Dec 052015


The 2015 Awards Season has started and for those out there wondering what films are going to receive Oscar attention this year, the below winners suggest that it is going to be a very open and unpredictable year. Spotlight, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Martian and Carol are all amongst the big winners at the Gotham, National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Circle Awards – and all look to be legitimate contenders for a coveted Best Picture slot. Check out the lists of all the winners, and some commentary, after the jump: 

25th Annual Gotham Award Winners

Best Feature – Spotlight

Best Actress – Bel Powley, The Diary of a Teenage Girl

Breakthrough Series: Longform – Mr. Robot

Best Actor – Paul Dano, Love & Mercy

Best Documentary, The Look of Silence (Joshua Oppenheimer)

Audience Award – Tangerine

Special Jury Award – Ensemble Performance – Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci, Brian d’Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, and Billy Crudup, Spotlight

Bingham Ray Breakthrough Director – Jonas Carpigano, Mediterranea

Breakthrough Series, Short Form – Shugs & Fats

Best Screenplay – Tom McCarthy & Josh Singer, Spotlight

Breakthrough Actor – Mya Taylor, Tangerine

Spotlight dominated the first awards ceremony of the 2015 season, celebrating the best in independent film. In addition to Best Film and Best Screenplay, the star-studded ensemble cast – widely touted as the strongest of the year – received the Special Jury Award. Tangerine has been a critical success and festival favourite all year, and the Gotham voters also loved it, awarding Mya Tayler Breakthrough Actor, in addition to it scoring the Audience Award. Bel Powley caused an upset for Best Actress, beating likely Oscar nominees Brie Larson for Room (we’ll see plenty of wins coming her way) and Cate Blanchett for Carol, while a never-better Paul Dano, who portrays Brian Wilson in Love & Mercy, beat out another chilling portrayal by Michael Shannon (99 Homes).

2015 National Board of Review Winners

Best Film – Mad Max: Fury Road

Best Director – Ridley Scott, The Martian

Best Actor – Matt Damon, The Martian

Best Actress – Brie Larson, Room

Best Supporting Actor – Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Best Supporting Actress – Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight

Best Original Screenplay – Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best Adapted Screenplay – Drew Goddard, The Martian

Best Animated Feature – Inside Out

Breakthrough Performance – Abraham Attah, Beasts of No Nation, and Jacob Tremblay, Room

Best Directorial Debut – Jonas Carpignano, Mediterranea

Best Foreign Language Film – Son of Saul

Best Documentary – Amy

William K. Everson Film History Award – Cecilia De Mille Presley

Best Ensemble – The Big Short

Spotlight Award – Sicario, for outstanding collaborative vision

NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Beasts of No Nation and Mustang

While the NBR loved The Martian, awarding it Best Director (Ridley Scott), Best Actor (Matt Damon) and Best Adapted Screenplay (Drew Goddard), it was George Miller’s action masterpiece Mad Max: Fury Road that was named the best film of 2015. I understand that Miller was outvoted by a whisker for Best Director. What a world we live in when a film as crazy as that has so many fans. Quentin Tarantino’s eight feature film, the much-anticipated The Hateful Eight, was also awarded for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Jason Leigh), suggesting that he will be right amongst the Oscar discussion again. The Martian has to be one of the favourites for Best Picture as it is, so it will be interesting to see if other Critics Associations show it the same love. Current favourites for Best Documentary and Foreign Language Film, Amy and Son of Saul respectively, were awarded here while it was terrific to see Sly Stallone recognised for what has to be the finest performance of his career in Creed, in which the legacy of his most iconic character, Rocky Balboa, is handled so wonderfully.

New York Film Critics Circle Winners

Best PictureCarol

Best Actor – Michael Keaton, Spotlight

Best Actress – Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Director – Todd Haynes, Carol

Best Screenplay Carol

Best Supporting Actor – Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Best Supporting Actress – Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria

Best Animated FilmInside Out

Best Cinematography – Edward Lachman, Carol

Best First Film Son of Saul

Best Foreign FilmTimbuktu

Best Nonfiction FilmIn Jackson Heights

Special Award: Posthumous award honoring the legacy of William Becker and Janus Films

Special Award: Ennio Morricone, composer

The New York Film Critics Circle firmly believed that Todd Haynes’ Carol was the best film of 2015, and I am sure it will be at the top of many EOY lists. Neither of the actresses won though – these honours went to Saoirse Ronan (pretty much a lock for a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her career-best work in beautiful romantic drama Brooklyn) and Kristen Stewart, who also became the first American woman to win a Cesar Award earlier in the year for Clouds of Sils Maria. Todd Haynes’ direction, Phyllis Nagy’s  screenplay and Edward Lachman’s cinematography were honoured, however. The latter is perhaps the most interesting, especially with work from Roger Deakins (Sicario) and Emmanuel Lubezki (The Revenant) also in consideration. Mark Rylance, terrific in Spielberg’s highly competent Bridge of Spies, was a deserved winner for his unforgettable performance, but it was Michael Keaton from the Spotlight ensemble that caused the biggest surprise. Not only was he seemingly singled out as the Lead in the film, but to beat out guys like Leo DiCaprio (The Revenant) and Matt Damon (The Martian) he must be very good.

What are your thoughts on all of these winners? Do they give us any insight as to who the Academy are going to vote for in three months time?