The critics' group I belong to has released our annual year-end awards. I've included the release in its entirety below, but I wanted to weigh in on some of the selections up here first.
12 Years a Slave won Best Picture, and I am completely okay with that selection. I thought 12 Years was one of the most effective films of the year (I gave it a Vader), and it was #2 on my ballot. My #1 was Mud, a film I consider a new American classic. I was glad to see Mud made it on the top ten list. My #3 was Dallas Buyers Club, a film that did not make the top ten, but one that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have yet to write a review for that film (I'll get to it soon), but trust me, it'll be a glowing one.
As far as the rest of the top ten, I don't have any issues. There are some on there that I didn't like as much as the rest of the group, but there is not a single film on that list that I think is a "bad" movie. And I was very happy to see that I'm not the only one who enjoyed Prisoners. That's a film that I feel is getting less and less attention as the year ends, though it deserves more and more.
Chiwetel Ejiofor won Best Actor, and that's another choice I can easily support. Once again, Ejiofor was my #2 selection, with Matthew McConaughey as my #1 choice (he was runner-up). So many good performances this year, and I think we got the top two right.
As for Best Actress, we went with Adele Exarchopoulos from Blue Is the Warmest Color. This, along with our Supporting Actor award, will turn the most heads. I have to be honest, I abstained from this and the Best Foreign Film category because I did not get around to seeing Blue, but I am proud of our group for making a unique selection. And I look forward to watching the film so I can latch onto the group and take credit for making the selection as well.
The Best Supporting Actor award is another one I am proud of (and I had a slight hand in this one!). Barkhad Abdi, the first-time actor who portrayed a Somali pirate in Captain Phillips, won top honors for a performance that could have easily been one note, but ended up being the most compelling actor in the film. (No offense to Tom Hanks, who was also very good in the film.) Abdi was actually my third choice (I did say a "slight" hand in the decision), with Michael Fassbender at #1 and Jared Leto at #2. I doubt that Fassbender gets much recognition in this crowded category this year, but his performance really put 12 Years a Slave over the top for me. As for Leto, I think we'll be seeing his name more than Abdi's as more awards roll out. I'm fine with that, as his performance was great.
The Best Supporting Actress category went to Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle. I was more interested in the the runner up, June Squibb in Nebraska. She had some great moments that stole the show in the second half of that sad, but funny film. And that's saying something as Bruce Dern and Will Forte did a fine job in that movie.
That's about all I have to say about the awards this year. Once again, hats off to the IFJA for making some good, interesting choices. I'm just glad to be a part of it, hopefully doing more harm than good to each category. Anyway, here is the write-up and full list of the 2013 Indiana Film Journalists Association Awards.
"12 Years a Slave" wins top honors from Indiana film critics
The Indiana Film Journalists Association, an organization of writers dedicated to promoting quality film criticism in the Hoosier State, is proud to announce its annual film awards for 2013.
"12 Years a Slave" won top honors, taking the prize for Best Film and earning a total of four awards. Chiwetel Ejiofor won for Best Actor, Steve McQueen won in the Best Director category and Hans Zimmer took the prize for Best Musical Score.
"Her," which was the runner-up for Best Film, made a strong showing with Spike Jonze earning the award for Best Original Screenplay. It also won the Original Vision Award, which recognizes a film that is especially innovative or groundbreaking. Eight other movies were named Finalists for Best Film.
Adele Exarchopoulos took Best Actress honors for "Blue is the Warmest Color," which also was awarded the prize for Best Foreign Language Film. Jennifer Lawrence earned the Best Supporting Actress award for "American Hustle," while Best Supporting Actor went to Barkhad Abdi for his work in "Captain Phillips."
"Frozen" won Best Animated Feature, and "The Act of Killing" took Best Documentary. In their third cinematic go-round together, Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy won the Best Adapted Screenplay prize for "Before ."
The Hoosier Award, which recognizes a significant cinematic contribution by a person or persons with roots in Indiana, or a film that depicts Hoosier State locales and stories, went to "Medora," a documentary film directed by Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart.
IFJA members issued this statement with regard to the Hoosier Award: "In chronicling the plight of a hapless high school basketball team from a tiny, economically depressed Indiana town, Cohn and Rothbart managed to tap into the way Hoosiers are transfixed by their hoops obsession, as well as explore the harsh choices Indiana teenagers often face. In many ways, the film stands as stark counterpoint to the seminal "Hoop Dreams." These players aren't vying for a spot in the NBA, but to win a single game and lay claim to their dignity, both on and off the court. It is a quintessentially Hoosier story told with craftsmanship, unique insight and uncommon grace."
The following is a complete list of honored films:
Winner: "12 Years a Slave"
Other Finalists (listed alphabetically):
"All Is Lost"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"
Best Animated Feature
Runner-Up: "The Wind Rises"
Best Foreign Language Film
Winner: "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Runner-Up: "The Grandmaster"
Winner: "The Act of Killing"
Runner-Up: "Stories We Tell"
Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Spike Jonze, "Her"
Runner-Up: Peter Morgan, "Rush"
Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, "Before "
Runner-Up: John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave"
Winner: Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
Runner-Up: Spike Jonze, "Her"
Winner: Adele Exarchopoulos, "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Runner-Up: Brie Larson, "Short Term 12"
Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle"
Runner-Up: June Squibb, "Nebraska"
Winner: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Runner-Up: Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club"
Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Barkhad Abdi, "Captain Phillips"
Runner-Up: Jeremy Renner, "American Hustle"
Best Musical Score
Winner: Hans Zimmer, "12 Years a Slave"
Runner-Up: Hans Zimmer, "Rush"
Original Vision Award
The Hoosier Award
"Medora," Andrew Cohn and Davy Rothbart, directors
(As a special award, no runner-up is declared in this category.)
About IFJA: The Indiana Film Journalists Association was established in February 2009. Members must reside in the Hoosier State and produce consistent, quality film criticism or commentary in any medium.