More critics groups go for “The Artist”

More critics groups go for “The Artist” (photo)

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In film nerds circles, yesterday is what’s known as “Super Sunday,” when a whole bunch of critics groups all announce their award winners on the same day. Do a couple of press releases qualify the day for an adjective reserved for presidential elections and internationally televised football games? If your movie wins something, absolutely.

Yesterday, the big winner once again with the silent film pastiche “The Artist” which earned Best Picture honors from The New York Film Critics Online and Boston Society of Film Critics. It also got a “special award” from the American Film Institute, a particularly impressive (or suspicious) honor considering the AFI only considers “incontrovertibly American” films and “The Artist” was made by a French cast and crew.

The other major critics groups who announced their winners on Sunday went for two other awards season favorites. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association voted for Alexander Payne‘s “The Descendants” while the San Francisco Film Critics Circle went for the full highbrow and picked Terrence Malick‘s “The Tree of Life.” All three films are Oscar frontrunners at this point; I’d be surprised if any of them don’t receive nominations next year.

At this point, the race is tightening, the actual end of the year is drawing closer, and the number of movies that can realistically shove their way into the conversation is shrinking. Still, it is nice to see the occasional surprise amongst the parade of wins for “A Separation” for Best Foreign Language Film and Emmanuel Lubezki for Best Cinematography for “The Tree of Life” (both admittedly deserving awards). Instead of giving Meryl Streep yet another accolade for “The Iron Lady,” LAFCA chose to honor the wonderful Yun Jung-hee from the South Korean film “Poetry.” Instead of giving Brad Pitt another slap on the back for “Moneyball” — where, let’s face it, he basically looked handsome and ate junk food for 100 minutes — the New York Film Critics Online showed some love to Michael Shannon for his unforgettable and far more impressive work in “Take Shelter.” And both the NYFCO and BSFC gave Best Supporting Actress honors to Melissa McCarthy for her scene stealing performance in “Bridesmaids.” Comic actors are so rarely recognized for the good work that they do. A supporting actress nomination at the Oscars still seems like a longshot for McCarthy, but it would be a delightful change of pace if it happened. Plus then we can all make jokes about taking craps in the Kodak Theatre bathroom sink.

The full list of Super Sunday winners is below.

AFI’s Top Ten Films of 2011
“The Descendants”
“The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”
“The Help”
“J. Edgar”
“Midnight In Paris”
“The Tree Of Life”
“War Horse”
AFI Special Awards: “The Artist” and “The Harry Potter Series”

Boston Society of Film Critics Awards
Best Picture: “The Artist”
Best Actor: Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”
Best Actress: Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Best Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo”
Best Screenplay: Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin and Stan Chervin, “Moneyball”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”
Best Documentary: “Project Nim”
Best Foreign-Language Film: “Incendies”
Best Animated Film: “Rango”
Best Film Editing: Christian Marclay, “The Clock”
Best New Filmmaker: Sean Durkin, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”
Best Ensemble Cast: “Carnage”
Best Use of Music in a Film: Tie: “Drive” and “The Artist”

Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards
Best Picture: “The Descdendants”
Best Director: Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Best Actor: Michael Fassbender, “A Dangerous Method,” “Jane Eyre,” “Shame,” “X-Men: First Class”
Best Actress: Yun Jung-hee, “Poetry”
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, “Coriolanus,” “The Debt,” “The Help,” “Take Shelter,” “Texas Killing Fields,” “Tree of Life”
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Best Screenplay: Asghar Farhadi, “A Separation”
Best Score: The Chemical Brothers, “Hanna”
Best Production Design: Dante Ferretti, “Hugo”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”
Best Foreign Language:“City of Life and Death”
Best Documentary: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”
Best Animation: “Rango”

