While Hollywood accountants were having heart attacks over the worst box office weekend in years, movie critics all over the country were doing their best to make sure the year’s best films get their due — if not in cash, then at least with a little extra buzz leading up to the Oscars. The American Film Institute, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Online, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the San Francisco Film Critics Circle made their picks, adding to what we’ve already heard from the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Independent Spirit Awards nominations. Here’s whose looking good so far:
Tree of Life, which was tailor-made for critics and film geeks, was named a top 10 film by AFI and the NYFCO; star Jessica Chastain was named Breakthrough Performer by the latter and Best Supporting Actress by the LAFCA (for Tree and five other films); NYCFO, LAFCA and SFFCC all named Terrence Malick Best Director; and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki earned Best Cinematography from those three and the BSFC.
Bridesmaids, which isn’t likely to earn any Oscar nods but will probably earn a few Golden Globe nominations, was named an AFI top 10 (Melissa McCarthy and the whole ensemble cast were also recognized by the NYCFO and the BSFC).
The Descendants is still holding onto its early lead in the race, appearing in two top 10 lists, winning Best Picture from the LAFCA, and getting Best Adapted Screenplay from the NYFCO. And because The Artist‘s foreign status made it ineligible for the AFI list, they gave it a special award, and the silent film was named Best Picture by the BSFC and the NYCFO.
Drive co-star Albert Brooks is looking like a contender in the Supporting Actor category, with wins from the NYFCO, SFFCC and BSFC. The actor category is still anyone’s guess, as Michael Shannon (Take Shelter), Michael Fassbender (like, everything), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) and Brad Pitt (Moneyball) each had wins in this batch. Unshockingly, Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) are looking strong in the actress category, with Korean actress Yun Jung-hee (Poetry) getting a surprise win from the L.A. critics.
[Photos: Fox Searchlight, Universal Studios]