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Holy Christmas Eve. It's More Critics Prizes

Argo is still soaring as precursors go...Tis the Season to Hear from Film Critics Circles and Orgs and Societies. The big news today – if you can call anything Off-Christmas news on Christmas Eve -- is that the Online Film Critics Society have announced their annual nominations with a parade of accordion accompanists on the streets of Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. Or at least that’s what I wish they’d done since they nominated Holy Motors for four prizes instead of the typical requisite runner up position here or there or nowhere. Instead of an accordion parade they just posted their nominations online…as societies are prone to do.

But they’re definitely worth mentioning this year as they seem to be sort-of-maybe a-little-bit-kind-of thinking for themselves beyond the standard pet-peevish traps -- there's plentiful category fraud (even though it doesn't really make sense for critics groups to do that unless they think of themselves as oscar pundits first in which case they might want to check their purpose and/ormission statements!) and the dismissals of Hugh Jackman and Matthew McConaughey, awardage impulses which tend to strike me as genre and gender-norms bias, respectively.


  • Argo
  • Holy Motors
  • The Master
  • Moonrise Kingdom
  • Zero Dark Thirty


lots more after the jump including weirdly formatted lists (i can't deal today. it's christmas eve) and three more regional critics prizes.


Ben Affleck – Argo

Paul Thomas Anderson – The Master

Wes Anderson – Moonrise Kingdom

Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty

Leos Carax – Holy Motors



Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln

John Hawkes – The Sessions

Denis Lavant – Holy Motors

Joaquin Phoenix – The Master

Denzel Washington – Flight



Jessica Chastain – Zero Dark Thirty

Jennifer Lawrence – Silver Linings Playbook

Emmanuelle Riva – Amour

Quvenzhané Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Rachel Weisz – The Deep Blue Sea



Alan Arkin – Argo

Dwight Henry – Beasts of the Southern Wild

Philip Seymour Hoffman – The Master

Tommy Lee Jones – Lincoln

Christoph Waltz – Django Unchained


Amy Adams – The Master

Ann Dowd – Compliance

Sally Field – Lincoln

Anne Hathaway – Les Misérables

Helen Hunt – The Sessions


The Cabin in the Woods – Joss Whedon, Drew Goddard

Looper – Rian Johnson

The Master – Paul Thomas Anderson

Moonrise Kingdom – Wes Anderson, Roman Coppola

Zero Dark Thirty – Mark Boal



Argo – Chris Terrio

Beasts of the Southern Wild – Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin

Cloud Atlas – Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski

Cosmopolis – David Cronenberg

Lincoln – Tony Kushner






The Secret World of Arrietty

Wreck-It Ralph




Holy Motors

Rust and Bone

This Is Not a Film

The Turin Horse



The Imposter

The Invisible War

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

The Queen of Versailles

This Is Not a Film



Argo – William Goldenberg

Cloud Atlas – Alexander Berner

The Master – Leslie Jones, Peter McNulty

Skyfall – Stuart Baird

Zero Dark Thirty – William Goldenberg, Dylan Tichenor



Life of Pi – Claudio Miranda

Lincoln – Janusz Kaminski

The Master – Mihai Malamiare Jr.

Moonrise Kingdom – Robert D. Yeoman

Skyfall – Roger Deakins


And we have three more regional critics groups to catalogue just for the helluva it



Best Picture: Argo (Rest of Top 10 Descending: “Zero Dark Thirty.” “Moonrise Kingdom.” “Django Unchained.” “Silver Linings Playbook.” “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

 “The Master.” “Lincoln.” “Looper.”and “Les Miserables.”]

Best Director: Ben Affleck, “Argo.”

Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln.”

Best Actress: Jessica Chastain, “Zero Dark Thirty.”
Best Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, “The Master.”

Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables.”

Best Animated Film: “Wreck-It Ralph.”

Best Body of Work (tie): Joseph Gordon-Levitt (“Looper,” “The Dark Knight Rises,” “Lincoln”) and

Matthew McConaughey (“Bernie,” “Magic Mike,” “Killer Joe”)

As a huge fan of Joseph Gordon Levitt I still have to say "WHAT THE BLOODY HELL?" In no way shape or form did he need a prize for 2 decent performances and 1 barely adequate one.

Best Documentary: “Searching for Sugar Man.”

Best First Feature: “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” Benh Zeitlin.

Best Foreign Language Film: “Amour.”

Best Guilty Pleasure: “21 Jump Street.”

Not-So-Obviously Worst Movie: “Prometheus.”

Obviously Worst Movie: “That's My Boy.”

Best Original Screenplay: Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola, “Moonrise Kingdom.”

Best Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo.”



Best Picture  "Zero Dark Thirty" (runner-up: "Looper")

Directing  Wes Anderson, "Moonrise Kingdom" (runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty")

Lead Actor  Joaquin Phoenix, "The Master" (runners-up: Daniel Day-Lewis, "Lincoln," and John Hawkes, "The Sessions")

Lead actress   [tie] Jennifer Lawrence, "Silver Linings Playbook," and Jessica Chastain, "Zero Dark Thirty"

Supporting Actor  Dwight Henry, "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (runner-up: Philip Seymour Hoffman, "The Master")

Supporting Actress  Anne Hathaway, "Les Misérables" (runner-up: Ann Dowd, "Compliance")

Original Screenplay  Rian Johnson, "Looper" (runner-up: Joss Whedon & Drew Goddard, "The Cabin in the Woods")

Adapted Screenplay Stephen Chbosky, "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (runner-up: David O. Russell, "Silver Linings Playbook")

Cinematography Roger Deakins, "Skyfall" (runner-up: Claudio Miranda, "Life of Pi")

