‘The Descendants’ Tops Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association

Grumble grumble. The Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association, of which I am a voting member, has released its list of the top movies, actors, etc. of 2011, and the final list couldn’t look more different than the ballot I submitted. Top picks include The Descendants as best picture and Alexander Payne as best director, both of whom don’t crack my top ten. Best actor goes to George Clooney for The Descendants. Again. Bah. Listen, I liked The Descendants just fine, but talk about over-hyped. The biggest mistake, however, comes in the best actress category, in which Michelle Williams’ paltry, un-kinetic, ditsy Marilyn Monroe travesty was awarded best actress. Williams’ performance, as I said in my review, was an example of illustration by omission, a parody role that reminded us just why Monroe was special because Williams was not. But anyway. . .

Moving on, Christopher Plummer gets a best supporting actor nod for Beginners, which is the first choice I can agree with. I can also agree with giving best cinematography to Emmanuel Lubezki for The Tree of Life, because, hell, I never expected anyone else to throw their vote behind The Mill and the Cross. At least Lubezki beat out Janusz Kaminski for his endless John Ford rip offs and propagandistic self-aggrandizement in War Horse, the Triumph of the Will of sentimentality.

The Russell Smith Award is special to the DFWFCA, and it is awarded to the best low-budget or cutting-edge independent film. This year’s went to We Need to Talk About Kevin, which I really liked (even gave Tilda Swinton an actress nod). But both Poetry and Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, which were also nominated for the Russell Smith, are not only better films, more ambitious, more “cutting-edge,” and lower budget than Kevin. 

Anyway, for those who care, I’ll have my list next week, and the full DFWFCA release with all of the top picks and other categories is below. I’m just going to warn you again, though, Kenneth Branagh wiggles into the top five for supporting actor in Marilyn over anyone associated with, oh, Carnage, Of Gods and Men, or even Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. In other words, you may want to fully digest those eggs before you jump.

Image: the Golden Boy of critics’ lists, George Clooney in The Descendants




The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association voted the comedy-drama THE DESCENDANTS as the best film of 2011, according to the results of its 18th annual critics’ poll released today.

Rounding out the composite list of the top 10 films of the year were THE ARTIST (2), EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE (3), MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (4), THE TREE OF LIFE (5), HUGO (6), 50/50 (7), DRIVE (8), SHAME (9) and MONEYBALL (10).

For Best Actor, the association named George Clooney for THE DESCENDANTS. Runners-up included Jean Dujardin for THE ARTIST (2), Michael Fassbender for SHAME (3), Brad Pitt for MONEYBALL (4) and Michael Shannon for TAKE SHELTER (5).

Michelle Williams was voted Best Actress for MY WEEK WITH MARILYN. Next in the voting were Tilda Swinton for WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN (2), Meryl Streep for THE IRON LADY (3), Charlize Theron for YOUNG ADULT (4) and Kirsten Dunst for MELANCHOLIA (5).

In the Best Supporting Actor category, the winner was Christopher Plummer for BEGINNERS. He was followed by Albert Brooks for DRIVE (2), Max von Sydow for EXTREMELY LOUD AND INCREDIBLY CLOSE (3), Armie Hammer for J. EDGAR (4) and Kenneth Branagh for MY WEEK WITH MARILYN (5).

For Best Supporting Actress, the association named Shailene Woodley for THE DESCENDANTS. Runners-up included Berenice Bejo for THE ARTIST (2), Octavia Spencer for THE HELP (3), Melissa McCarthy for BRIDESMAIDS (4) and Carey Mulligan for SHAME (5).

Alexander Payne was voted Best Director for THE DESCENDANTS. Next in the voting were Michel Hazanavicius for THE ARTIST (2), Terrence Malick for THE TREE OF LIFE (3), Martin Scorsese for HUGO (4) and Woody Allen for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS (5).

The association voted A SEPARATION as the best foreign-language film of the year. Runners-up were THE SKIN I LIVE IN (2), INCENDIES (3), 13 ASSASSINS (4) and a tie between OF GODS AND MEN and CERTIFIED COPY (5).


RANGO was named the best animated film of 2011, with THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN as runner-up. Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash won the Best Screenplay award for THE DESCENDANTS over Woody Allen for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS.

The award for Best Cinematography went to Emmanuel Lubezki for THE TREE OF LIFE, followed by Janusz Kaminski for WAR HORSE.

The association voted WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN as the winner of the Russell Smith Award, named for the late Dallas Morning News film critic. The honor is given annually to the best low-budget or cutting-edge independent film.

The Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association consists of 29 broadcast, print and online journalists from throughout North Texas. For more information, visit www.dfwfilmcritics.com.



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