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Austin moves to "Beale St." and AWFJ loves "Roma"

by Nathaniel R

How many critics groups are left? We honestly lose track!

Today we're looking at two more. First is the Austin Film Critics Association who were the only group brave enough in 2006 to step away from Helen Mirren's inexplicable steamroll for The Queen in a Best Actress year that was insane with great options (their iconoclastic choice that year: Ellen Page in Hard Candy). This year though they haven't strayed very far from consensus except that they gave Roma only one prize (!).

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists also announced their prizes which are an exact carbon copy, down the line, of critical consensus leaders, so it's a good thing they have several unusual categories, too. Here are the results...


Best Film: If Beale Street Could Talk (dir: Barry Jenkins)
Best Director: Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Actress: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Best Actor: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Supporting Actor: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best EnsembleWidows

The usual suspects but for a shut-out of Roma in the top two prizes with If Beale Street Could Talk taking those. This is the first year Austin has given out an ensemble award.

Best Original Screenplay: Boots Riley, Sorry to Bother You
Best Adapted Screenplay: Barry Jenkins, If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma

Fascinating that no critics groups were willing to look beyond Roma for cinematography. And by fascinating we mean annoying. Yes, Roma is unquestionably awesome to look at. But NO other cinematography this year its equal? That seems like a stretch to these eyeballs. If Oscar voters feel similarly we might have a REALLY weird cinematography list this year at Oscar. You need #1 votes to land a nomination. If 80% of ballots have Roma up top, that's really slim margins for the rest of the field so concentrated fandoms will be very important. Which films might benefit from the tiniest fractions of concentrated fandom making the difference in this field?

Best Score: Jóhann Jóhannsson, Mandy
Best Editing: Tom Cross, First Man
Best Foreign-Language Film: Burning (dir: Chang-dong Lee)
Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (dir: Morgan Neville)
Best Animated Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (dir: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman)
Best Stunts: Mission: Impossible — Fallout
Best Motion Capture/Special Effects Performance: Josh Brolin, Avengers: Infinity War
Best First Film: Eighth Grade (dir: Bo Burnham)
Breakthrough Artist Award: Brian Tyree Henry, If Beale Street Could Talk, Widows, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Austin Film Award: Support the Girls (dir: Andrew Bujalski)
Special Honorary Award: To Bo Burnham, Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton for their brilliant collaborative work on Eighth Grade.
AFCA 2018 Top Ten Films:

  1. The Favourite
  2. Roma
  3. Blindspotting
  4. You Were Never Really Here
  5. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  6. First Reformed
  7. If Beale Street Could Talk
  8. Eighth Grade
  9. Shoplifters
  10. Suspiria

Color us confused that If Beale Street Could Talk is way down at #7 in their top ten list but took their best film prize and Roma is at #2 but also missed their foreign film prize?


Best Film: Roma
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, Roma
Best Actress: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Best Actor: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk
Best Supporting Actor: Richard E. Grant, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best EnsembleBlack Panther

Best Original Screenplay: The Favourite
Best Adapted Screenplay: Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best Cinematography: Roma
Best Editing: Roma
Best Foreign-Language Film: Roma
Best Documentary: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (dir: Morgan Neville)
Best Animated Film: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (dir: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman)

So, they picked the consensuzzzz vote in literally every category with one caveat: Ensemble doesn't really have a consensus, though, since not every organization gives that prize and it's not Oscar related so people don't feel the need to be predictive (relief!). So since they're not budging on the usuals, and co-signing what every other male-dominated critics group has chosen, we have to look to their special awards to get something resembling a unique point of view.

Best Woman Director: Marielle Heller, Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Best Woman Screenwriter: Deborah Davis, The Favourite
Best Animated Female: Elastigirl, Incredibles 2
Breakthrough Performance: Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace
Outstanding Achievement by a Woman in the Film Industry: Rachel Morrison for paving the way with her Oscar nomination for Mudbound followed by DP work on Black Panther
Actress Defying Age and Ageism: Viola Davis, Widows
Bravest Performance: Olivia Colman, The Favourite
Actress Most in Need of a New Agent: Jennifer Lawrence, Red Sparrow
Most Egregious Age Difference Between Lead and Love Interest Mission Impossible Fallout, Tom Cruise (56) and Rebecca Ferguson (35)
Remake or Sequel That Shouldn't Have Been Made: Overboard
Hall of Shame Award Alleged Abusers Weinstein, Moonves, CK, Rush, Franco, Singer, Rose, Lauer, et al

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Reader Comments (23)

Those AWFJ special awards are so cringey and backhanded. At worst, rude. At best, patronizing.

What about the actor most in need of a new agent? What about the critics circle most in need of better categories?

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

Even AWFJ didn't want to give anything to the role about a wife's subjugation to her husband in a movie called "The Wife."

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Nicole has been shortlisted for the "new agent" award three times including once for The Paperboy.

I have plenty of suggestions for Actresses Most in Need of Nicole Kidman's Agent. They should be so lucky!

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

Hayden -- lol. good call.

