The National Society of Film Critics voted its 45th annual awards today, Jan. 8, in New York City. Of the 61 critics currently listed as active members, 46 participated. No surprises, given the way other critics-group awards have been going the past few weeks, but one victory that gives me particular delight. Here are the results:
BEST PICTURE: The Social Network, with 61 points; runners-up Carlos (28 points) and Winter's Bone (18)
BEST DIRECTOR: David Fincher, The Social Network, 66 points; runners-up Olivier Assayas, Carlos (36) and Roman Polanski, The Ghost Writer (29)
BEST ACTOR: Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network, 30 points; with runners-up Colin Firth, The King's Speech and Edgar Ramirez, Carlos tied at 29 each
BEST ACTRESS: Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Vincere, 33 points; runners-up Annette Bening, The Kids Are All Right (28) and Lesley Manville, Another Year (27)
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Geoffrey Rush, The King's Speech, 33 points; runners-up Christian Bale, The Fighter (32) and Jeremy Renner, The Town (30)
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE: Olivia Williams, The Ghost Writer, 37 points; runners-up Amy Adams, The Fighter (28) and a tie at third, Melissa Leo, The Fighter and Jacki Weaver, Animal Kingdom (23 each)
BEST SCREENPLAY: Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network, 73 points; runners-up David Seidler, The King's Speech (25) and Roman Polanski and Robert Harris, The Ghost Writer (19)
BEST NONFICTION FILM: Inside Job, 25 points; runners-up Exit Through the Gift Shop (21) and Last Train Home (15)
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM: Carlos, 31 points; runners-up A Prophet (22) and White Material (16)
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Roger Deakins, True Grit, 31 points; runners-up Matthew Libatique, Black Swan (27) and Harris Savides, Somewhere (18)
A note of explanation: There's only one winner in each category, but from the beginning in 1966 the NSFC custom has been to announce the two runners-up as well. This is consistent with the group's voting procedure, which is that in each category every member is asked to vote for three candidates of his or her own choosing (there is no slate of nominations), with the top vote counting 3 points, second-place 2, and third-place 1. If a high point count appears alongside the winner's name, that category was settled on a first ballot with all the members voting - today, looks like Picture, Director, and Screenplay. A lower number (in the 20s or 30s) indicates that additional ballots were needed before the winner achieved a plurality of points and appeared on a majority of ballots cast. After the first ballot, proxy votes (like those of a certain Seattle-based critic*) drop out and subsequent ballots are taken by those in the room.
In addition, the Society voted a number of FILM HERITAGE AWARDS to people and institutions that carried out some notable restoration or preservation effort during the year: The Film Foundation (on its 20th anniversary); the "Chaplin at Keystone" set from Flicker Alley; Fox Video's "Elia Kazan Collection"; John Ford's Upstream (1927), one of 75 films recently found in the New Zealand Film Archive and repatriated to the U.S. with the cooperation of the National Film Preservation Foundation; On the Bowery, restored by Davide Pozzi of the Cineteca del Comune di Bologna's L'Immagine Ritrovata in cooperation with the Rogosin Heritage and Anthology Film Archives and distributed by Milestone Film & Video; and Word Is Out, restored by Ross Lipman for the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Outfest Legacy Project and distributed by Milestone.
The NSFC also issued two statements, one to protest the MPAA ratings board's continued inconsistent and censorious practices and ask for a reexamination and overhaul of the system; the other condemning Iran's harsh Dec. 18, 2010, sentences of directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof.
The voting meeting was dedicated to the memory of the late Peter Brunette.
* I've posted my own votes separately, here. And yes, my delight was over the award to Olivia Williams. -RTJ