‘Lady Bird’ takes best film, best actress for Saoirse Ronan with New York film critics

Writer-director Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird soared with the New York Film Critics Circle Thursday, earning the vote for best film of 2017 and best actress for its star Saoirse Ronan.At the critics society's annual meeting, Sean Baker was named best director for The Florida Project. The film also earned a best supporting actor vote for Willem Dafoe.Timothee Chalamet was chosen as best actor for the drama, Call Me By Your Name. Tiffany Haddish earned top supporting actress honors for the comedy, Girls Trip.Pixar's hit Coco was named best animated film. Director Jordan Peele took best first film for his thriller, Get Out.The awards will be handed out during the society's annual ceremony on January 3. This year’s ceremony will be dedicated to the memory of influential film critic Richard Schickel. Here's the complete list of winners:Best Film: Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig Best Director:Sean Baker, The Florida Project Best Screenplay:Paul Thomas Anderson, Phantom Thread Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan, Lady BirdBest Actor:   Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name Best Supporting Actress:Tiffany Haddish, Girls TripBest Supporting Actor:Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project Best Foreign Language Film:BPM (Beats Per Minute), Robin Campillo Best Cinematography:Mudbound, Rachel Morrison Best Nonfiction Film:Faces Places, Agnès VardaBest First Film: Get Out, Jordan Peele Best Animated Film:Coco, Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina Special Award:Career Achievement, Molly Haskell  Continue Reading

New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Michael Keaton, Kristen Stewart, ‘Carol’ win both honors and audience’s approval

And the early nominee for the best ceremony of the awards season goes to ... the New York Film Critics Circle Awards. With the wine flowing freely Monday night at the swanky eatery Tao Downtown, a who's-who of film royalty including Julianne Moore, Samuel L. Jackson and Kristen Stewart braved frigid temperatures straight out of "The Revenant" for the first major awards of the season. "They're fun! Yeah man, how bad can it be?" best actor winner Michael Keaton told the Daily News' [email protected] about sitting through Monday night's ceremony. GOLDEN GLOBES NOMINEES: 'CAROL,' 'THE BIG SHORT' LEAD PACK "There are a lot worse things to do besides someone saying, 'Hey we think you're pretty cool.'" Keaton admitted to The News that he never reads the reviews of his movies, but was honored the New York Film Critics Circle chose to honor his turn in "Spotlight," which chronicles the real-life Boston Globe investigation into the Catholic Church's coverup of pedophile priests. "This one is real special," says Keaton. "I was an altar boy and it means a lot to me personally." The 81-year institution has become an important pit stop on actors' and filmmakers' campaign rounds heading into Oscar nominations. "Sleep with everyone. Make yourself available. Whatever Harvey Weinstein needs me to do," "Carol" helmer Todd Haynes, who was named best director, told [email protected] when asked about how he plans to woo Academy voters to boost his film's Oscar chances. "To be honest it wasn't until the day that we got all those Golden Globe nominations that I kind of literally fantasized about winning an Oscar. I'd never really done that before. That was the first time I fantasized, 'Oh my God, what if that really happened? What would I do? What would I say?' And then I left that moment behind." "Carol" also proved to be the big winner with the New York Film Critics Circle, taking home Continue Reading

New York Film Critics Circle names ‘Boyhood’ best picture

Richard Linklater's 12-years-in-the-making "Boyhood" has been named best picture by the New York Film Critics Circle. The critics group announced its awards Monday. "Boyhood" also received best director honors for Linklater and best supporting actress for Patricia Arquette. Its production was uncommonly stretched out over years to capture the passage of time. The strong support from one of the country's top critics groups gives "Boyhood" an early boost in Hollywood's lengthy awards season. The film is considered an Oscar front-runner. Best actor went to Timothy Spall for the J.M.W. Turner biopic "Mr. Turner." Marion Cotillard was awarded best actress for her performances in both "The Immigrant" and "Two Days, One Night." Best supporting actor went to J.K. Simmons for "Whiplash." Continue Reading