Documentary Feature "Indie Game: The Movie" (runner-up: "The Invisible War")

Non-English Language Feature  "Headhunters" (runner-up: "Amour")

Animated Feature "ParaNorman" (runners-up: "Frankenweenie" and "Wreck-It Ralph")



Best Film - Argo
Best Director - [TIE] Ben Affleck & Kathryn Bigelow

Best Actor - John Hawkes (The Sessions)

Best Actress - TIE Helen Hunt (The Sessions) and Jennifer Lawrence (Silver Linings Playbook)

Best Supporting Actor - Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln)

Best Supporting Actress - Sally Field (Lincoln)

Best Youth Performance - Tom Holland (The Impossible)

Best Ensemble Cast - Lincoln

Best Animated Movie - Frankenweenie

Best Production Design - Les Miserables

Best Cinematography - Life Of Pi

Best Visual Effects - Life Of Pi

Final Takeaway Question: Why do you suppose critics groups bother with craft categories when they never do them full hog? Nearly all regional groups do one or two "craft" prizes but never all of them. Is this a statement that visual effects are more worthy than costume design or editing? Or whichever category they choose when they don't choose another. Is this just half-assery? It's weird but consistent through line for the regional prizes -- consistent in its half-assery but almost never consistent in which craft categories are deemed worthy of discussion. -- in most critics prizes.

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Reader Comments (15)

No offense, Nathaniel, but just like critics groups award the same films and performances over and over. You and many other bloggers talk about the same 7 films over and over. Not being mean, just an observation

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMelissa

Melissa -- it's true. thankfully the upcoming 5 worst of year and top 16 posts mathematically make it impossible to limit oneselves to the 7 films on everyone's lips.

December 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Re: Craft awards

I think it comes down to visibility and understanding of the art form. I, as a modestly informed film-goer feel like I can identify weak/strong editing or cinematography more effectively than makeup or sound editing.

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTorontom

Torontom -- you're probably right. But it's weird that, if that's the reason, so many of these critics think they understand editing ("the invisible art") better than super visible things like costume design and art direction.

December 24, 2012 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I agree: it's odd how the critics have such spotty interest in the technical categories. It's also as if their desire to act as bellwethers of the Oscars kind of runs out of steam: "Oh, I just can't be bothered to try to predict what the Academy will give Best Sound to!"

One thing I will say about this season, though: although the same films do keep cropping up again and again as usual, this year at least there are more films (and performances) in the mix - certainly enough to sustain suspense for all the top categories in advance of nomination day (though so many other films, and especially performances, deserve commendation, as per usual).

Nathaniel, I'm looking forward to the Film Bitch Awards to redress the balance!

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Any Best Actress list that includes Rachel Weisz is a good one in my opinion!

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTyler

Tyler - Indeed! We will never be grateful enough to the NYFCC. I almost forgive them for voting for The Iron Lady last year.

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Nathaniel, I've just realized that we haven't heard a single word from you on Weisz. Have you already seen the movie (we know you're seeing a lot of things for your awards (did you LOVE Killer Joe? say something!))

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Glad to see Rachel Weisz' name show up as well as Ann Dowd, even if it doesn't pay off in a nomination as hoped this is raising her recognition profile which should bring her more work. Of course I'm always glad to see Sally pick up an award for her superior work.

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterjoel6

Oklahoma's list is super fun when they included the obviously worst and not-so-obviously worst movie, lol. At least they try to be fun in the midst of the same 7 movies being awarded.
But I can't understand why they left out one movie each from JGL and Matthew's film list in 2012 (that would be Premium Rush & The Paperboy), no matter how bad the movie or how insignificant the movie is in this award season it's still their work thus eligible for body of work mention.
And last but not least, because I'm from Asia I'm now at Christmas day already. Wish you a Merry Christmas, Nat. Cheer up, alrhough your Christmas day doesn't arrive until the Oscar nomination morning. :)

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

I must say the most interesting choice for an acting award so far came from the Toronto group. Gina Gershon. Gotta love them.

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

But it's weird that, if that's the reason, so many of these critics think they understand editing ("the invisible art") better than super visible things like costume design and art direction.

By whose criteria dictates good editing equals invisibility? The obvious cuts aren't necessarily intended to be a flamboyant flourish of technique. You say that they're better off judging costume design and then complain when they don't recognize contemporary and subtle productions. You can't have it both ways. Wait I just realized since you're a Gemini you're a bit out of your mind as is. Carry on.

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Even I'm guilty of talking about some of the same films as all the other bloggers and I make it a point to force sci-fi, fantasy, and horror into the debate. Holy Motors, The Sessions, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are going to be talked about a lot on my site the next few weeks. I'm sure Zero Dark Thirty will hop on, too, when I finally see it.

There is a problem with trying to complain about a sameness in recognition. If we're looking for the Best and there are certain standards that have developed that signify good, important filmmaking in America, we're naturally going to be drawn to those films. Beasts, Holy Motors, and (say) Moonrise Kingdom are going to be talked about because they're technically well-made films with impressive performances and strong concepts. They're not arbitrary choices.

I thought I was the only one who saw the emperor had no clothes on when I saw Silver Linings Playbook because those of us who really did not like it were drowned out by the choirs of critics singing its praises. But to the people who are talking about that film, it is a strong film. No amount of discussion about other films will stop them from steering the conversation back to their favorite. You can't just ignore the trends, either. The word of mouth gets to you and you almost feel obligated to see it and write something of substance whether you like it or not.

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

" The Cabin in The Woods" best original screenplay? Are these people on crack?!

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

That supporting actress line-up is the most boring outcome for the Oscars.

December 24, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

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