FILM CRIT­ICS

The Progress-Index Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Jake Coyle

New York Film Crit­ics Cir­cle Awards are an­nounced

NEW YORK — In what may be the just the first of many such sweeps, Al­fonso Cuaron’s mas­ter­ful, mem­ory-drenched drama “Roma” dom­i­nated the New York Film Crit­ics Cir­cle Awards on Thurs­day, win­ning best film, best di­rec­tor and best cin­e­matog­ra­phy.

The over­whelm­ing show of sup­port for “Roma” by the crit­ics group wasn’t a sur­prise. Cuaron’s film has been hailed as a mas­ter­piece since win­ning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Fes­ti­val. It’s widely ex­pected to con­tend for best picture, among other cat­e­gories, at the Academy Awards, and Net­flix has put its full weight be­hind an awards cam­paign. Cuaron made the blackand-white 1970s-set film based on his own up­bring­ing in Mex­ico City, serv­ing as his own cin­e­matog­ra­pher.

The crit­ics voted Ethan Hawke best ac­tor for Paul Schrader’s “First Re­formed,” and named Schrader’s script best screen­play. Those wins pro­vided yet an­other boost to Schrader’s an­guished tale of a doubt-rid­dled pas­tor (Hawke), which took the same awards at Mon­day’s Gotham Awards.

While the se­lec­tions of crit­ics groups like the New York Film Crit­ics Cir­cle and the Los An­ge­les Film Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion of­ten de­vi­ate from awards-sea­son fa­vorites, their pres­tige and early tim­ing can bring less her­alded films and per­form­ers into the Os­car con­ver­sa­tion. That may have hap­pened with the group’s pick for best ac­tress: Regina Hall, star of An­drew Bu­jal­ski’s in­die com­edy “Sup­port the Girls,” about the wait­ress staff of a Texas sports bar. Hall bested the likes of Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”) and Olivia Col­man (“The Favourite”).

Sup­port­ing act­ing prizes went to more widely ac­knowl­edged con­tenders: Regina King for her per­for­mance as the ma­tri­arch of Barry Jenk­ins’ James Bald­win adap­ta­tion “If Beale Street Could Talk”; and Richard E. Grant as Melissa McCarthy’s de­bauched con­spir­a­tor in the lit­er­ary forgery drama “Can You Ever For­give Me?”

Leav­ing the big­ger cat­e­gories to “Roma,” the crit­ics voted Pawel Paw­likowski’s “Ida” fol­low-up “Cold War” best for­eign lan­guage film. Best doc­u­men­tary went to “Mind­ing the Gap,” Bing Liu’s di­rec­to­rial de­but about a trio of skate­board­ing friends in Rock­ford, Illi­nois. Bo Burn­ham’s ten­der com­ing-of-age tale “Eighth Grade” took best first film.

And fresh off its glow­ing re­views, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” was cho­sen as best an­i­mated film over Pixar’s “Incredibles 2.”

The crit­ics also added spe­cial awards for the re­tir­ing chief cu­ra­tor of the Mu­seum of the Mov­ing Image, David Schwartz, and Kino Clas­sics’ DVD box set “Pi­o­neers: First Women Film­mak­ers.”

[CAR­LOS SOMONTE/NET­FLIX VIA AP]

This image re­leased by Net­flix shows Yal­itza Apari­cio, cen­ter, in a scene from the film “Roma,” by film­maker Al­fonso Cuaron. The film has dom­i­nated the New York Film Crit­ics Cir­cle Awards, win­ning best film, best di­rec­tor and best cin­e­matog­ra­phy. The film is Net­flix’s most ac­claimed re­lease yet, and it’s widely ex­pected to con­tend for best picture at the Academy Awards.

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