New York film critics’ 2011 awards, led by ‘The Artist,’ reflect filmmakers’ dreams of the past

Movie lovers have a love/hate relationship with end-of-the-year awards season hoopla. It’s fun to tally up the wins of various films, scan the horizon and parse the pros and cons of titles as people mentally tick off their own 10 best lists and things lead up to the Oscars on Feb. 26. But there’s also a level of frustration as favorites and also-rans start to solidify. That was certainly present as last week’s voting by the New York Film Critics Circle — of which the Daily News’ movie reviewers are proud members — offered, for better or worse, the year’s first critics’ honors. The group’s selection for Best Picture, “The Artist,” is now on its way to a secure spot on audiences’ must-see lists. The movie, I must say, wasn’t my choice for the top spot. “The Descendants,” “The Tree of Life” and several smaller titles (“Beginners,” “50/50”) got to me more than “The Artist,” director Michel Hazanavicius’ sweet yet slight black-and-white homage to silent movies. Nonetheless, its rise to the top of the NYFCC list — beating voting-day challenges from “Melancholia” and “Hugo,” polar opposites on the dark-to-light spectrum — is its official entry to the big time, aided by Hazanavicius’ Best Director win. While the group’s anointing of the “The Artist” said one thing, the assembled critics may also save “Moneyball” from early-season obscurity as the Oscar ballots go out. Bennett Miller’s drama about Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane and his number-crunching plan to eke out a winning season earned Brad Pitt a deserved Best Actor honor from the NYFCC. (Lost in Pitt’s dust was his “Ocean’s Eleven” pal George Clooney, whose “Descendants” performance was as unsupported, surprisingly, as his Continue Reading

‘The Artist’ builds Oscar buzz as New York film critics award black and white, silent flick with top honors

When French director Michel Hazanavicius dared to imagine creating a silent film in the modern arena of filmmaking - one littered with 3-D and special effects and plenty of post-production technical tricks - everyone wanted to know: Why? For Hazanavicius, this was an odd question. Why not ask "how"? "I realized that people needed a justification for doing a silent movie," he told the Daily News in a phone interview. "That's why I finally chose to really use that and make a silent movie. "The format attracted me first. The story came afterward. Telling the story of a silent actor in the silent era of Hollywood in a way seemed to make sense in the silent film itself." "The Artist," a black-and-white romantic drama that harkens back to the Golden Age of Hollywood, has quickly gone from being an obscure French flick to a - no pun intended - quiet contender in the big leagues, receiving critical acclaim at Sundance and the Cannes Film Festival, among others. Just last month, the film was even heralded as the Best Film of 2011 by the New York Film Critics Circle, and Hazanavicius was welcomed into the upper echelon of Hollywood's greatest directors with his Best Director nod, an honor that seals him into an elite group that includes Martin Scorsese, Danny Boyle and Woody Allen. "There was a lot to work against," the director said of his initial uncertainty about the film’s reception. "It's black and white, it's silent, it's French." But it was a reliance on raw emotion and acting in its most basic form that really defined the piece. The film, which chronicles the rise and fall of actor George Valentin (Jean Dujardin), is at times laced with the slapstick physicality of “Singing In the Rain,” and at times with the gut-wrenching emotion of a (silent) Marlon Brando meltdown. Penelope Ann Miller, one of the few American names billed to the film, said that the unique format was exactly the reason why she signed on in the first Continue Reading

