The Boston Society of Film Critics' (BSFC) very first Best Picture prize went to Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull (1980) and over the next 32 years they've mixed smart off the path choices with future Oscar darlings. In the past decade they seem to have mellowed and mainstreamed and unless you count a tie in 2008 (Wall•E shared the prize with Slumdog), it's been well over a decade since that grabby run when they thought outside the box consistently (1998-2001) when they were giving Best Film prizes to great movies like Out of Sight (2 below the line Oscar nods) Three Kings (0 Oscar attention) and Mullholland Dr (1 Oscar nod) which were obviously not going to play big with the Academy. (During that period they were also making interesting calls in non Oscar-baiting performances so something about the membership must have changed thereafter.
This year they've wrapped their Bostonian arms around native New Yorker Solomon Northrup in a big way giving 12 Years a Slave three top prizes. They were also kind to Nebraska and Enough Said which each won 2 prizes. Full list of winners with commentary after the jump
Picture 12 Years a Slave
Director Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Wolf of Wall Street was the runner up in all three categories
Yesterday an upstart Boston critics group which we didn't cover also went big for 12 Years. I think I'll have to institute a policy where we don't cover any awards group that hasn't been around for at least five years. Otherwise there's just too many and I'm unsure why new ones keep forming when so many existing ones covering just about every region on the planet are already in place! Unless it's a situation where people who've been rejected by certain critics groups are just forming their own so they can have one? I know it sucks to be rejected from established organizations. I've experienced it myself, twice by groups who don't seem to have high standards. LOL! But, my own tragicomedies aside, I'm not sure why other awards sites cover every new group with as much weight as they do every other group. It's like expanding the Best Picture category at the Oscars or the Golden Satellite awards with their 8 to 10 nominees in each category. Eventually through sheer numbers awards lose all meaning. Plus why do we need "online" to have its own distinctions/groups in 2013 when EVERYONE who does criticism is now an online presence?
That's a serious and not a rhetorical question. I wonder if the OFCS has ever had internal debates about their existence now. They were once an absolutely necessity but... now?
Actress Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
Supporting Actress June Squibb, Nebraska
Supporting Actor James Gandolfini, Enough Said
Ensemble Cast Nebraska
Screenplay Enough Said
I like Nebraska more than many of my closest critic friends but I don't quite get the Squibb thing. I can see nominations but considering her the very best actress in a supporting role this year seems... shall I just say it? okay... indefensible. I'm not trying to be argumentative but I just can't figure it. AND I LIKE THE MOVIE AND HER IN IT.
Foreign Film Wadjda (Saudia Arabia's Oscar submission)
Documentary The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer)
Animated Film The Wind Rises (Hayao Miyazaki)
Frozen lost this by just a hair with some voters abstaining. This voting was controversial due to one member's objections to the films politics, the point made being largely its sins of omission in the telling.
Cinematography Gravity (Emmanuel Lubeszki)
That's a beautiful choices and many critics prizes will follow but it's problematic in terms of Oscar as discussed. The runner up was Phillipe LeSourd's work on The Grandmaster
Editing Rush (Daniel P. Hanley and Mike Hill)
I had once predicted this film for an Oscar nomination in this very category but given that people were no longer talking about the film, I assumed people would forget. Maybe not.
Music Inside Llewyn Davis
First Film Ryan Coogler (Fruitvale Station)
The runner up was Joshua Oppenheimer for Act of Killing which seems like it would have been the obvious BSFC selection 10 years ago when they were a more daring society. But maybe they didn't want to give it two prizes.