The full list of nominees and winners of the 2013 HFCS Awards are:


12 Years A Slave, Fox Searchlight
All Is Lost, Lionsgate
American Hustle, Columbia
Before Midnight, Sony Pictures Classics
Dallas Buyers Club, Focus Features
Fruitvale Station, The Weinstein Co.
Gravity, Warner Bros.
Inside Llewyn Davis, CBS Films
Nebraska, Paramount Vantage
Saving Mr. Banks, Disney

Joel & Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis
Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Paul Greengrass, Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen, 12 Years A Slave
Alexander Payne, Nebraska

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It remains fundamentally wrong to me that there has to be a special group of critics for African Americans. The critics in this country should work harder to diversify their membership.  Same goes for women.  The Los Angeles Film Critics is 45 males to 11 females, etc.

1. “12 Years a Slave”
2. “Lee Daniels: The Butler”
3. “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”
4. “American Hustle”
5. “Gravity”
6. “Fruitvale Station”
7.  “Dallas Buyers Club”
8. “Saving Mr. Banks”
9. “Out of the Furnace”
10. “42”

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12 Years A Slave
American Hustle
Inside Llewyn Davis

Joel & Ethan Coen–Inside Llewyn Davis
Alfonso Cuaron–Gravity
Spike Jonze–Her
Steve McQueen–12 Years A Slave
David O. Russell–American Hustle
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“The process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values, and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner: ‘I stand for consensus?” Margaret Thatcher

In a year with so many good films, narrowing it down to just nine or ten seems impossible. For me it started all the way in May at Cannes, where we all sat in the Grand Lumiere awash in the thick silence of wrapped attention, the only sounds were the wind and the sea. It was a unique meditation on the metaphysical, something you never see in movies anymore. I waited in the rain for two hours just to sit up and on the side to catch the first screening of Inside Llewyn Davis. Alexander Payne, Bruce Dern and June Squibb brought Nebraska to Cannes — such a splendid portrait of the America the corporations forgot. Then, to be there in Telluride when 12 Years a Slave was first screened.  Nobody knows anything and that first screening could have gone terribly wrong. But it moved everyone — some were moved to tears, others couldn’t bear it, some were moved by the sheer artistry of it. It would take a while for the whispering that it wasn’t a movie voters would like to seep through the collective. Back then, this was just the thrill of seeing something new, before the awards race got its greasy fingers on it.

I’d already heard the buzz out of Venice that Gravity was exceptional. Out there on the outskirts of Telluride, bundled up to stay out of the rain in the brand new Werner Herzog theater — what an experience to see Gravity and walk out feeling like you’d just climbed Everest. It would be a while before the whispers about this or that about accuracy, this or that about Sandra Bullock, would seep through. Lucky me, I got to see it before all of that happened, back when it was still a wonder.

And even now, watching The Wolf of Wall Street on a tiny screen at the Landmark with many bloggers and critics in attendance and walking out of it dazzled, dumbfounded and enthralled. Not ten minutes later the chatter in the party afterwards was whether “they” would like it, Academy members who apparently have traded their artistic courage in for a visit from Dr. Feelgood. “They” were going to be a problem for The Wolf of Wall Street and forever for great films everywhere. But were they the problem or were we? We’re so worried about whether it’s going to rain we can’t stop and enjoy the sunshine.

Now that we’re at the point where some last minute entries that bypassed the festival circuit are making a strong showing here in the 11th hour — American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street, we’re now coming close to our Best Picture consensus, the films most people can agree upon as being the best of the year. All of these contenders have their reasons for being here – they touch on a personal narrative many can relate to, they achieve such a high level of excellence overall they can’t be ignored, or they dare to go places none of us ever could and perhaps they drag us kicking and screaming along the way.
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Llewyn Davis

First up, AO Scott, who definitely needed a top twenty:

1. ‘ Inside Llewyn Davis’ The musical performances — especially from Oscar Isaac, who plays the title character — are hauntingly lovely, and they anchor Joel and Ethan Coen’s exploration, at once mordant and melancholy, of the early-’60s New York folk scene. A ballad of bad luck and squandered talent that already seems, like the music it celebrates, to have been around forever.

