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ON FILM

Critics organization picks 2012 favorites

By Philip Martin

This article was published December 21, 2012 at 2:16 a.m.

— I’ve written all kinds of things over the years, but before this week I don’t think I’d ever written a news release. I did so this week to announce the results of the Southeastern Film Critics Association annual poll. (I’m serving as the group’s president this year, which means I was among the lucky ones who had to tabulate the ballots.)

This year, we voted Ben Affleck’s Argo the year’s best movie. But why am I bothering to rewrite my own news release?

“The organization, whose 47 members represent electronic and print media outlets in nine Southern states, also named Affleck best director in its annual poll.

“‘Argo was far and away the most-mentioned film on our critics’ ballots,’ SEFCA president Philip Martin said. ‘While there were other films that had more first-place votes, Argo was consistently well-regarded by our membership and it ended up winning the poll by a comfortable margin.’

“‘In a much closer race, actor-director Affleck was named ‘Best Director’ over Kathryn Bigelow, whose Zero Dark Thirty edged out Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln for the second spot in the critics poll.

“‘It’s interesting that the top three films are all dramas based on historical events,’ Martin said. Argo is a dramatization of the joint CIA-Canadian covert operation that extracted six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran in 1980; Zero Dark Thirty is about the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 terrorist attacks and Lincoln is about the 16th president’s efforts to pass the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution that would formally abolish slavery in the country.

“Daniel Day-Lewis became the first three-time winner of the group’s ‘Best Actor’ award for his performance as the title character in Lincoln (Day-Lewis previously won the award for his work in There Will Be Blood in 2007 and in Gangs of New York in 2002) while Jennifer Lawrence was named ‘Best Actress’ for her turn in the dark comedy Silver Linings Playbook.

“Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild was the overwhelming choice for the group’s Gene Wyatt award, given for the film that ‘best evokes the spirit of the South,’ with Richard Linklater’s Bernie - yet another dramatization of a true story - finishing second.

“‘Overall it was an amazing year for Southern film,’ Martin said. ‘I can’t remember a year when we had so many excellent candidates for the Wyatt award. Our members nominated 13 different movies for the award - and one actor: Matthew McConaughey, for appearing in the Southern-set films Killer Joe, The Paperboy, Bernie and Magic Mike in 2012.’”

Huh, that felt weird. Anyway, as is our custom, here are the complete results of the SEFCA poll, along with my own votes. I’ll run my Top 10 (and more) in the Dec. 30 Style section of this newspaper.

TOP TEN

  1. Argo 2. Zero Dark Thirty 3. Lincoln 4. Moonrise Kingdom 5. Silver Linings Playbook 6. Beasts of the Southern Wild 7. The Master 8. Les Miserables 9. Life of Pi 10. The Dark Knight Rises

BEST ACTOR

Winner: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Runner-up: Joaquin Phoenix, The Master

My votes: 1. Jack Black, Bernie 2. Phoenix 3. John Hawkes, The Sessions

BEST ACTRESS

Winner: Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook

Runner-up: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

My votes: 1. Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea 2. Chastain 3. Quvenzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Winner: Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Runner-up: Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln

My votes: 1. Hoffman 2.Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild 3. Jude Law, Anna Karenina

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Winner: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Runner-up: Sally Field, Lincoln

My votes: 1. Juno Temple, Killer Joe 2. Amy Adams, The Master 3. Anne Dowd, Compliance

BEST ENSEMBLE

Winner: Lincoln

Runner-up: Moonrise Kingdom

My votes: 1. Argo 2. The Master 3. Killer Joe

BEST DIRECTOR

Winner: Ben Affleck, Argo

Runner-up: Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty

My votes: 1. Bigelow 2. Affleck 3. Wes Anderson, Moonrise Kingdom

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

Winner: Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson and Roman Coppola

Runner-up: Zero Dark Thirty, Mark Boal

My votes: 1. Boal 2. Paul Thomas Anderson, The Master 3. Michael Haneke, Amour

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

Winner: Argo, Chris Terrio

Runner-up: Lincoln, Tony Kushner

My votes: 1. Tom Stoppard, Anna Karenina 2. Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower 3. Kushner

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Winner: The Queen of Versailles

Runner-up: Bully

My votes: 1. Tchoupitoulas 2. The Central Park Five 3. The Imposter

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM

Winner: The Intouchables

Runner-up: Amour

My votes: 1. Amour 2. The Kid With a Bike 3. The Intouchables

BEST ANIMATED FILM

Winner: ParaNorman

Runner-up: Frankenweenie

My votes: 1. Frankenweenie 2. Toys in the Attic 3. Pirates! A Band of Misfits

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Winner: Life of Pi, Claudio Miranda

Runner-up: Skyfall, Roger Deakins

My votes: 1. The Master, Mihai Malaimare Jr. 2. Beasts of the Southern Wild, Ben Richardson 3. Tchoupitoulas, Bill Ross IV and Turner Ross

GENE WYATT AWARD FOR FILM THAT BEST EVOKES THE SPIRIT OF THE SOUTH

Winner: Beasts of the Southern Wild

Runner-up: Bernie

My votes: 1. Beasts of the Southern Wild 2. Tchoupitoulas 3. Bernie

E-mail: pmartin@arkansasonline.com

www.blooddirtangels.com

MovieStyle, Pages 34 on 12/21/2012

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