“12 Years a Slave” Dominates FFCC Awards

12 yearsBritish filmmaker Steve McQueen’s searing, emotionally moving and often brutal “12 Years a Slave” is the big winner in this year’s Florida Film Critics Circle (FFCC) Awards, taking home honors in the categories of best picture, best director, best actor for Chiwetel Ejiofor, supporting actress for Lupita Nyong’o, adapted screenplay for John Ridley, and breakout award for Nyong’o.

(Results are also posted at http://www.floridafilmcritics.com)

Here’s the official announcement, provided by FFCC chairman Bill Gibron:

FFCC Winners Announcement – 2013

December 18 – With five major wins, including Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay, Steve McQueen’s riveting “12 Years a Slave” swept the 2013 Florida Film Critic Circle Awards, beating out such highly touted contenders as “American Hustle” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.” Alfonso Cuoron’s “Gravity” was the only other multiple winner, earning top marks for its cinematography and special effects.

McQueen, himself a winner for director, helped Chiwetel Ejiofor earn the group’s top honor as Best Actor for his stirring work as former freeman turned plantation “property” Solomon Northup, while Jared Leto stepped away from his rock band Thirty Seconds to Mars to win the Best Supporting Actor award for his touching turn as an AIDS patient in “The Dallas Buyers Club.”

Woody Allen again proved his skill with actresses, as Cate Blanchett won Best Actress for “Blue Jasmine” while newcomer Lupita Nyong’o walked away with the prize for Best Supporting Actress for her devastating work as Patsey in “Slave “. She was additionally acknowledged by the group, winning the prestigious Pauline Kael Breakout Award.

As stated before, Cuaron’s hit sci-fi thriller brought a Best Cinematography win for Emmanuel Lubezki as well as for its mind blowing F/X. Spike Jonze’s whimsical meditation on life, love and technology, “Her,” earned him the Best Original Screenplay award while John Ridley was honored with Best Adapted Screenplay for his efforts in bringing “Slave” to the screen.

In other awards, Cannes favorite “Blue is the Warmest Color” won a close race over “The Hunt” for Foreign Language Film, while “Frozen” narrowly defeated Hayao Miyazaki’s final effort, “The Wind Rises” for Animated Film. “The Act of Killing” edged out “Blackfish” for Best Documentary, while “The Great Gatsby” was touted for its Art Direction and Production Design.

The Golden Orange Award, given for outstanding contribution to film, went to Miami Beach Cinematheque director Dana Keith, a tireless champion of foreign, independent and alternative film for more than 20 years. He has consistently programmed some of the most daring films to make the art house circuit and has played host to a variety of film festivals, big and small.

Founded in 1996, the Florida Film Critics Circle is comprised of 21 writers from state publications. Bill Gibron of PopMatters.com and FilmRacket.com has served as chairman since March 2013. For more information on the FFCC, visit http://www.floridafilmcritics.com/.

Complete list of winners:

Picture: 12 Years a Slave

Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave

Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, The Dallas Buyers Club

Supporting Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Adapted Screenplay: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Original Screenplay: Spike Jonze, Her

Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity

Visual Effects: Gravity

Art Direction/Production Design: Damien Drew et.al. and Catherine Martin et.al., The Great Gatsby

Foreign Language: Blue is the Warmest Color

Animated: Frozen

Documentary: The Act of Killing

Breakout: Lupita Nyong’O, 12 Years a Slave

Golden Orange: Dana Keith

Dan Hudak Steps Down as Chair of Florida Film Critics Circle; Bill Gibron Takes Helm

FFCC LogoThe Florida Film Critics Circle, an organization comprising more than 20 active or retired movie writers based in Florida, has new leadership.

Dan Hudak, chairman of the group since March 2008, is stepping down from that unpaid post, he announced earlier this week. Hudak, who writes for Florida Weekly, Folio Weekly and his own Hudak on Hollywood site, is handing the reins to Bill Gibron, vice chair of the group and a writer for Pop Matters and FilmCritic.com. The vice chair position is open until filled.

The group, founded in 1996, annually honors excellence in film with awards in about 16 categories (varies depending on the releases in any given year). In the most recent FFCC awards, “Argo” won for best picture, best director (Ben Affleck) and best adapted screenplay (Chris Terrio), while Daniel Day-Lewis was honored as best actor for “Lincoln,” Jessica Chastain as best actress for “Zero Dark Thirty,” Philip Seymour Hoffman as best supporting actor for “The Master” and Anne Hathaway as best supporting actress for “Les Miserables.” The complete list of winners in all the categories, going back to 1996, is here.

The FFCC was created “to recognize outstanding work in film, further the cause of good movies, and maintain the highest level of professionalism among film critics in Florida.”

In other FFCC news: Rene Jordan, the Cuban-born longtime film critic for El Nuevo Herald (the Miami Herald’s Spanish-language counterpart), and a member of the FFCC and National Board of Review, passed away in early April. He was 85.

For more information, visit the FFCC’s home online.