'The Artist,' Scorsese, Pitt and Williams win top honors from Boston critics

Posted by · 11:29 am · December 11th, 2011

The Boston Society of Film Critics dished out its annual list of kudos this morning amid a flurry of other groups doing the same. Last year they stood out somewhat by handing Juliette Lewis their Best Supporting Actress prize for “Conviction,” and this year, they went their own way in a couple of areas, which was nice to see.

Throughout the voting, it was clear that “Margaret” was a favorite film among the crowd. Unfortunately it could only manage a few runner-up citations and never won a prize, but it’s so wonderful to know that it was so seriously considered.

The big winner of the day was “The Artist,” which won the Best Picture prize despite “Hugo” and “Margaret” looking like obvious favorites throughout the vote. On the latter, whoever was updating the BSFC’s Twitter account wrote: “It’s worth noting that many of us couldn’t see MARGARET because the studio did not issue screeners and there was only 1 screening.” If only Fox Searchlight had thrown some level of interest behind this film, it could have been a player. Maybe someone will stick up for it still. We’ll see.

Check out the full list of winners with my real-time commentary below.

Best Use of Music: (tie) “The Artist” and “Drive” (Runner-up: “The Descendants”)

Thoughts: Cool to see “Drive” get mentioned here but I can’t even remember the score for “The Artist.” And given the name of the category, I’m not sure why you’d bother awarding a traditional score here. Yes, other music was used in the film (which actually has me wondering how the music branch of the Academy will respond to the score’s eligibility) But I don’t know. “The Descendants” makes more sense to me.

Best Editing: “The Clock” (Runner-up: “Hugo”)

Thoughts: I never saw Christian Marclay’s documentary “The Clock,” which is a 24-hour stunt (basically) featuring shots with clocks in them from various films (and the time being up to date throughout the picture). So I can’t comment, really. But it’s a bold and singular choice for this category, so my hats off to the Society.

Best Cinematography: “The Tree of Life” (Runner-up: “Hugo”)

Thoughts: So far “Hugo” is nipping at the heels of a couple of winners, so maybe it’ll break out in the major categories soon. But this win for “The Tree of Life” will naturally be one of a great many this year, and it’s absolutely deserved.

Best New Filmmaker (David Brudnoy Award): Sean Durkin, “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (Runner-up: J.C. Chandor, “Margin Call”)

Thoughts: Finally someone gets this award right. Sean Durkin is absolutely a talent to watch and, as you might have heard, I think “Martha Marcy May Marlene” is one of the year’s best films. I’m liking these awards more and more. Will they keep it up?

Best Supporting Actor: Albert Brooks, “Drive”

Thoughts: Well, that’s two big critics awards so far for Brooks. Very little to add at this point, but check out my interview with Brooks here for more consideration of his work in the film.

Best Supporting Actress: Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids (Runner-up: Jeannie Berlin, “Margaret”)

Thoughts: I was just talking to someone on Twitter about the possibility of Berlin winning the LAFCA prize in this category today, but props to Boston for being on #teammargaret. You know how I feel. McCarthy winning the award is fun and everything, but I could pick two or three other elements of that ensemble that are more worthy of the consideration. Of course, their characters didn’t shit in a sink, so…

Best Actor: Brad Pitt, “Moneyball” (Runners-up: George Clooney, “The Descendants” and Michael Fassbender, “Shame”)

Thoughts: Color me slightly surprised. That’s two big wins for Brad Pitt on the circuit so far. He’s on track, obviously, for an Oscar nomination.

Best Actress: Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn” (Runner-up: Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”)

Thoughts: Another feather in the cap of a sure-fire Oscar nominee. Apparently Streep was very close.

Best Ensemble: “Carnage” (Runner-up: “Margaret”)

Thoughts: Ugh, I wish “Margaret” could pull out one of these wins. Alas, I’m glad it’s at least in the conversation.

Best Screenplay: “Moneyball” (Runner-up: “Margaret”)

Thoughts: Alright, you’re killing me with all these runner-ups. Give it just one award! Come on! It’s cool. Again, I’m stoked that it’s even in play. And the “Moneyball” script, as I’ve said since day one, is absolutely fantastic.

Best Director: Martin Scorsese, “Hugo” (Runner-up: Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”)

Thoughts: Well, then. Given that the film came close on a few other awards earlier this morning, could this mean the film will win Best Picture, too? We’ll see. I’m happy to see Scorsese getting honored for what was clearly a project very close to his heart.

Best Documentary: “Project Nim” (Runner-up: “Bill Cunningham New York”)

Thoughts: Could this become the consensus favorite as we head toward the Oscars? Perhaps. Both of these titles, by the way, are on the Academy shortlist. And it’s a better pick than “Cave of Forgotten Dreams,” certainly, which is threatening to be a big deal on the circuit.

Best Picture: “The Artist” (Runners-up: “Hugo” and “Margaret”)

Thoughts: Either one of those runners-up would have been so much more meaningful, but you’re talking about the most generally agreeable film when it comes to critics groups. And “The Artist” is easy to digest. So it’ll probably win plenty more, and maybe, ultimately, the Oscar.

Best Foreign Film: “Incendies” (Runner-up: “A Separation”)

Thoughts: How is there even a contest between those two? I found “Incendies,” which was nominated last year for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar, to be borderline terrible. And you know my feelings on “A Separation,” but to each his own.

Overall, a decent set of winners, but the story to me was the runners-up. If only they could have had the bravery to push some of those into winning positions. Anyway, on to the rest of the day’s announcements.

Best Animated Film: “Rango”

Thoughts: This wasn’t announced via Twitter but it’s on the group’s official website. You know how I feel. Great film, great choice. Not that there’s much else to choose from.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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