Ironically for a critics organization with just two web-based members, the New York Film Critics Circle seems a little obsessed with firsties. They moved up their annual vote on the best movies of the year from mid-December to the last week of November in order to jump ahead of other critics groups and their awards (the National Board of Review, the traditional holders of the “FIRST!” title among movie reviewers, announces their winners tomorrow). That led to some controversy when it was revealed that the NYFCC’s early vote meant they wouldn’t be able to see some films, like Stephen Daldry’s “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” So who did they pick?
The New York Film Critics chose the silent film tribute “The Artist” as their Best Picture and Best Director winners but in terms of sheer quantity of awards, Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life” came out on top, winning Best Cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki), Best Actor (Brad Pitt) and Best Supporting Actress (Jessica Chastain). Pitt’s award was also given for his performance in the baseball true story “Moneyball,” which also received the Best Screenplay award. Awards season queen Meryl Street earned Best Actress honors for “The Iron Lady,” Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary “Cave of Forgotten Dreams” picked up the Best Nonfiction Film award while Albert Brooks received the Best Supporting Actor award for “Drive.”
It’s another early win for “The Artist,” which is quickly shaping into the Oscar frontrunner. It got to be the “FIRST!” Best Picture winner but awards season is long and complicated. Whether or not it’s also the “last” Best Picture winner at the Academy Awards remains to be seen. Sort of like “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” The full list of NYFCC winners is below.
The 2011 New York Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Picture: “The Artist”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”
Best Screenplay: Steven Zallian and Aaron Sorkin, “Moneyball”
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Best Foreign Language Film: “A Separation”
Best Actor: Brad Pitt, “Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, “The Tree of Life,” “The Help,” and “Take Shelter”
Best Nonfiction Film: Cave of Forgotten Dreams
Best First Feature: Margin Call
2011 Special Award: Raoul Ruiz