2. ‘12 Years a Slave’ Its historical seriousness and topical resonance are considerable but should not distract attention from Steve McQueen’s artistry. Suspenseful and dramatic in the best Hollywood tradition — and full of first-rate performances — this story of bondage and the longing for freedom unfolds with startling clarity and immediacy.

3. ‘Blue Is the Warmest Color’ Yes, the sex scenes are explicit, but they are both necessary to the love story and tangential to the film’s main ambition, which is to illuminate the life of its young protagonist, played by Adèle Exarchopoulos, in full. So yes, Abdellatif Kechiche’s Cannes prize winner is about sex, but it’s also about everything else: food, work, art, social class, education and, perhaps above all, France.

4. ‘Enough Said’ Nicole Holofcener’s midlife romantic comedy, starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini, spins what at first seems like an anecdotal premise into a rich and insightful examination of the peculiarities and contradictions of courtship and parenthood in 21st century America.

5. ‘A Touch of Sin’ Jia Zhangke’s angry, meticulous collection of violent vignettes paints a somber picture of modern China as a place of inequality, greed and indifference. And not only China.

6. ‘All Is Lost’ An old story — man against the elements — grandly and thrillingly told by J. C. Chandor. Robert Redford commands the screen with barely a word.

7. ‘Frances Ha’ With its nouvelle vague black-and-white imagery and its eye for the pleasures and foibles of young-bohemian New York, Noah Baumbach’s lightest and loosest feature, written with and starring Greta Gerwig, is a sweet bedtime story for anxious millennials.

8. ‘Hannah Arendt’ Those who complain that movies can’t think don’t really know how to think about movies. This one, focusing on the controversy surrounding its subject’s 1963 book “Eichmann in Jerusalem,” brilliantly dramatizes the imperative at the center of her life as a writer and philosopher, which was to compel the world to yield to the force of the mind.

9. ‘Lee Daniels’ The Butler’ Movies about American history tend to be somber, responsible and pious, even as the history itself is completely crazy — violent, tragic, ridiculous and contradictory. Lee Daniels, never known for his restraint, turns America’s most agonized and contentious subject (that would be race) into an opera of wild melodrama, canny naturalism and political camp. None of it should have worked, and yet nearly all of it does.

10. ‘The Great Gatsby’/‘The Wolf of Wall Street’/‘The Bling Ring’/‘Spring Breakers’/‘Pain and Gain’/‘American Hustle’ Six variations on the big theme of our times: “Just look at all my stuff!” It’s capitalism, baby! Grab what (and who) you can, and do whatever feels good. We’re all going to hell (or jail, or Florida) anyway.

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Six awards for 12 Years a Slave


Best Film:
12 Years a Slave

Best Director:
Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

Best Actor:
Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave)

Best Actress:
Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

Best Supporting Actor:
Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club)

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The Los Angeles film critics isn’t what it used to be, it must be said. Back in the day, LA print critics were in the group and they voted accordingly. Many of the members now do not write specifically from Los Angeles – they do all of their writing for a broader online community, as does New York. Thus, it is becoming harder and harder to distinguish between the two groups – their membership looks mostly the same. The LA Film critics is 45 males to 11 females. There is a similar, though nowhere near as dramatic, breakdown in New York. Let’s face it: film criticism, like the Oscar race and Hollywood overall, is dominated by the straight, white male opinion. And so it goes.