New York Film Critics Online Awards
Best Picture: “The Artist”
Best Actor: Michael Shannon, “Take Shelter”
Best Actress: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Best Breakthrough Performer: Jessica Chastain, half the movies of 2011
Best Debut Director: Joe Cornish, “Attack the Block”
Best Ensemble Cast: “Bridesmaids”
Best Screenplay: Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon, and Jim Rash, “The Descendants”
Best Documentary: “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”
Best Foreign Language: “A Separation”
Best Animated: “The Adventures of Tintin”
Best Cinematography: “The Tree of Life”
Best Use of Music: Ludovic Bource, “The Artist”

NYFCO’s Top Ten of 2011
1. “The Artist”
2. “The Descendants”
3. “Drive”
4. “The Help”
5. “Hugo”
6. “Melancholia”
7. “Midnight in Paris”
8. “Take Shelter”
9. “The Tree of Life”
10. “War Horse”

San Francisco Film Critics Circle Awards
Best Picture: “The Tree of Life”
Best Director: Terrence Malick, “The Tree of Life”
Best Original Screenplay: J.C. Chandor, “Margin Call”
Best Adapted Screenplay: Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Best Actor: Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Best Actress: Tilda Swinton, “We Need to Talk About Kevin”
Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”
Best Supporting Actress: Vanessa Redgrave, “Coriolanus”
Best Animated Feature: “Rango”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Certified Copy”
Best Documentary: “Tabloid”
Best Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, “The Tree of Life”

What’s your favorite movie of 2011? Tell us in the comments below or write to us on Facebook and Twitter.

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Hard Out

Comedy From The Closet

Janice and Jeffrey Available Now On IFC's Comedy Crib

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She’s been referred to as “the love child of Amy Sedaris and Tracy Ullman,” and he’s a self-described “Italian who knows how to cook a great spaghetti alla carbonara.” They’re Mollie Merkel and Matteo Lane, prolific indie comedians who blended their robust creative juices to bring us the new Comedy Crib series Janice and Jeffrey. Mollie and Matteo took time to answer our probing questions about their series and themselves. Here’s a taste.


IFC: How would you describe Janice and Jeffrey to a fancy network executive you met in an elevator?

Mollie & Matteo: Janice and Jeffrey is about a married couple experiencing intimacy issues but who don’t have a clue it’s because they are gay. Their oblivion makes them even more endearing.  Their total lack of awareness provides for a buffet of comedy.

IFC: What’s your origin story? How did you two people meet and how long have you been working together?

Mollie: We met at a dive bar in Wrigley Field Chicago. It was a show called Entertaining Julie… It was a cool variety scene with lots of talented people. I was doing Janice one night and Matteo was doing an impression of Liza Minnelli. We sort of just fell in love with each other’s… ACT! Matteo made the first move and told me how much he loved Janice and I drove home feeling like I just met someone really special.

IFC: How would Janice describe Jeffrey?

Mollie: “He can paint, cook homemade Bolognese, and sing Opera. Not to mention he has a great body. He makes me feel empowered and free. He doesn’t suffocate me with attention so our love has room to breath.”

IFC: How would Jeffrey describe Janice?

Matteo: “Like a Ford. Built to last.”

IFC: Why do you think the world is ready for this series?

Mollie & Matteo: Our current political world is mirroring and reflecting this belief that homosexuality is wrong. So what better time for satire. Everyone is so pro gay and equal rights, which is of course what we want, too. But no one is looking at middle America and people actually in the closet. No one is saying, hey this is really painful and tragic, and sitting with that. Having compassion but providing the desperate relief of laughter…This seemed like the healthiest, best way to “fight” the gay rights “fight”.

IFC: Hummus is hilarious. Why is it so funny?

Mollie: It just seems like something people take really seriously, which is funny to me. I started to see it in a lot of lesbians’ refrigerators at a time. It’s like observing a lesbian in a comfortable shoe. It’s a language we speak. Pass the Hummus. Turn on the Indigo Girls would ya?

See the whole season of Janice and Jeffrey right now on IFC’s Comedy Crib.

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Die Hard Dads

Inspiration For Die Hard Dads

Die Hard is on IFC all Father's Day Long

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIPHY

Yippee ki-yay, everybody! It’s time to celebrate the those most literal of mother-effers: dads!

