A funny thing happened yesterday at Lincoln Center when the National Society of Film Critics got together and chose “Inside Llewyn Davis” as Best Picture of the Year: They put the Coen brothers movie back into Oscar winning contention.
Last week the film was overlooked by the Producers Guild as one of their top 10 picks, and that group has always been a reliable bellwether of what’s ahead when it comes to Oscars, so it looked like the 1960’s folkie inspired film might be bypassed for statuette glory. The film is one of my favorites of the year, so I’m happy to see it talked up again as a heavy contender.
Directors Joel and Ethan Coen also received the best director and best cinematography (Bruno Delbonnel) nods and the film’s star, Oscar Isaac, was named top actor.
Coming in second was David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” and Steve McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave” and Spike Jonze’s “Her” tied for third place for best movie feature.
The Society, made up of movie critics from across the country, held its 48th annual awards voting meeting, using a weighted ballot system, at the Elinor Bunin Munroe Center as guests of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Scrolls instead of heavy statues – which don’t come cheap – are sent to the winners.
From their press release, the group notes that 56 members are eligible to vote, though a few disqualify themselves if they haven’t seen every film. Any film that opened in the U.S. during the year 2013 is eligible for consideration. There is no nomination process; members meet, vote (using a weighted ballot), and announce all on January 4th. There is no fun awards party, but there’s plenty of glory.
Here’s a complete list of the winners and runners up, broken down by the number of votes.
*1. Inside Llewyn Davis – 23
2. American Hustle – 17
3. 12 Years a Slave – 16
3. Her – 16
*1. Joel and Ethan Coen (Inside Llewyn Davis) – 25
2. Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity) – 18
3. Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave) – 15
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
*1. Blue Is the Warmest Color – 27
2. A Touch of Sin – 21
3. The Great Beauty – 15
BEST NON-FICTION FILM
*1. The Act of Killing (Joshua Oppenheimer) – 20
*1. At Berkeley (Frederick Wiseman) – 20
3. Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel) – 18
*1. Before Midnight (Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke) – 29
2. Inside Llewyn Davis (Joel and Ethan Coen) – 26
3. American Hustle (Eric Singer and David O. Russell) – 18
*1. Inside Llewyn Davis (Bruno Delbonnel) -28
2.Gravity (Emmanuel Lubezki) – 26
3. Nebraska (Phedon Papamichael) – 19
*1. Oscar Isaac (Inside Llewyn Davis) – 28
2. Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) – 19
3. Robert Redford (All Is Lost) – 12
*1. Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) – 57
2. Adèle Exarchopoulos (Blue Is the Warmest Color) – 36
3. Julie Delpy (Before Midnight) – 26
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. James Franco (Spring Breakers) – 24
2. Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club) – 20
3. Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips) – 14
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) – 54
2. Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave) – 38
3. Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine) – 18
3. Léa Seydoux (Blue Is the Warmest Color) – 18
BEST EXPERIMENTAL FILM
• Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel)
FILM HERITAGE AWARD
• To the Museum of Modern Art, for its wide-ranging retrospective of the films of Allan Dwan.
• “Too Much Johnson”: the surviving reels from Orson Welles’s first professional film. Discovered by Cinemazero (Pordenone) and Cineteca del Friuli; funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation; and restored by the George Eastman House.
• British Film Institute for restorations of Alfred Hitchcock’s nine silent features.
• To the DVD “American Treasures from the New Zealand Film Archive.”
BEST FILM STILL AWAITING AMERICAN DISTRIBUTION
• Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming-liang)
• Hide Your Smiling Faces (Daniel Patrick Carbone)
DEDICATION: The meeting was dedicated to the memory of two distinguished members of the Society who died in 2013: Roger Ebert and Stanley Kauffmann.