“Social Network” dominates 2010 NSFC awards

Here are the results of the January 8, 2011 vote by the members of the National Society of Film Critics. The winners are marked with a *, followed by the second and third place runners-up. 46 members out of 64 voted, using a weighted ballot system (3 points for first place, etc.); the numbers represent the total votes for each nominee on the final, winning round.

The Society, which is made up of 61 of the country’s most prominent movie critics, held its 45th annual awards voting meeting at Sardi’s Restaurant in New York City. 46 members voted. Scrolls will be sent to the winners.

BEST ACTOR
*1. Jesse Eisenberg 30 – The Social Network
2. Colin Firth 29 – The King’s Speech
2. Edgar Ramirez 29 – Carlos

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Giovanna Mezzogiorno 33 – Vincere
2. Annette Bening 28 – The Kids Are All Right
3. Lesley Manville 27 – Another Year

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
*1. Geoffrey Rush 33 – The King’s Speech
2. Christian Bale 32 – The Fighter
3. Jeremy Renner 30 – The Town

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
*1. Olivia Williams 37 – The Ghost Writer
2. Amy Adams 28 – The Fighter
3. Melissa Leo 23 – The Fighter
3. Jacki Weaver 23 – Animal Kingdom

BEST PICTURE
*1. The Social Network 61
2. Carlos 28
3. Winter’s Bone 18

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. David Fincher 66 – The Social Network
2. Olivier Assayas 36 – Carlos
3. Roman Polanski 29 – The Ghost Writer

BEST NONFICTION
*1. Inside Job 25 (Charles Ferguson)
2. Exit Through the Gift Shop 21 (Banksy)
3. Last Train Home 15 (Lixin Fan)

BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. Aaron Sorkin 73 – The Social Network
2. David Seidler 25 – The King’s Speech
3. Roman Polanski and Robert Harris 19 – The Ghost Writer

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
*1. Carlos 31
2. A Prophet 22
3. White Material 16

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. True Grit 31 (Roger Deakins)
2. Black Swan 27 (Matthew Libatique)
3. Somewhere 18 (Harris Savides)

FILM HERITAGE AWARDS:
1. Flicker Alley for Chaplin at Keystone
This four-DVD set is the result of an eight-year effort by the British Film Institute, the Cineteca Bologna and Lobster Films in Paris to gather and restore early generation, full-frame 35-millimeter prints of Charles Chaplin’s earliest short comedies, allowing these historically and artistically important films to be seen for the first time in generations in versions approaching their original luster.
2. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment for the Elia Kazan Collection
This collection of fifteen films represents a rare collaboration among studios – including Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures – in bringing together the core body of the work of one of America’s most influential filmmakers.
3. The Film Foundation
for twenty years of providing financial support and moral leadership for the preservation and restoration of motion pictures from around the world.
4. Upstream
Long believed lost, John Ford’s 1927 backstage comedy was one of 75 silent-era American films discovered in the collection of the New Zealand Film Archive and repatriated under the auspices of the National Film Preservation Foundation with the collaboration of the Academy Film Archive, Park Road Post Production, and Twentieth Century Fox.
5. On the Bowery
Lionel Rogosin’s revolutionary 1956 semi-documentary about men on New York’s skid row was restored by Davide Pozzi of the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna in cooperation with the Rogosin Heritage and Anthology Film Archives and distributed in the U.S. by Milestone Films.
6. Word Is Out
A collective production of the Mariposa Film Group, this 1977 documentary was among the first films to give a free voice to members of the gay and lesbian community. Restored by Ross Lipman for the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Outfest Legacy Project and distributed by Milestone Films.

The meeting was dedicated to the memory of our colleague Peter Brunette.

Additionally, the society issued two statements, one protesting the “inconsistent and censorious” practices of the MPAA ratings board, the other condemning the Iranian governments harsh treatment of the filmmakers Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof. The full texts of the statements are below:

STATEMENT ON THE MPAA RATINGS SYSTEM
The members of the National Society of Film Critics applaud the recent decision by the Classification & Ratings Administration of the Motion Picture Association of America to change the rating of “Blue Valentine” from NC-17 to R. But several other recent decisions by CARA have been allowed to stand, and these call into question the integrity and legitimacy of that office as it is presently constituted.

“The King’s Speech,” the drama about King George VI’s attempt to overcome his speech impediment, was rated R for “language,” specifically, several moments where the King is instructed by his speech therapist to swear to relieve the pressure of his stammer.

“The Tillman Story,” the documentary about the military cover-up of the death of Corporal Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, was similarly rated R for “language.” In the case of that film the offending content is the agitated language of soldiers in combat fearing for their lives.

“A Film Unfinished,” which contains footage taken by the Nazis inside the Warsaw Ghetto, was given an R for “disturbing images of Holocaust atrocities, including graphic nudity.”

In the case of the documentaries “The Tillman Story” and “A Film Unfinished,” this amounts to CARA assigning a rating to reality.

In an editorial on the MPAA’s web site, Joan Graves, the head of CARA, claims, “These ratings are purely informational.”

This is simply untrue.

An R rating restricts who can get in to see a film and thus its potential earnings. An NC-17 rating, such as was originally assigned to “Blue Valentine,” will keep a film out of many theater chains and can deny its being advertised on most television networks and in many newspapers.

This can have an especially damaging effect on the earning potential of independently made films, such as those mentioned above, which do not have access to the large advertising budgets at the disposal of the major studios — studios, which, as CARA’s record indicates, have received much more lenient ratings for similar content.

Another damaging inconsistency is CARA’s record of judging sexual content more harshly than it does violence. We by no means advocate condemning violence in movies, and we do not believe we are doing so by pointing out that there is no equivalence between an R given to the most explicit horror images and the same rating given to a drama in which King George VI utters a four letter word. And certainly no equivalence to a historical document showing the emaciated bodies of dead Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Despite Ms. Graves’ contention that CARA decisions are “purely informational,” it’s clear that the board has become an agency of de facto censorship. There is a difference between giving parents the information they need to make a decision as to which films they want their children to see, and a system whose decisions make it harder for adults — and their children — to see films clearly meant for them.

The National Society of Film Critics believes that CARA has for too long demonstrated these inconsistencies and has refused to explain itself. We would like to believe that the major studios who constitute the membership of the MPAA care enough about the availability of movies to recognize that the ratings system should be open and consistent, not arbitrary and unfair, and that films from independent distributors should be judged by the same criteria as their own releases. It has become a system that enforces the kind of moral policing that, when it was founded in 1968, it was intended to prevent.

STATEMENT ON JAILED IRANIAN DIRECTORS
On December 18, 2010, an Iranian court sentenced Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof to six years in prison and banned both from filmmaking for 20 years for “colluding in gatherings and making propaganda against the regime.”

The members of the National Society of Film Critics add their voices to those of the many other individuals and organizations who have protested this injustice. We strongly urge the Iranian government to release both artists, whose work can only further the advancement of such values as justice, compassion, tolerance, and human dignity. Jafar Panahi’s films in particular have won international awards, earned the accolades of critics all over the world, and delighted and inspired audiences everywhere they are shown.

Not only does the court’s decision impose an outrageous penalty on artists whose sole crime is telling the truth, but it deprives Iran and the world of future works by filmmakers of outstanding talent and vision.

We intend our protest to affirm the value of artistic expression and the power of cinema to transcend political differences and unite people in their common humanity. We hope that the Iranian government will recognize the wisdom of releasing Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof immediately in the name of these universal principles.

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