'American Hustle' wins big with New York Film Critics Circle

Posted by · 10:51 am · December 3rd, 2013

David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” was crowned the best film of 2013 today by the New York Film Critics Circle, capping off a nearly five-hour vote and marking the first critics awards announcement of the year. The film also received wins for Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and Best Screenplay.

From NY Mag’s Vulture blog, this is worth noting:

“According to our critic David Edelstein, who is one of the NYFCC’s members, the final vote for Best Picture resulted in a rare tie-breaker. NYFCC by-laws prevent the actual numbers from being released, but Edelstein said there was a strong American Hustle camp and a strong 12 Years a Slave camp (reflected in McQueen’s best director win), and that the vote was remarkably close, with some members expressing ‘visible dismay’ when the final number was tallied.”

Interesting. Also, Lou Lumenick has a breakdown of the balloting which I guess you can use to suss out runners-up and whatnot.

Check out a running commentary of the wins below and offer up your thoughts, whatever they may be, in the comments section below.

Best Non-Fiction Film: “Stories We Tell”

It seems like this and “The Act of Killing” are the year’s critical darlings in the category. I love the passion Sarah Polley, an absolutely vital voice, brought to this project, but found it curiously impenetrable for just HOW personal it was. Nevertheless, it’s handsomely crafted and again, so passionately conceived.

Best First Film: “Fruitvale Station”

A nice follow-up to last night’s Gotham Award for Breakthrough Director. Ryan Coogler, as I wrote yesterday, is an exciting new talent. I’m very curious to see how far the film can go with the Academy because it is mentioned here and there, especially actor Michael B. Jordan’s performance. It could be feast or famine with Weinstein’s 2013 slate. Just another element of intrigue this season.

Best Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, “Inside Llewyn Davis”

I asked Emmanuel Lubezki the other day about working with the Coens and he immediately mentioned how amazing he thought Delbonnel’s work on the film was, and of course, how jealous he is that he got to do it (he loved his time in the trenches with them on “Burn After Reading”). Anyway, arbitrary namedropping aside, I love Delbonnel’s work on this movie. LOVE. What’s most striking is that it is so of a piece with the aesthetic the Coens have developed with Roger Deakins over the years while still being very much it’s own thing. “It survives the power of Roger,” Lubezki told me, and that’s a good way to put it. DPs are typically nervous stepping into those shoes, not just because Deakins is such a massive figure in their world, but because he’s forged such a deep artistic relationship with the filmmaker siblings. Delbonnel was more than up to the task.

Special Award: Frederick Wiseman

The great documentarian. “Titicut Follies,” this year’s “At Berkeley.” Who can argue with tipping your hat to this guy?

Best Screenplay: “American Hustle”

Look, this is an entertaining film, but you go with something that derivative over truly deep and meaningful writing like “Before Midnight,” “Inside Llewyn Davis,” etc.? Doesn’t compute for me at all.

Best Animated Film: “The Wind Rises”

A film that has really grown on me since I saw and liked it at Telluride, and for me, the obvious choice for the best of the medium this year. If you haven’t already, check out David Ehrlich’s gorgeous countdown of the year’s 25 best films, which features Hayao Miyazaki’s swan song very high on the list.

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”

I had a feeling this might happen, and it’s such a wonderful choice. I honestly believe he has a shot at the Oscar, though Jonah Hill could come along and steal a lot of that thunder because his is just the sort of outrageous beast of a performance that wins here (and he’ll certainly do a lot of work on the campaign trail). Leto’s work is refined, heartbreaking: the polar opposite, really.

Best Foreign Language Film: “Blue is the Warmest Color”

I myself finally caught up with the Palme d’Or winner as part of my annual screener bonanza last week. I’ll just leave this here: Team Manohla.

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”

Okay, this one I won’t kick up a fuss about. Lawrence is pretty electric in this film and is really best in show overall.

Best Director: Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”

And there it is. Finally McQueen’s critically adored film lands a win. Is that foreshadowing of a Best Film victory? It may well be. We’ll know in due time, but I’m happy for McQueen, who I’ve loved since he first hit the scene. I think “Hunger” and “Shame” are superior pieces of work but his artful touch is all over “12 Years a Slave,” so I won’t argue with any awards it wins this season.

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”

No shock at all here, really. Is the road paved to Oscar? It may well be, but don’t rule out Emma Thompson just yet. This is easily one of Blanchett’s finest performances and it would be a hugely deserving victory, to say the least. The lingering question with this film, though, is whether it can manage nominations for Best Picture or even Best Director.

Best Actor: Robert Redford, “All is Lost”

The truth is, whether people want to admit it or not, Redford really needed this. He hasn’t put in the campaign work that others on the beat have, and that’s fine. It’s not his bag. But in a tight year such as this, that can be a difference maker, whether your name is Robert Redford or not. And make no mistake: this is HUGELY deserving. Redford gives a stunning performance of behavioral specificity that could go on to win an Oscar.

Best Picture: “American Hustle”

…words escape me. And I like the film!

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