And just in case the title of this post left anything to the imagination, IFC is giving dads balls-to-the-wall ’80s treatment with a glorious marathon of action trailblazer Die Hard.

There are so many things we could say about Die Hard. We could talk about how it was comedian Bruce Willis’s first foray into action flicks, or Alan Rickman’s big screen debut. But dads don’t give a sh!t about that stuff.

No, dads just want to fantasize that they could be deathproof quip factory John McClane in their own mundane lives. So while you celebrate the fathers in your life, consider how John McClane would respond to these traditional “dad” moments…

Wedding Toasts

Dads always struggle to find the right words of welcome to extend to new family. John McClane, on the other hand, is the master of inclusivity.
Die Hard wedding

Using Public Restrooms

While nine out of ten dads would rather die than use a disgusting public bathroom, McClane isn’t bothered one bit. So long as he can fit a bloody foot in the sink, he’s G2G.
Die Hard restroom

Awkward Dancing

Because every dad needs a signature move.
Die Hard dance

Writing Thank You Notes

It can be hard for dads to express gratitude. Not only can McClane articulate his thanks, he makes it feel personal.
Die Hard thank you

Valentine’s Day

How would John McClane say “I heart you” in a way that ain’t cliche? The image speaks for itself.
Die Hard valentines


The only thing most dads hate more than shopping is fielding eleventh-hour phone calls with additional items for the list. But does McClane throw a typical man-tantrum? Nope. He finds the words to express his feelings like a goddam adult.
Die Hard thank you

Last Minute Errands

John McClane knows when a fight isn’t worth fighting.
Die Hard errands

Sneaking Out Of The Office Early

What is this, high school? Make a real exit, dads.
Die Hard office

Think you or your dad could stand to be more like Bruce? Role model fodder abounds in the Die Hard marathon all Father’s Day long on IFC.

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Founding Farters

Know Your Nerd History

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs via Giphy

That we live in the heyday of nerds is no hot secret. Scientists are celebrities, musicians are robots and late night hosts can recite every word of the Silmarillion. It’s too easy to think that it’s always been this way. But the truth is we owe much to our nerd forebearers who toiled through the jock-filled ’80s so that we might take over the world.


Our humble beginnings are perhaps best captured in iconic ’80s romp Revenge of the Nerds. Like the founding fathers of our Country, the titular nerds rose above their circumstances to culturally pave the way for every Colbert and deGrasse Tyson that we know and love today.

To make sure you’re in the know about our very important cultural roots, here’s a quick download of the vengeful nerds without whom our shameful stereotypes might never have evolved.

Lewis Skolnick

The George Washington of nerds whose unflappable optimism – even in the face of humiliating self-awareness – basically gave birth to the Geek Pride movement.

Gilbert Lowe

OK, this guy is wet blanket, but an important wet blanket. Think Aaron Burr to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton. His glass-mostly-empty attitude is a galvanizing force for Lewis. Who knows if Lewis could have kept up his optimism without Lowe’s Debbie-Downer outlook?

Arnold Poindexter

A music nerd who, after a soft start (inside joke, you’ll get it later), came out of his shell and let his passion lead instead of his anxiety. If you played an instrument (specifically, electric violin), and you were a nerd, this was your patron saint.


A sex-loving, blunt-smoking, nose-picking guitar hero. If you don’t think he sounds like a classic nerd, you’re absolutely right. And that’s the whole point. Along with Lamar, he simultaneously expanded the definition of nerd and gave pre-existing nerds a twisted sort of cred by association.

Lamar Latrell

Black, gay, and a crazy good breakdancer. In other words, a total groundbreaker. He proved to the world that nerds don’t have a single mold, but are simply outcasts waiting for their moment.


Exceedingly stupid, this dumbass was monumental because he (in a sequel) leaves the jocks to become a nerd. Totally unheard of back then. Now all jocks are basically nerds.

Well, there they are. Never forget that we stand on their shoulders.

Revenge of the Nerds is on IFC all month long.

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