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive)
Actress Michelle Williams, My Week With Marilyn (ru: Rooney Mara)
Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 50/50 (ru: Jean Dujardin) 
Supporting Actress: Amy Ryan, Win Win (ru: Vanessa Redgrave)
Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, Drive (ru: Christopher Plummer)
Original Screenplay: 50/50 (ru: Beginners)
Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants (ru: The Muppets)
Cinematography: Newton Thomas Sigel, Drive (ru: Tree of Life)
Documentary: Senna (ru: Project Nim)
Foreign Language Film: A Separation (ru: 13 Assassins)
Animated Film: Rango (ru tie: The Aventures of Tintin and Kung Fu Panda 2)

More new critics awards were also recently announced including the Black Film Critics Circle and the Southeastern Film Critics Association.

Black Film Critics Circle -founded in 2010
Picture The Help (their top ten list in descending order after The Help: The Artist, Pariah, Drive, The Descendants, Attack the Block, Tree of Life, Hugo, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Warrior)
Director Dee Rees, Pariah
Actress Viola Davis, The Help
Actor Oliver Litondo, The First Grader
Supporting Actress: Octavia Spencer, The Help
Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, Drive
Independent Film: Pariah
Original Screenplay Dee Rees, Pariah
Adapted Screenplay Tate Taylor, The Help
Documentary: Being Elmo, A Puppeteer's Journey
Foreign Language Film Life Above All
Animated Film: Rango
Ensemble The Help 
Pioneer Harry Belafonte
Rising Star Adepero Oduye, Pariah 

A good day for Pariah which I've recently seen and which is won-der-ful! But it's yet another film that has suffered from cobwebs forming and people forgetting about it as it awaits release. It first made the news nearly 12 months ago now at Sundance. Still awaiting release... December 28th, but one has to wonder why distributors so rarely try to capitalize on Sundance buzz and wait it out until they're old news.

More on Pariah to come. Highly recommended.

Southeastern Film Critics Association
Picture The Descendants (their top ten list in descending order after Payne's comic drama is: The Artist, Hugo, Moneyball, The Tree of Life, Drive, Midnight in Paris, Win Win, War Horse and The Help)
Director Martin Scorsese, Hugo (ru: Hazanavicius)
Actress Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady (ru:  Swinton)
Actor George Clooney, The Descendants (ru: Fassbender) 
Supporting Actress: Janet McTeer, Albert Nobbs (ru: Woodley)
Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, Beginners (ru: Brooks)
Original Screenplay: Midnight in Paris (ru: The Artist)
Adapted Screenplay: The Descendants (ru: Moneyball)
Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, The Tree of Life (ru: Robert Richardson, Hugo)
Documentary: Project Nim (ru: Tabloid)
Foreign Language Film: A Separation (ru: The Skin I Live In)
Animated Film: Rango (ru: The Aventures of Tintin)
The Gene Wyatt Award: The Help (ru: Undefeated) 


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Reader Comments (11)

Can't help but notice that, except for Win Win, the Southeastern Film Critics Association's top ten is basically Peter Travers all over again.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJ.P.

JP -- yeah, there's not much imagination in film criticism these days which is sad. Seems highly unlikely that all film critics have the same taste as Oscar ;)

December 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

It's nice to hear that Pariah is good. I have to admit, I've been put off from seeing it thanks to the long wait. I see a lot of movies at BAM cinema in Brooklyn and they've shown the preview for Pariah before every movie for the last year. Seriously. EVERY single time for months and months. I can now recite the entire trailer (I'm not broken. I'm free.) and have therefore built up a Pavlovian negative reaction to the movie itself thanks to the drumming, endless "isn't this movie out yet" feeling. I'm not proud of my reaction but there it is. And to think that I wanted to see it after the first time I saw the trailer...

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTom M

Tom -- yeah, it's confounding. It was never going to be an Oscar movie so why wait until December 28th? Distributors honestly make no sense. You'd think Oscar season generated $100 milliion blockbusters for every movie deemed Oscar-worthy to convince them to release ALL movies this way. It doesn't. Statistics show it basically only gives a big bump to Best Picture nominees. and especially winners.

December 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Wow a critics association (other than London) has finally mentioned Redgrave!

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterramification

"Lubezki might actually win the Oscar this year... though I'm trying not to hope for it too emphatically as Oscar has a way of ignoring his genius."

Doesn't Oscar have a way of ignoring about 98% of geniuses (geniusi?)? It still feels kind of unreal that Tilda somehow managed to win one.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan

Man, I really hope Drive pulls off an upset BP nomination, and I think it still has a chance, especially since this shows it's still on the awards radar. Hopefully it has hidden enthusiasm amongst the cinematography and music branches, which may not be factored into other awards shows.

I wonder if it's the most talked-about movie of the year, and if being an oddly talked-about movie helps (e.g. Crying Game, Pulp Fiction, TWBB). Maybe I'm just imagining that it's been getting a lot of attention, however.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMarsha Mason

Rami -- second time. She won the San Francisco Film Critics.

Marsha -- i keep trying not to wishful think that either!

December 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Drive is (currently*) my favorite film of the year and I'm from Utah, so the love for the movie makes me pretty happy.

*Living in Utah though I still have to wait till January (and on) to see some of the films from 2011.

December 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentergrburbank

grburbank -- since i logged several years in Utah, i sympathize. it can take awhile there!

December 21, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

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January 2, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbelo
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