After a colorful list of nominations last week (check them out here if you missed them), the Women Film Critics Circle has deemed "Philomena" the best film of 2013…about women. The film picked up two other awards as well (the only other two for which it was nominated, in fact, making it a sweeper). "Before Midnight" also scored a hat trick.
Emma Thompson received the group's Lifetime Achievement prize, while Charlize Theron, Laura Poitras and Sandra Bullock were also among those singled out via special commendations. Dominant precursor player "12 Years a Slave" picked up two wins, for Best Actor and Best Male Images in a Movie.
Check out the full list of winners below, with passionate pleas for "Hall of Shame" recipients on the last page. And as always, keep track of all these announcements at your one-stop awards hub, The Circuit.
Best Movie About Women: "Philomena" (Runner-up: "Mother of George")
Best Movie by a Woman: "Enough Said" (Runner-up: "Inch Allah")
Best Woman Storyteller (Screenwriting Award): Julie Delpy, "Before Midnight" (Runner-up: Nicole Holofcener, "Enough Said")
Best Actress: Judi Dench, "Philomena" (Runner-up: Barbara Sukowa, "Hannah Arendt")
Best Actor: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave" (Runner-up: Michael B. Jordan, "Fruitvale Station")
Best Young Actress: Onata Aprile, "What Maisie Knew" (Runner-up: Waad Mohammed, "Wadjda")
Best Comedic Actress: Melissa McCarthy, "The Heat" (Runner-up: Greta Gerwig, "Frances Ha")
Best Foreign Film About Women: "Wadjda" (Runner-up: "Inch Allah")
Best Female Images in a Movie: "Philomena" (Runner-up: "Girls in the Band")
Worst Female Images in a Movie: "The Bling Ring" (Runner-up: "Machete Kills")
Best Male Images in a Movie: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave" (Runner-up: James Gandolfini, "Enough Said")
Worst Male Images in a Movie: "Only God Forgives" (Runner-up: "Out of the Furnace")
Best Theatrically Unreleased Movie by or about Women: "Phil Spector" (Runner-up: "Pussy Riot")
Best Equality of the Sexes: "Before Midnight" (Runner-up: "Enough Said")
Best Animated Females: "Frozen" (Runner-up: "The Croods")
Best Family Film: "The Wind Rises" (Runner-up: "Black Nativity")
Women's Work (Best Ensemble): "Ginger & Rosa" (Runner-up: [tie] "Winnie Mandela" and "August: Osage County")
Best Documentary by or about Women: "Stories We Tell" (Runner-up: "Girls in the Band"
Mommie Dearest Worst Screen Mom of the Year Award: Kristin Scott Thomas, "Only God Forgives"
Best Screen Couple: Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, "Before Midnight"
Best Song: "Would You Bleed for Love" from "Winnie Mandela" (Jennifer Hudson)
SPECIAL MENTION AWARDS
Lifetime Achievement Award
For her eclecticism in switching from period films to fantasy genre, to contemporary settings. And embodying all kinds of women with raw and pure interpretations.
Acting and Activism Award
For her work for The Global Fund, and for starting the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project. Which educates young people about HIV/AIDS.
Courage in Filmmaking
For bringing the Edward Snowden NSA revelations to light and driven into exile in Germany for doing so. And currently making a documentary about it.
Adrienne Shelly Award: "Augustine" (Runner-up: "Lovelace")
For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women Augustine.
Josephine Baker Award: "12 Years a Slave" (Runner-up: "Go for Sisters")
For best expressing the woman of color experience in America.
Karen Morley Award: "Winnie Mandela" (Runner-up: "Wadjda")
For best exemplifying a woman's place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity.
Courage in Acting: Soko, "Augustine"
Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on the screen.
The Invisible Woman Award: Sandra Bullock, "Gravity"
Performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored.
Just Kidding Award: Best Male Images in a Movie: "Last Vegas"
(Click over to the next page for the lengthy WFCC "Hall of Shame" sidebar.)
WFCC HALL OF SHAME
*Please Note: The WFCC Top Ten Hall Of Shame represents the ‘don’t tell me to shut up’ sidebar contribution of individual members, and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the entire Circle. Or may even dissent from an awarded nomination. Also, members may be objecting to particular characters in a film, and not the entire movie.
Clarification: If an aspect of the movie is intentionally negative to make a point, rather than offensive, that is not under consideration for this category.
Women depicted as powerless and manipulative. Plus, the acting is horrid.
No depth, little plot and a pitiful depiction of today’s college kids. Gratuitous in nothing more than flesh and violence. A grossly and dangerously skewed depiction of young women and their values in today’s America.
The whole might of the USA coming down on 3 starving Somalis?! Repulsive. When the obscenely beefy SEALS arrived and the audience started to cheer, I felt I was watching a ‘macho’ director brainwash audience members into blindly accepting the worst stereotypes of jingoistic male behavior.
"Blue is the Warmest Color"
I went in knowing almost nothing except general buzz but I hated the sex scenes which were way too long and midway thru I couldn’t wait to flee the theater. Coming out I read how many takes Kechiche required and I was thoroughly repulsed. Who was this for? Then I read the graphic novel and discovered that critical plot points were deleted. Like the fact that Adele’s parents find her in bed with Emma which is why she has to move out — and I was enraged. A three hour movie, and Kechiche is so busy salivating over his actresses that he can’t bother telling a coherent story. Hype for this film makes me nauseous!
"Blue is the Warmest Color"
It’s so obvious a dude with a fetish directed this, it’s not only unappealing, it’s creepy. His overcompensating hubris isn’t worth the praise this is receiving.
"Bastards, Les Salauds"
All of the women in this film are depicted as complicit in their own oppression and exploitation. Though it’s a patriarchal system that they exist within, they refuse to fight for themselves or each other, even when a minor is involved. The indictment then is not of the men but of the women. I found this problematic and disappointing from Denis.
The women in this group make meaningful choices each year so they speak for me in these areas, the lone exception being Sandra Bullock’s performance in "Gravity." She’s a fine actress, but I found the character to be whiny, cowardly, and full of the wrong stuff – a damsel in distress who needed a man (even if it was just her imagination) to pull her out of danger. I can hardly believe they’d send someone so panicky into space. Give me Sigourney Weaver any day.
"Dallas Buyers Club"
Shame on "Dallas Buyers Club" for completely ignoring the LGBT as a group who drove the fight against AIDS to the forefront. The only time gays were mentioned was to let Matthew McConaughey’s homophobic redneck character get a laugh at the expense of Jared Leto’s transsexual character. The film made it seem as if the whole AIDS community stood on the shoulders of Ron Woodruff when in fact, groups like Act Up were starting the war for proper testing and more drugs way before Ron entered into the picture. It completely demeaned the backdrop Dallas Buyers Club was utilizing for their own characterizing “hero” agenda. Also the film took an extreme opinion against the AZT drug in favor for a plot line when in fact it was helping some patients. The only saving grace was Jared Leto’s fantastic performance but unfortunately it wasn’t enough.
Why is it that when actresses and even screen goddesses hit a certain age, they’re all cast as nags and shrews. No matter how accomplished any of these films may be, the tally of older actress shrewish nags on board is really high this year, as usual. Including Oprah Winfrey in "The Butler," Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts in "August: Osage County," Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins in "Blue Jasmine," June Squibb in "Nebraska," Kristin Scott Thomas in "Only God Forgives" and Julianne Moore in "Carrie." Refreshing exceptions being Judi Dench in "Philomena," Yolonda Ross in "Go For Sisters" and Mary Steenburgen in "Last Vegas."