‘Social Network’ tops London Critics’ awards

Posted by · 2:08 pm · February 10th, 2011

By having separate categories for British films and individuals — though Brits compete in the general awards too — the London Film Critics’ Circle Awards generally get to have their cake and eat it. So it was this year: “The King’s Speech” received obligatory recognition in the categories for Best British Film and Best British Director, but lost the night’s big prizes to “The Social Network.”

Some will find it ironic that it took a group of limeys to put some wind back in Team Fincher’s sails, but it’s not that surprising: British or not, this is still a critics’ award, and “The Social Network” wove as a powerful a spell over journos across the pond as in the States. The film took a leading four prizes, including screenwriting honors for Aaron Sorkin and Best British Supporting Actor for Andrew Garfield — the Oscar snubbee’s second home victory of the week.

No surprise that Colin Firth took Best Actor, while they spread the love by giving Christian Bale the Best British Actor award — I do wonder if that happened entirely organically. Less expected was Annette Bening’s Best Actress victory, breaking Natalie Portman’s recent sweep; I suspect the somewhat mixed critical reaction to “Black Swan” in the UK might account for this, but Bening does seem to be picking up steam lately.

It’ll be interesting to see what BAFTA decides: I suspect her film’s substantial 12-nomination haul (including a Best Film nod, which “The Kids Are All Right” does not have) gives Portman the edge, but if the roundly well-liked Bening picks up another gong there, we have a real fight on our hands. (More in my BAFTA preview tomorrow.)

Back on the local side of things, it’s nice to see recognition for two ladies left out of the Oscar race: Lesley Manville deservedly picked up Best British Actress (beating Helena Bonham-Carter to the punch), while Olivia Williams now has another supporting prize to keep her National Society of Film Critics’ Award happy.

Gareth Edwards, meanwhile, took Best British Breakthrough honors for “Monsters” — I suspect the shoestring sci-fi pic’s trophy cabinet is now fuller than he ever imagined it would be. Finally, following its big win at Monday’s Evening Standard Awards, excellent Scottish youth drama “Neds” received another pat on the back with a Young Performer award for remarkable first-time actor Conor McCarron.

What do these results mean for the awards race? Nothing: yet another critics’ award mostly following the lead of the American critics’ awards, and we know how much influence they’ve had on the industry this season. But it’s a handsome set of winners nonetheless, and at least the UK critics can’t be accused of parochialism. Full list of results (pending a couple of categories) at The Circuit.

[Photo: Columbia Pictures]

→ 16 Comments Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Filed in: Daily

16 responses so far

  • 1 2-10-2011 at 2:12 pm

    JJ1 said...

    I’m fascinated by how Actress at the Oscars is going to play out now – if Bening takes the BAFTA.

  • 2 2-10-2011 at 2:24 pm

    Andrea said...

    LOL How ironic after The Great Dane’s moronic hissy fit in the Oscar Talk questions thread whining about why Bening is being talked about as a possible spoiler when she hasn’t been nominated at a couple of MINOR film critics awards. Of course she won the New York one and was runner up at LA which of course are the 2 most prestigious. And besides the point, critics awards are not the end all as was clearly shown with Kings Speech recent wins. Bening won’t win the Oscar but I do hope we get a race with an upset.

    Interesting that the Brits went for Social Network here.

  • 3 2-10-2011 at 3:46 pm

    Tom said...

    I love whenever Lesley Manville and Andrew Garfield get due recognition, and nice to see a reminder of what it was like when The Social Network won awards. Sigh.

  • 4 2-10-2011 at 4:11 pm

    lily said...

    too late, too late…

  • 5 2-10-2011 at 4:46 pm

    JJ1 said...

    Love the Shakespeare in Love reference, lily. :)

  • 6 2-10-2011 at 6:17 pm

    Bia said...

    Interesting that even London critics can’t get behind King’s Speech.

  • 7 2-10-2011 at 6:45 pm

    Speaking English said...

    Hm, looks like some weakness for “The King’s Speech” is showing. The game’s not over yet, folks!

  • 8 2-10-2011 at 6:53 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Speaking English: Is it really showing? This is just another critics’ group.

  • 9 2-10-2011 at 7:16 pm

    red_wine said...

    I am kinda disappointed. I was hoping for a different result. They did give their top prize to A Prophet last year…

    I really hope Bening can pull through. Lets not forget that Portman failed to win a single of the Big 3 critics group. If I am right she did not even make the runner-up slot. Bening won one atleast.

  • 10 2-10-2011 at 7:19 pm

    Speaking English said...

    ***Is it really showing? This is just another critics’ group.***

    Doesn’t seem to effect the logic of your claim about Bening picking up steam.

  • 11 2-10-2011 at 8:53 pm

    sam said...

    Go annette bening! Come on Oscars give us some different winners so that you will show them who is the best awards show of all.

  • 12 2-10-2011 at 9:37 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    My wish

    Academy Award for Best Actress (2010) – Annette Bening
    Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress (2010) – Helena Bonham Carter

    Academy Award for Best Actor (2010) – Colin Firth
    Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor (2010) – Any Nominee but Bale! Yet if he must win: May he have a Cuba Gooding, Jr. level of luck in the new decade.

  • 13 2-10-2011 at 11:52 pm

    Ross said...

    @ SpeakingEnglish,
    the best actress race is usually really different from th best picture race. Bening has a lot of factors working for her, while The Social Network really can’t have them. And while Bening only lost the SAG Award of the awards that really, really matter, The Social Network lost the DGA, the PGA and the SAG — so let’s talk about the lack of broad support right now. The London Film Critics are critics, not filmmakers.

  • 14 2-11-2011 at 1:06 am

    Rex Okpodu said...

    Ouch….very well said Ross!

  • 15 2-11-2011 at 7:00 am

    Evan said...

    Wow- Rosamund Pike had two nominations. Good for her! I hope it helps her in securing some meatier roles.

  • 16 2-12-2011 at 3:58 pm

    Whisper said...

    Whach this http://www.moviesfan.eu/news/item/401-the-social-network-win-four-new-trophies-in-london