January 11, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I think the most egregious age difference prize is pretty cruel too. A 56-year-old and a 35-year-old should not be seen as something egregious. Granted, I understand that people are sick and tired of middle-aged men chasing after youing women in Hollywood films. Fair enough. But if it's two consenting adults and the relationship isn't abusive, I don't think age gaps should be called out - in a story or in real life.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

The AWFJ are just embarassing. They shortlisted Melissa McCarthy for actress in need of a new agent this year as she's getting the best reviews of her career and is on the road to a second Oscar nomination.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

@Edward L., the age difference prize doesn't really seem to be shaming relationships with large age gaps. It seems, to me, to be more critcial of the Hollywood casting/big budget film process, where where women over their 30s aren't viewed as sexy, worth pursuing, or viewed as believable love interests for older men. They're more calling out a system that casts aside women over their 30s, than they are being critical of relationships with age differences.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoe

@Joe—they gave the prize to Glenn and Mia for Albert Nobbs. It's purely an age thing.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

I find myself falling in line with consensus this year in all of the acting categories although Lee Chang-dong's Burning is my top film of the year by a mile. Odd position to be in.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterW.J.

Suzanne--Absolutely cosign. I am so overjoyed that Melissa seems to have this Oscar nomination in the bag. Her performance is so subtle, so specific, so stealthily emotional, that it's the kind of quiet work that often gets overlooked come awards season. I feel that she's not getting enough time in the current conversation, with everyone focused on Colman and Close. I adore her in the movie and the film itself.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

The case of Ethan Hawke this year is odd. An almost clean sweep of critics prizes, one would expect the Oscar nomination to be a lock, perhaps even a steamroller for the win yet the Globes and SAG overlooked him. Why does it feel like his Oscar nomination chance is 50/50?

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterReady

Joe: You have a good point, but I'd be more persuaded that their award was about that if it was called something that more reflected your point.

Ready: I'm not sure it's even 50/50 now, given that BAFTA haven't nominated him either. It's so odd. And I so hope he rebounds and gets the Oscar nomination. Boy does he deserve it.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

Shame to see You Were Never Really Here make a top 5 of a group that places its best film as the 7th best of the year.


January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

@Ready: Critics groups these days have their own agendas. They're probably trying as hard as they can to get him nominated (and I agree he fully deserves it). I think they've been doing the same thing with Toni Collette and really pushing Olivia Colman for the win.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

It there were more films with a male twenty-one years younger than his female partner, I don't think this would be an issue for the AWFJ. I, frankly, think it IS ageism to criticize inter-generational relationships, assuming the younger of the two is at least 18 or 20 IN REAL LIFE, but movies are stuck in this rut where any woman over 35 is considered too old to be the partner of a male according to the studios and casting agents, even if that male is... God., what.. 55-60, right? Clint Eastwood's female co-star in THE MULE, Dianne Wiest, has been cited as a refreshingly age APPROPRIATE love interest. SHE IS EIGHTEEN YEARS YOUNGER THAN HE IS. Hey, I dated someone about that much younger than me for a while (me 45 at the time, him 29), but that shouldn't be the default in every single damn Hollywood film, always to the detriment of women actors over 35.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDan H

Always follow the half-your-age-plus-seven rule. Anything younger is automatically creepy and predatory. I don’t make the rules!

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRB

Dan H: Believe me, I'm also tired if those tedious Hollywood tropes you describe.

RB: I'm afraid I think that's a stupid rule. I appreciate it's not your rule; I've heard it before. It's a soundbite, nothing more. Besides, half your age plus seven is exactly the age gap that this award is criticising - 56 and 35 - so clearly it doesn't work the way it should as it still leaves people criticising!

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

To be fair Tom Cruise looks like 56 minus around 20 years.

January 11, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I can't argue with that, "Me."

Does anyone remember OUTLAND from 1981? Sean Connery in kind of a space western directed by Peter Hyams. He was 51 at the time it came out. His costar was the amazing Frances Sternhagen, born like Connery, in 1930, so the same age. But they couldn't have the two of them romantically involved. Oh, no! So they create a totally superfluous part for a beautiful young actress, cast one (Kika Markham, good enough), and add romantic subplot. The two of them have zero chemistry whatsoever. On the other hand, Connery has great chemistry with Sternhagen. The two of then should have gone to bed together. It would have made the film so much more interesting.

January 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDan H.

I remember when Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart won the Most Egregious Age Difference Between the Leading Man and the Love Interest for Twilight: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 because his character was more than 100 years old.

January 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterHarmodio

One can only hope these decisions reflect Oscar voters. I am so sick of the acclaim for films like Green Book, Vice, Bohemian Rhapsody, etc. that I am seriously considering cancelling my Oscar party this year. Fuck this shit!

January 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterIshmael

You'll live^^

January 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMe

I feel like these film critics associations really should double check their votes and ensure that there is some sort of consistency to their decision before officially release the result, or else it just seems like they are absent-minded. Case in point, Austin Film Critics Associations voted for Burning as Best Foreign Film, yet it is not ranked in their top 10, while Shoplifters is number 9, yet it didn’t win Best Foreign? Did they forget that Shoplifters was also a foreign film released in 2018 when deciding on Best Foreign, or did they overlooked Burning when they were compiling their top 10?

January 12, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEri

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