N.Y. Film Critics Circle picks ‘The Artist’ as best picture of 2011

The New York Film Critics Circle Tuesday picked “The Artist,” a mostly silent, black-and-white love letter to a bygone Hollywood era, as the Best Picture of 2011. That film’s director, French filmmaker Michael Hazanavicius, was named Best Director, jumping ahead of such major competitors as Martin Scorsese (“Hugo”), Lars von Trier (“Melancholia”), Alexander Payne (“The Descendants”) and Woody Allen (“Midnight in Paris”). The awards ceremony, an annual star-studded event, will be held in Manhattan on Jan. 9. New York’s movie critics named Meryl Streep Best Actress for her portrayal of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — a role that ages her from her 40s to her 80s — in “The Iron Lady,” and Brad Pitt as Best Actor for his role as Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane in the inside-baseball drama “Moneyball.” Streep has won four previous NYFCC awards, most recently for 2009’s “Julie & Julia.” Albert Brooks, playing against type as a vicious businessman in “Drive,” and Jessica Chastain, whose list of 2011 movies included “The Help,” “The Tree of Life,” “The Debt” and “Coriolanus,” were named Best Supporting Actor and Actress. The ubiquitous Chastain’s award was given for the indie drama “Take Shelter,” in which she played the wife of a working-class Ohio man (Michael Shannon) having apocalyptic visions. “It’s no surprise that a bunch of film critics voted for ‘The Artist,’ a movie that is, at its heart, about film,” says this year’s NYFCC chairman, John Anderson. “And clearly, with five wins now, we’re suckers for Streep.” The organization — critics from New York-based daily and weekly newspapers, magazines and online sites — kicked off the end-of-year awards-season Continue Reading

New York Film Critics Circle hails ‘Boyhood’

NEW YORK — If you ever doubted Boyhood's front-runner status in the Oscar race, think again.Although many Hollywood stars and burgeoning directors took the podium at the New York Film Critics Circle awards dinner Monday night, the occasion felt more or less like an extended celebration of Richard Linklater's critically revered magnum opus. His 12-years-in-the-making masterpiece took home three honors in the intimate ceremony at the Tao Downtown restaurant in Chelsea, including best picture, director (Linklater) and supporting actress (Patricia Arquette).Boyhood has been topping year-end lists and critics' awards for the past month, and will compete for best drama at the Golden Globes Sunday before its inevitable Oscar nominations are announced Jan. 15. Nevertheless, the NYFCC accolades mark yet another milestone for the ambitious low-budget film, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival last January and arrived in theaters in July."It's been lengthy, but that's good," Linklater says of the film's journey, chatting before the ceremony. "We came out in the summer, so I guess it would be easy to be forgotten at this point. We have to feel flattered that people are still talking about us now."Although he's been promoting the coming-of-age film for nearly a year, Linklater acknowledges that he hasn't seen it in its entirety since last spring — unlike the project's young star, Ellar Coltrane, whom he describes as a "beautiful, thoughtful, funny guy. He's an adult version of the little kid I met a long time ago, all the way."On a recent trip to Italy to promote Boyhood, Coltrane caught the drama for a 10th time. Unlike the first time he saw it, which he says was "overwhelming and just emotional," the "last time I watched it was the first time I've been able to really watch it as a movie and see Mason as a character."For the 20-year-old Texas native, who was cast in the film when he was just 6, awards season has been "a hell of a ride, but I am exhausted," he Continue Reading

New York Drama Critics’ Circle allows theater critics and creative teams to mingle over cocktails