The one thing that makes awards bloggers and pundits look ridiculous is chasing after each and every critic award trying to find the consensus. That will emerge eventually but none of the critics groups we’ve seen so far indicate any sort of consensus. Not by a long shot. These early awards can help but they can’t hurt.
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12 Years a Slave has begun awards season with a strong showing, leading the field in Independent Spirit Awards nominations among other accolades. The film is connecting with audiences as well, having already earned over $33 million in ever-widening release.

One of things that makes 12 Years a Slave one of the year’s best films is the consistent strength of a remarkably varied ensemble cast. A-list actors, Oscar-nominees, veteran character actors, and heretofore unknowns of all shapes, ages, colors, and sizes, throw themselves into their roles with remarkable dedication, many making a great impact with little screentime. It’s a great triumph when an actor is a standout in a cast full of standouts, and Sarah Paulson (TV’s “American Horror Story”) stands out as Mistress Epps, the exceptionally cruel yet tormented wife of brutal slave owner Edwin Epps (Michael Fassbender).

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12 years

Boston Film Critics Association

  • Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave; runner-up: The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Best Director: , 1: runner-up: Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street
  • Best Actor: , : runner-up:, The of Wall Street
  • Best Actress: , Blue Jasmine: runner-up: Judi Dench in Philomena
  • Best Supporting Actor: Enough Said; runner-up: TIE! , Captain Phillips, and , Dallas Buyers Club
  • Best Supporting Actress: June Squibb, Nebraska; runner-up: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
  • Best Screenplay: Enough Said; runner-up: Wolf of Wall Street
  • Best Documentary:  ; runner-up:
  • Best Animated Feature: The Wind Rises; runner-up: Frozen (near tie)
  • Best New Filmmaker: Ryan Coogler for ; runner-up: Josh Oppenheimer
  • Best Cinematography: Gravity, Emmanuel Lubezki; runner-up: The Grandmaster
  • Best Editing: Rush; runner up: Wolf of Wall Street
  • Best Use of Music in a Film: Inside Llewyn Davis; runner-up: Nebraska

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New York Film Critics Online

  • Best Picture: 12 Years a Slave
  • Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
  • Best Debut Director: Ryan Coogler, Fruitvale Station
  • Best Ensemble Cast: American Hustle
  • Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
  • Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave
  • Best Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave
  • Best Supporting Actor:  Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
  • Best Foreign Language Film: Blue Is The Warmest Color
  • Best Documentary: The Act Of Killing
  • Best Animated Feature: The Wind Rises
  • Best Use Of Music: Inside Llewyn Davis
  • Best Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her
  • Best Cinematography:  Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
  • Best Breakthrough Performance: Adele Exarchopoulos, Blue Is The Warmest Color


When Gus Van Sant was preparing to make 1995’s To Die For, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon were both vying for the role of Russel Hines, which Van Sant gave to Affleck’s younger brother Casey, marking his feature film debut. In the almost two decades since, Casey Affleck’s varied career has included multiple films with Van Sant, three Oceans Eleven movies, two American Pie movies, his remarkable lead turn in Gone Baby Gone, and an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. After taking two years off from acting to direct the brilliant yet polarizing I’m Still Here starring Joaquin Phoenix, Casey is back on the big screen in this year’s Ain’t Them Bodies Saints and Out of the Furnace.

In Out of the Furnace, Casey plays Rodney Baze, returning to civilian life in Braddock, Pennsylvania after serving four tours of duty in Iraq. The area has become so economically depressed, that Rodney’s only hope of survival includes becoming involved in a crime ring and the world of underground, bareknuckle boxing. Out of the Furnace opens on Friday, December 6th. In anticipation, I recently had a remarkably honest and revealing chat with Casey about the film and his career. Here’s what Casey shared with me about getting back into acting after a hiatus, his response to the reaction for I’m Still Here, and building his character in Out of the Furnace.

