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We're currently swimming in critics' group awards and nominations, but if these mean a little more to me than the rest -- well, that'd be because I voted in them. The London Film Critics' Circle nominations have been announced, and Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave" comfortably leads the field with nine nominations. Gary Oldman, meanwhile, has been named the recipient of the Circle's annual Dilys Powell Award for Contribution to Cinema.
Recent recipients of the career honor include Helena Bonham Carter, Nicolas Roeg and Kristin Scott Thomas. Oldman, who won the Circle's Best Actor award in 1987 for "Prick Up Your Ears," will accept the award at our awards ceremony on February 2, 2014. He offered this statement of thanks: “I am truly honoured, and humbled to be named for this prestigious award, especially when one considers both who is doing the awarding and also the inspirational list of past recipients. I can’t wait to be there.”
London voters may share their US colleagues enthusiasm for the likes of "12 Years a Slave" and "Gravity,"but elsewhere, we've done things a bit differently. Two foreign-language titles -- Cannes hits "Blue is the Warmest Color" and "The Great Beauty" -- made the cut for Film of the Year. So did two low-key American contenders from earlier in the year, "Frances Ha" and "Blue Jasmine" -- with Greta Gerwig joining Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Sandra Bullock and Adèle Exarchopoulos in the Actress of the Year race.
Different distribution avenues allowed us a unique nominee in the Actor of the Year race: Emmy winner Michael Douglas makes the grade for "Behind the Candelabra," which was a theatrical release in the UK. He's nominated alongside Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Tom Hanks -- who also managed a supporting nod for "Saving Mr. Banks."
Speaking of double nominees, Dench and Ejiofor both also placed in the British Actress and British Actor fields, with Supporting Actor nominee Michael Fassbender also joining his co-star in the latter category. (Yes, we say this every year: Irish actors are also eligible for these categories, so they can be a bit of a misnomer, but the industries and talent pools are closely tied.) Two Supporting Actress nominees also placed in the British Actress of the Year field: Sally Hawkins for "Blue Jasmine" and, in a pleasant surprise, Naomie Harris for her fiery turn as Winnie Mandela in "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom." (Her co-star and compatriot Idris Elba, however, was passed over.)
The British acting categories, incidentally, can represent either an individual performance or a body of work over a given year -- so "Beautiful Creatures" gets its first (and probably only) awards mention of the season for Emma Thompson's riotous supporting performance, and I couldn't be more pleased. (Of course, I put Alden Ehrenreich on my Best Actor ballot, but you can't have everything.)
Another point of interest: Paul Greengrass made the Director of the Year lineup despite "Captain Phillips" failing to place in the critics' collective Top 10. And I'm rather proud of our unusual Technical Achievement of the Year lineup, determined by the Circle's smaller awards committee (of which I'm a member): it's the only category on the circuit where you'll see the cinematography of "Frances Ha," the costumes of "Stoker" and the visual effects of "Gravity" competing side-by-side.
Winners will be announced at the Circle's awards ceremony in London on February 2, 2014. Full list of nominees on the next page. Catch up with all season's awards so far at The Circuit.
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