The Florida Film Critics Circle announce `12 Years a Slave’ big winner for 2013… and the picks by Indie Ethos

December 18, 2013

12-years-a-slave still

Today, the Florida Film Critics Circle announced its awards for the best of the best in cinema in 2013. Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave received the most recognition. It’s a dark, powerful film that is backed by the artistry of a fine craftsman of a director. It also won for best adapted screenplay. There were many awards for the actors in the film, deservedly so, as McQueen knows how to let the camera roll and allow an actor to act. Therefore, Chiwetel Ejiofor won for best actor, Lupita Nyong’o won for supporting actress and breakthrough role. Michael Fassbender was a runner up in supporting actor.

Other awards of note has to begin with Miami Beach Cinematheque director Dana Keith, who won the Golden Orange. He’s special to us here at Indie Ethos, as he was the first to take our reviews seriously. We’re kindred spirits in indie, foreign and art films. He’s also a great supporter of local film criticism, which will soon be more pronounced after he won a Knight Foundation grant for a program called “Speaking In Cinema” that will include the participation of many local film critics.

Gravity got some big technical wins that it deserved (my review of the film). I also nominated Blue Is the Warmest Color in many categories (my review), so I was happy to see it win foreign film. Apparently it just edged out the rather cruel film the Hunt, whose drama relies on dramatic irony as a ploy that many critics have fallen for (my review).

But I can’t say I’m much disappointed with this list, except that Michael B. Jordan did not win for breakout role for his work in Fruitvale Station (my review), as he missed it by two points, and Nyong’o had already won for supporting actress. I pushed for that because I thought it would mean something coming from the state where Trayvon Martin lost his life to profiling.

The other night, with the help of my cohort at Independent Ethos, Ana Morgenstern, I filled in my ballot (I was stuck many times, though I tried not to over-think my nominees). This task features a lot of strategy, some precociousness and a bit of bias toward the oft-misunderstood Blue Is the Warmest Color. My only regret, when I turned in the ballot, was not including Ejiofor. He really was amazing, but he feels like such a given to win so many awards this season. In the end, it was no surprise when he won (though I felt a little relief). But then, runner-up was Joaquin Phoenix, who I wanted for best actor last year (see that year’s list of winners).

Here’s the full press release from the FFCC:

FFCC Winners Announcement – 2013

December 18 -– With five major wins, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, Steve McQueen’s riveting “12 Years a Slave” swept the 2013 Florida Film Critic Circle Awards, beating out such highly touted contenders as “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Alfonso Cuoron’s “Gravity” was the only other multiple winner, earning top marks for its cinematography and special effects.

McQueen, himself a winner for director, helped Chiwetel Ejiofor earn the group’s top honor as Best Actor for his stirring work as former freeman turned plantation “property” Solomon Northup, while Jared Leto stepped away from his rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars to win the Best Supporting Actor award for his touching turn as an AIDS patient in “The Dallas Buyers Club.”

Woody Allen again proved his skill with actresses, as Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine” while newcomer Lupita Nyong’o walked away with the prize for Best Supporting Actress for her devastating work as Patsey in “Slave “. She was additionally acknowledged by the group, winning the prestigious Pauline Kael Breakout Award.

As stated before, Cuarón’s hit sci-fi thriller brought a Best Cinematography win for Emmanuel Lubezki as well as for its mind blowing F/X. Spike Jonze’s whimsical meditation on life, love and technology, “Her,” earned him the Best Original Screenplay award while John Ridley was honored with Best Adapted Screenplay for his efforts in bringing “Slave” to the screen.

In other awards, Cannes favorite “Blue is the Warmest Color” won a close race over “The Hunt” for Foreign Language Film, while “Frozen” narrowly defeated Hayao Miyazaki’s final effort, “The Wind Rises” for Animated Film. “The Act of Killing” edged out “Blackfish” for Best Documentary, while “The Great Gatsby” was touted for its Art Direction and Production Design.

The Golden Orange Award, given for outstanding contribution to film, went to Miami Beach Cinematheque director Dana Keith, a tireless champion of foreign, independent and alternative film for more than 20 years. He has consistently programmed some of the most daring films to make the art house circuit and has played host to a variety of film festivals, big and small.

Founded in 1996, the Florida Film Critics Circle is comprised of 21 writers from state publications. Bill Gibron of PopMatters.com and FilmRacket.com has served as chairman since March 2013. For more information on the FFCC, visit: www.floridafilmcritics.com.

Complete list of winners:

Picture: 12 Years a Slave

Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, The Dallas Buyers Club

Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her

Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity

Visual Effects: Gravity

Art Direction/Production Design: Damien Drew et.al. and Catherine Martin et.al., The Great Gatsby

Foreign Language: Blue is the Warmest Color

Animated: Frozen

Documentary: The Act of Killing

Breakout: Lupita Nyong’O, 12 Years a Slave

Golden Orange: Dana Keith

* * *

And here’s how it broke down from our end, including rankings, at Independent Ethos:

Oscar Isaac winter in Joel and Ethan Coens INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

BEST PICTURE

1.  Inside Llewyn Davis
2.  Frances Ha
3.  12 Years a Slave

BEST ACTOR

1.  Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station
2.  Christian Bale – American Hustle
3.  Bruce Dern – Nebraska

BEST ACTRESS

1.  Cate Blanchette – Blue Jasmine
2.  Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
3.  Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha

SUPPORTING ACTOR

1.  Michael Fassbender – 12 Years A Slave
2.  Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club
3.  Benedict Cumberbatch – Star Trek Into Darkness

SUPPORTING ACTRESS

1.  Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years A Slave
2.  Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
3.  June Squibb – Nebraska

DIRECTOR

1. Coen Brothers – Inside Llewyn Davis
2. Noah Baumbach – Frances Ha
3. Abdellatif Kechiche – Blue Is the Warmest Color

SCREENPLAY (ADAPTED)

1.  12 Years A Slave
2.  The Butler
3.  August: Osage County

SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL)

1. Frances Ha
2. Her
3. Blue Jasmine

CINEMATOGRAPHY

1. Inside Llewyn Davis
2. Rush
3. Leviathan

VISUAL EFFECTS

1. Gravity
2. Star Trek Into Darkness
3. The Conjuring

ART DIRECTION/PRODUCTION DESIGN

1. Blue is the Warmest Color
2. 12 Years A Slave
3. Her

FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

1.  Blue is the Warmest Color
2.  Something in the Air
3.  Beyond the Hills

ANIMATED FEATURE

1.  The Wind Rises
2.  Frozen
3.  Monsters University

DOCUMENTARY

1.  Cutie and the Boxer
2.  The Act of Killing
3.  Stories We Tell

BREAKOUT AWARD

1.  Michael B. Jordan – Fruitvale Station
2.  Oscar Isaac – Inside Llewyn Davis
3.  Adèle Exarchopoulos – Blue is the Warmest Color

GOLDEN ORANGE

1.  Dana Keith – Miami Beach Cinematheque (for his adventurous programming and support of local critics)
2.  Oscar Isaac – Inside Llewyn Davis (He was a local Miami musician, who “arrived” with this film in Hollywood)
3.  Jillian Mayer – #PostModem (She starred in and co-directed the short with Lucas Leyva, which went on to SXSW. Here’s the trailer:

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2013 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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