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(via Collider)


Steve McQueen, 12 YEARS A SLAVE

Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 YEARS A SLAVE

Cate Blanchett, BLUE JASMINE

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And the top ten:

1. 12 Years A Slave
2. Gravity
3. The Wolf of Wall Street
4. Before Midnight
5. Her
6. American Hustle
7. Captain Phillips
8. Nebraska
9. Blue Jasmine
10. Inside Llewyn Davis

Travers list last year (Oscar nominees in bold)

1. The Master
2. Zero Dark Thirty
3. Beasts of the Southern Wild
4. Lincoln
5. Argo
6. Silver Linings Playbook
7. Life of Pi
8. Les Miserables

9. Moonrise Kingdom
10. Django Unchained

After spending a decade acting in film and TV projects, writer/director Scott Cooper made his feature film debut in 2009 with Crazy Heart. In addition to being a great success at the box office, the film won Oscars for Best Actor for Jeff Bridges and songwriters Ryan Bingham and T-Bone Burnett for “The Weary Kind.” Cooper won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and was nominated for a Writers Guild Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

For his second outing, Cooper has made one of the most intense, challenging, and violent films of the year with Out of the Furnace. The film may best be thought of as the lovechild of The Deer Hunter and The Grapes of Wrath, providing an unflinching look at working class America in the era of soldiers returning home from overseas and the death of America’s once booming blue collar culture. The film features some of the year’s best performances, including Casey Affleck (Gone Baby Gone) as a Veteran who resorts to bareknuckle fighting, and Christian Bale (The Fighter) as his brother who after being released from jail must take justice into his own hands.
Out of the Furnace opens on Friday, December 6th, and in anticipation I recently enjoyed a robust chat with Cooper about writing and directing the film. Here’s what Cooper shared with me about making a risky second feature, filming on location in Braddock, Pennsylvania, and crafting Out of the Furnace.

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The Wolf of Wall Street - 2

“Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.”
― John Steinbeck

Three strong films in the Oscar race face down the rise of the 1% — a rise that has accelerated alarmingly in this country over the past several decades. As the effects of the economics schemes put in place during the Reagan era play now begin slamming the generations that followed, storytellers in literature and film are attempting to sift through the rubble to find some some sort of deeper meaning to the illusions of trickle-down magic that have gone so horribly wrong.

The best of this trio of films (by many accounts) is The Wolf of Wall Street, Martin Scorsese’s latest so fresh it’s still nearly wet — a ferocious, unapologetic partner to Goodfellas that nails not only the corruption of Wall Street to the wall, but sticks a fork in the American Dream itself. A pleasure seeker without conscience taking more than he gives back, Jordan Belfort wants only what he’s been conditioned to want until the bottom drops out and he see there’s nothing left of himself but an emptied-out shell. Money in obscene abundance means nothing when it gets you nothing but excess. Buying drugs, hookers, women, fancy cars, yachts — it’s a rotten end goal that takes from the poor what they can’t afford to give and leads to the kind of exorbitance that hollows out the soul.

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amy adams dress american hustle


For the second year in a row, the New York Film critics picked a movie to win that had not yet been officially reviewed or put before the awards machine yet. Last year’s Zero Dark Thirty zoomed right to the top after its NYFCC win, which was quickly followed by the National Board of Review. It started to take the critics awards with a fervor until the shit began to hit the fan.  This year, American Hustle could be that movie all over again – it might start to take the critics awards by storm and David O. Russell would be headed straight for a Best Picture win.  But now it has to sit out there as the frontrunner, a place no film ever wants to be early in the race.  On the other hand, if a consensus begins to build around American Hustle, it might gain enough momentum to push it over the hump and give Russell his long overdue Best Director win, besting Steve McQueen, Alexander Payne, Martin Scorsese, etc.

But because the NYFCC now comes out so early, and because they pick films that yet to run the awards gauntlet — let’s call them awards virgins – there really is no way to determine how all of it will play out. Does it now get the backlash the way other films in its position have? The way Silver Linings Playbook did out of Toronto last year when it suddenly and unexpectedly became the film to beat? Russell seems to be flirting with the edges of a big Oscar win – this might be his year.

The New York Film Critics have become much more mainstream than they ever were. The Los Angeles Film Critics, by contrast, try not to be as influential in the awards race (although all of them probably want to be influential, hell, who doesn’t) but the NYFCC have changed their strategy recently by wanting to be the first booming voice in the awards race. They have accomplished that, and the win for American Hustle puts it squarely in the Best Picture race.  Given the history of NYFCC and Oscar, it seems near-impossible for this film not to at least be a major player.

The DGA begins voting today and this boost could really help David O. Russell make the cut, as well as with the SAG voting which starts a week later.  Many will make the mistake of saying that because 12 Years a Slave or Gravity did not get many awards (Steve McQueen won Best Director) that somehow is a statement on their quality; it absolutely is not. Make no mistake, the awards race is a popularity contest. It has to do with perception and buzz, both are shape shifters. Time sorts out the rest.  Many people in my field have warned that they thought there was no way 12 Years a Slave could win Best Picture. And that might turn out t be true. At the end of the day, that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t rave about it or that it is any less important – it just means oh look, shiny object.  These voters want to distinguish themselves, to stand out, to be sexy. If they go with the flow that is never going to happen for them. This choice makes that kind of statement.



Remember when The Dark Knight was shut out of the Best Picture race and the Academy decided to expand their list from five nominees to ten? Yeah, so then the following two years produced some of the best lineups for Best Picture the Academy has ever seen. Diverse, interesting, inclusive choices because they weren’t bound to this number one nonsense so much — they each had to fill out ten choices, which allowed members to be more free with what they might consider a Best Picture contender. But voters didn’t like filling out ten. They had been conditioned to only pick five. After two years of a solid ten, the Academy decided to go back to the way they used to do it — have members choose only five titles. They would then decide the winners the same way they had always done but would loosen the belt a bit to allow for more films to be nominated — somewhere between five and, they say, ten. But it’s almost impossible to reach the full ten. In fact, it’s never happened in any of the years the Academy used the same method to name more than five nominees.

To me, their best methods are when they go for a solid ten (more inclusive) or a solid five (less herding cats). The conclusions I’ve come to watching them change the number of Best Picture nominees has been interesting.

1) I always thought that the strongest films would have to have a corresponding Best Director nomination — not true. Argo disproved that theory.

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A wonderfully funny bit from the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis:



There is no doubt that the human experience feels more isolated and isolating now than it ever has. We’re more connected yet less connected than we ever have been. Our avatars seem to thrive while our human bodies continue to live out our mortal lives.

While we are more connected to one another than ever before, the films that have captured the zeitgeist so far this year deal with isolation, survival, fear and futility.   Many of us have people we’ve known all our lives updating us on Facebook about the image of themselves they want the world to see, all filtered through the fantasy lens of happiness.  A picture of a smiling couple on their wedding day, toasting the sunset in Belize, mid-jump into a pool on a summer’s day.  Every artfully filtered alternate existence constructed on Facebook and Instagram only makes our own lives seem more dull by comparison.
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BEST FEATURE (Award given to the Producer, Executive Producers are not awarded)

  • 12 Years a Slave – PRODUCERS: Dede Gardner, Anthony Katagas, Jeremy Kleiner, Steve McQueen, Arnon Milchan, Brad Pitt, Bill Pohlad
  • All Is Lost – PRODUCERS: Neal Dodson, Anna Gerb
  • Frances Ha – PRODUCERS: Noah Baumbach, Scott Rudin, Rodrigo Teixeira, Lila Yacoub
  • Inside Llewyn Davis –PRODUCERS: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Scott Rudin
  • Nebraska – PRODUCERS: Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa


  • Shane Carruth, Upstream Color
  • J.C. Chandor, All Is Lost
  • Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
  • Jeff Nichols, Mud
  • Alexander Payne, Nebraska

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