Every year when the New York Drama Critics' Circle gives out its awards, there's a rare opportunity for the critical community to meet the creative community. On Monday evening, they flocked to Angus McIndoe restaurant on West 44th St. for a chance to celebrate and chat — cocktails included. There were poignant moments from the podium, plus plenty of interesting unscripted comments from actors, directors and writers. David Lindsay-Abaire's "Good People" was named the season's Best Play. Accepting his award, the Brooklyn writer called the story of a South Boston mother looking for a job his "most autobiographical play." Lindsay-Abaire recalled that his mom said, "It's just like us." On hand to show support was the play's ensemble, including Frances McDormand. The Oscar winner checked to see if castmates needed a lift home in her car at the end of the party. Good people, indeed. The Broadway revival of Larry Kramer's AIDS drama, "The Normal Heart," was given a special citation. Speaking before the crowd, Kramer said awards for this play are bittersweet since so many people have died from AIDS. He added that the show at the Golden Theatre is "the best production" of the play he's even seen. He singled out producer Daryl Roth's skill and generosity, which prompted her to take off her glasses and wipe away tears. Ellen Barkin (l.) said she was more proud of her work in 'Heart' than in any other previous show. (Bruce Glikas) "Heart" co-star Ellen Barkin reached over to console Roth in a sweet show of support. Earlier in the evening, Barkin, looking every bit as slender and chic as the Champagne flute she was hoisting, told me, "I'm prouder of my work in this play than anything I've done before." When director and choreographer Casey Nicholaw accepted NYDCC's Best Musical award for "The Book of Mormon," he found himself tongue-tied, and for good reason. It was presented by legendary director Stanley Donen, who's been called "the king of the Continue Reading

New York Film Critics Circle: ‘Social Network’ is best movie of the year

The New York Film Critics Circle on Monday named Facebook film "The Social Network" the best movie of the year, and gave its best director honor to the movie's maker, David Fincher. Armond White, chairman of the influential critics group and chief critic for The New York Press, said the choice did not come on the first tally of members, but they began to narrow their picks by a second round, eventually deciding on "Social Network." "I guess that it is an indication there was a wide range of movies to choose from," he told Reuters. In other key awards, Annette Bening was named best actress for her portrayal of a lesbian mother in "The Kids Are All Right," and Colin Firth took the prize for best actor for his role as a stammering British monarch in "The King's Speech." "Social Network," which tells of the early days of the popular website Facebook from its founding to its first million members, has scored well with critics and audiences since its debut earlier this year. This weekend, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association picked it as their top movie of 2010, and earlier this month, the U.S. National Board of Review also named it best movie. Awards from critics groups and other industry panels often influence which films, performers and filmmakers will compete for Oscars, the movie industry's top honors. White said the New York Film Critics group, judging by their pick, likely related to the story in the "Social Network" because it documents the rise of a new type of media outlet. "Since we are a group of media people a lot of members responded to its presentation of one of the most important media tools of our age," he said. While "Social Network" took two honors from the New York critics group, independent film "The Kids Are All Right" claimed three overall. Adding to Bening's best actress award, writer/director Lisa Cholodenko and co-writer Stuart Blumberg were given best screenplay, and Mark Ruffalo, playing a sperm donor dad, was named best Continue Reading

Gus Van Sant film ‘Milk,’ starring Sean Penn, named best by New York Film Critics Circle

Sean Penn and "Milk," Gus Van Sant's biopic about gay rights leader Harvey Milk, continued to gain awards momentum Wednesday, winning best film from the New York Film Critics Circle. Penn was chosen as best actor for his performance in the lauded film about Milk, the openly gay San Francisco politician who was assassinated in 1978. Josh Brolin won best supporting actor for his performance in the film. On Tuesday, Penn was chosen as best actor by the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. "Milk" also leads the Broadcast Film Critics Association with eight nominations, tied for the most with "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button." Like their West Coast brethren, the New York critics picked Sally Hawkins for best actress for her performance in Mike Leigh's "Happy-Go-Lucky." Best director went to Leigh. The New York circle, which last year chose "No Country for Old Men" as best film, is a group of 33 New York-based critics. Their picks are one of the early film honors in Hollywood's long awards season, which continues Thursday with nominations for the Golden Globes. Best supporting actress went to Penelope Cruz for her role in Woody Allen's "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." Jenny Lumet, daughter of Sidney Lumet, won for her screenplay of "Rachel Getting Married." "Man on Wire" won best documentary, "WALL-E" won best animated film and "4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days" won best foreign film. Anthony Dod Mantle won for his cinematography in "Slumdog Millionaire." Courtney Hunt ("Frozen River") won for best first film. The awards ceremony will be held Jan. 5 in New York. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading