Tag Archives: Florida Film Critics Circle

‘Portrait of a Lady on Fire’ tops Florida Film Critics Circle awards

The sun shines a little brighter on our peninsula when Florida Film Critics Circle awards films like Portrait of a Lady on Fire its Best Picture trophy. Portrait‘s Céline Sciamma also won Best Director. The organization, of which I’m a member, released other winners. I would’ve preferred Antonio Banderas or Adam Sandler, but that other Adam is a fine ringer. Whoopee for I Lost My Body in Best Animated Film — it’s why I love this crew.

Best Picture
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Runner up: 1917

Best Actor
Adam Driver, Marriage Story

Runner up: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory

Best Actress
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story

Runner up: Florence Pugh, Midsommar

Best Supporting Actor
Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Runner up: John Lithgow, Bombshell

Best Supporting Actress
Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Runners up: Margot Robbie, Bombshell and Isla Fisher, The Beach Bum

Best Ensemble
Little Women

Runner up: The Farewell

Best Director
Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Runner up: Sam Mendes, 1917

Best Original Screenplay
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems

Runner up: Lulu Wang, The Farewell

Best Adapted Screenplay
Greta Gerwig, Little Women

Runner up: Steven Zaillian, The Irishman

Best Cinematography
Roger Deakins, 1917

Runner up: Claire Mathon, Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Best Visual Effects
Alita: Battle Angel

Runners up: Ad Astra and Avengers: Endgame

Best Art Direction/Production Design
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Ad Astra

Best Score
Daniel Lopatin, Uncut Gems

Runner up: No clear runner up

Best Documentary
Apollo 11

Runner up: Honeyland

Best Foreign Language Film
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Runner up: Parasite

Best Animated Film
I Lost My Body

Runner up: Toy Story 4

Best First Film
Queen & Slim

Runner up: Honeyland

Pauline Kael Breakout Award
Florence Pugh, Midsommar, Fighting With My Family and Little Women

Runner up: Lulu Wang, The Farewell

Jay Boyar Golden Orange Award
Tampa Theatre

Florida Film Critics Circle nominations: ‘Marriage Story’ leads the pack

The usual tensions between wanting to recognize smaller over splashier fare manifested itself in the nominations by Florida Film Critics Circle, the organization to which I belong. Marriage Story led with the most nominations. I’m delighted to see Transit‘s Franz Rogowski and the enthusiasm for Céline Sciamma’s Portrait of a Lady on Fire, which hasn’t opened in South Florida.

For more categories, click here.


Ad Astra
Marriage Story
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
The Irishman


Adam Driver, Marriage Story
Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems
Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Franz Rogowski, Transit
Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Taron Egerton, Rocketman


Charlize Theron, Bombshell
Elisabeth Moss, Her Smell
Florence Pugh, Midsommar
Renée Zellweger, Judy
Scarlett Johansson, Marriage Story


Anthony Hopkins, The Two Popes
Brad Pitt, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Joe Pesci, The Irishman
John Lithgow, Bombshell
Tom Hanks, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood


Annette Bening, The Report
Isla Fisher, The Beach Bum
Jennifer Lopez, Hustlers
Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Margot Robbie, Bombshell
Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit
Zhao Shuzhen, The Farewell


Little Women
Marriage Story
The Farewell
The Irishman


Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Sam Mendes, 1917


Bong Joon-Ho and Han Jin-Won, Parasite
Céline Sciamma, Portrait of a Lady on Fire
Lulu Wang, The Farewell
Noah Baumbach, Marriage Story
Quentin Tarantino, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Ronald Bronstein, Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems


Anthony McCarten, The Two Popes
Greta Gerwig, Little Women
Micah Fitzerman-Blue and Noah Harpster, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Steven Zaillian, The Irishman
Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit
Terrence Malick, A Hidden Life

Florida Film Critics Circle — My ballot

Florida Film Critics Circle, of which I’m a member, released its nominations for 2018’s best films of 2018 are out this afternoonThe Favourite leads with nine nominations. I contributed the following list. We announce winners on Friday.

BEST PICTURE (list three choices in no particular order)

Claire’s Camera
You Were Never Really Here

BEST ACTOR (list three choices in no particular order)

Ben Foster – Leave No Trace
Ethan Hawke – First Reformed
Joaquin Phoenix – You Were Never Really Here

BEST ACTRESS (list three choices in no particular order)

Juliette Binoche – Let the Sunshine In
Regina Hall – Support the Girls
Charlize Theron – Tully

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR (list three choices in no particular order)

Colman Domingo – If Beale Street Could Talk
Hugh Grant – Paddington 2
Steven Yeun – Burning

Best Supporting Actress (list three choices in no particular order)

Sakura Endo – Shoplifters
Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk
Letitia Wright – Black Panther

BEST ENSEMBLE (list three choices in no particular order)
The Favorite
If Beale Street Could Talk
Sorry to Bother You


Lucrecia Martel – Zama
Lynne Ramsay – You Were Never Really Here
Hoo Sang-Soo – Claire’s Camera


Bo Burnham – Eighth Grade
Paul Schrader – First Reformed
Hirokazu Kore-eda – Shoplifters


Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty — Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Lee Chang-dong — Burning
Lynne Ramsay — You Were Never Really Here


Joshua James Richards — The Rider
Lukasz Zal — Cold War
Rui Poças – Zama


First Man
Isle of Dogs

Paddington 2
If Beale Street Could Talk
The Favourite

Nicolas Brittel – If Beale Street Could Talk
Terrence Howard – Blackkklansman
Johnny Greenwood – You Were Never Really Here

Monrovia, Indiana
Free Solo

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM (list three choices in no particular order)

Night is Short, Walk on Girl
Lu Over the Wall


Sorry to Bother You
Eighth Grade


Raffey Cassidy – Vox Lux
Brady Jandreau – The Rider
Thomasin McKenzie – Leave No Trace

‘Dunkirk’ big winner for Florida Film Critics Circle

dominating the final round of voting, The Shape of Water disappeared from night. The winner: Dunkirk, along with Best Director for Christopher Nolan. The rest:

Writer-director Greta Gerwig’s poignant coming-of-age drama Lady Bird came in as the runner-up. Best Director also went to Dunkirk, recognizing Christopher Nolan with Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig again in second place. Writer/director Jordan Peele was recognized in the Best Original Screenplay and Best First Film categories for Get Out. Peele was also the runner up for the Pauline Kael Breakout Award. That prize was won by actor Timothée Chalamet, for his roles in Call Me by Your Name, Lady Bird and his brief turn in Hostiles.

But the film with the most awards this year was Blade Runner 2049. Denis Villeneuve’s technical marvel won four prizes – all in the craft categories: Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction/Production, Best Visual Effects and Best Score. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri was recognized in two acting categories: The cast won Best Ensemble and Sam Rockwell won Best Supporting Actor. The Best Actress, according to FFCC voters, was Margot Robbie for her performance as embattled former figure skater Tonya Harding in the black comedy/biopic I, Tonya. That film also found representation in another acting category, Best Supporting Actress, for Allison Janey. Winning Best Actor was, once again, Chalamet, this time for his singular performance in Call Me by Your Name. That film also won Best Adapted Screenplay honors for James Ivory.

I did not, to be clear, expect these winners — I worried more about a last-minute surge for Gary Oldman’s Great Moments with Mister Churchill. Politics and so on. For Best Supporting Actor, I wish I’d voted for my nominee Barry Keogh for The Killing of a Sacred Deer, but politics, etc: I wanted Call Me By Your Name to get something.

My final ballot:

Best Picture: Get Out
Best Director: Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
Best Actor: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Best Actress: Cynthia Nixon, A Quiet Passion
Best Supporting Actress: Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird
Best Supporting Actor: Armie Hammer, Call Me By Your Name
Best Original Screenplay: Get Out
Best Adapted Screenplay: The Lost City of Z
Best Ensemble: Lady Bird
Best Cinematography: Wonderstruck
Best Documentary: Joan Didion: The Center Cannot Hold
Breakout Award: Barry Keogh
Best First Film: God’s Own Country

Comedy-thriller ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ won’t give up its secrets

Yorgos Lanthimos makes movies about adults who don’t understand children. Or won’t. In The Killing of a Sacred Deer, the Greek director of Dogtooth, Alps, and The Lobster refines his deadpan presentation and brittle approach to gore to new heights in telling the story about a surgeon (Colin Farrell) whose meetings with the sixteen-year-old son of a man who died on his operating table result in calamity for his own two kids. Continue reading

Queering Kevin Spacey

Too young for Wiseguy, I recognized Kevin Spacey as a formidable actor after watching him play an office manager with more cunning than his colorlessness would suggest in the film version of Glengarry Glenn Ross. I wasn’t sure he coded queer onscreen until he and Judy Davis spent ninety minutes bitching in 1994’s forgotten The Ref. Three films in 1995 cemented Spacey’s eminence as Weird Villain Du Jour: Swimming with Sharks, Se7en, and, most known, The Usual Suspects, for which he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Spacey specialized in a silken, literate menace familiar to Robert Vaughan fans. Two performances fed, lamprey-like, on the signals he sent to gay audiences. As the corrupt cop in L.A. Confidential, Spacey has a spasm of conscience after setting up a wannabe James Dean clone with a closeted assistant district attorney; although director Curtis Hanson shows Spacey dancing with a woman in his first scene, it’s too perfect, and the way Spacey plays it he puts distance between himself and her even if they would’ve sleeping together; it’s as if he’s watching himself while filing his nails. And in 1999’s American Beauty the actor allows himself to figure in a couple of sight gags that are the equivalent of the wink-wink references to secrets concealed he likes to make at award shows: neighbor Chris Cooper, playing yet another closeted man in a Spacey film, looks in horror from his window as his son Wes Bentley seems about to go down on the older man.

A leading man at last, Spacey thereafter stumbled. Like Susan Sarandon, an essential spring snapped in his acting brain the moment he won Best Actor; what came easily to him looked pantomimed. Again, gay audiences could understand the intentional nullity of a character and a performance such as the one played and given, respectively, in K-Pax; Spacey wasn’t good enough an actor to hide human feeling while at the same time quashing the queer notes, as the epistemology of the closet teaches us. Or perhaps he was good enough of an actor but not fearless enough. He didn’t get Kevin Spacey Roles again until House of Cards‘ Frank Underwood but too late: the memory of an instinctive malevolence clung to every gesture, neutering him. Better is the ring leader in Baby Driver, where Spacey figures out that, at this stage in his career, he can best show lust for another man onscreen by being as curt as possible.

By now the world knows what likely happened between Spacey and actor Anthony Rapp in 1986 when Rapp was fourteen. Spacey’s statement doesn’t deny it happened; he says he doesn’t remember it happening, which newspaper veterans will note is a non-denial denial. Michelangelo Signorile makes a couple of well-intentioned mistakes in his column denouncing Spacey. When Spacey wrote, “I choose down to live as a gay man,” Signorile scoffed, “This is the language of the enemies of LGBTQ equality, who claim homosexuality is a choice.” Choosing to live publicly as gay is a choice; indeed, choosing to come out is a choice. Nathaniel Rogers makes a point I’ve seen often:

Soon we’ll see the tired old hateful tropes come to play wherein LGBT enemies and ignorant media will equate homosexuality (which is neither good nor evil but just is… like heterosexuality) with predatory behavior and illegal activities like sex with minors.

After two weeks of revelations that have likely proved career-ending for Harvey Weinstein, Mark Halperin, and James Toback, I doubt the straight public will associate predatory behavior in which minors are targets as exclusively homosexual behavior. The Roy Moores thought we were evil before 2017. Let them think so and die.

A separate but related point: comporting oneself around the young remains a fraught topic in gay circles. The paranoia we feel is both one of the last vestiges of the closet and, I admit with regret, a necessary one. For terrified parents, how easy is it to think the predations of older men contaminated their sons. When I was eight, one of my grandmother’s closet friends, a married man who I learned years later led a double life with the wife’s consent, stopped visiting her home. We remain forever on guard around the young lest we provoke suspicions.

‘The Lobster’ stuck its claws into Florida Film Critics Circle

In a surprise move, The Lobster surged ahead of awards season frontrunners Moonlight, La La Land, and Manchester by the Sea to win Best Picture from Florida Film Critics Circle, of which I’m a member. Below are the winners, runners-up, and my votes.

The Lobster
Runner-Up: La La Land
My Vote: The Lobster

An amusing feature length conceit, The Lobster is not a movie that will play well to octogenarian Academy members; it’s got no “narrative” to sell other than the fiendish working out of a conceit. It’s not by any stretch my favorite movie of 2016, but I’m delighted it won.

Damien Chazelle – La La Land
Runner-Up: Yorgos Lanthimos – The Lobster
My Vote: Yorgos Lanthimos

Both writer-directors exerted masterful control over visions that were theirs and theirs only, but The Lobster had no unmemorable songs I was stuck trying to remember.

Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
Runner-Up: Joel Edgerton – Loving
My Vote: Joel Edgerton

I had no problem with Affleck’s excellent turn as the flinty, grief-allergic husband and father in Manchester by the Sea. While Joel Edgerton was less interesting as the more stolid half of the Loving couple, his angry simmer was a tonic.

Isabelle Huppert – Elle
Runner-Up: Emma Stone – La La Land
My Vote: Isabelle Huppert

If Isabelle Huppert had given her Elle performance on stage, I would have given her a standing ovation and whooped until the cops dragged me away.

Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
Runner-Up: Ralph Fiennes – A Bigger Splash
My Vote: Ralph Fiennes

Bridges was fine overacting his grizzled routine in the fine, grizzled Hell or High Water: it’s amazing how many years the long-gorgeous Bridges has held the grizzles at bay. When I want My Favorite Year-type emoting, though, I reward Ralph Fiennes’ hopped-up ex husband in the marvelous twaddle A Bigger Splash. What I wrote a few months ago: “The star is Fiennes, in whose performances I see no trace of the starchy colonizers he played in the nineties. As a sybarite, Fiennes has no equal; Harry would frighten Voldemort into exile again.”

Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea
Runner-Up: Viola Davis – Fences
My Vote: Lily Gladstone – Certain Women

Viola Davis’ already legendary work in Fences is duplicated in Denzel Washington’s adapation; I’ve got no problems with it besides category fraud. She is a lead actress, as anyone who knows film and play understands. In a year dotted with terrific renditions of queer desire, Lily Gladstone’s taciturn work in Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women was the subtlest and most heart-wrenching.

American Honey
Runner-Up: Moonlight
My Vote: American Honey

The best film of the year you haven’t seen, American Honey understood the power dynamics of a young cast of amateurs: direct them as if they’re best friends for a day.

The Lobster
Runner-Up: Manchester by the Sea
My Vote: The Lobster

Love & Friendship
Runner-Up: Moonlight
My Vote: Love & Friendship

In truth, Whit Stillman’s adaptation of Jane Austen juvenilia added and compressed the novel to such a degree that it qualifies as original.

La La Land
Runner-Up: The Handmaiden

Runner-Up: OJ: Made In America
My Vote: Cameraperson

One is made for TV, the other reckons with the legacy of cinema, both play like new peeks into familiar territory.

Runner-Up: The Handmaiden
My Vote: Elle

A surprise! Both choices more adventurous than what we’ve rewarded in recent years.

Kubo and the Two Strings
Runner-Up: Zootopia
My Vote: Kubo and the Two Strings

If Jason Bateman’s fox had been given the stop-motion treatment in Kubo, it would’ve been my film of the decade.

The Edge of Seventeen
Runner-Up: The Witch

Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
Runner-Up: Lucas Hedges – Manchester by the Sea