Past Atlanta Film Critics Circle Awards

2019 AFCC Awards

For the third year, the 26 voting members of Atlanta’s only dedicated city-specific critics group, the Atlanta Film Critics Circle, have awarded their top films of the year.

The AFCC’s number one film this year is South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s fascinating blend of social commentary and dark comedy Parasite.

A very contemporary tale of a struggling-to-stay-afloat South Korean family that finds dark forces unleashed when they infiltrate a wealthy family’s home, Parasite highlights the deep class divides and economic inequality in that country.

The film also won AFCC’s award for Best International Film and Best Director for Bong Joon-ho as well as a Best Screenplay award for co-writers Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won.

AFCC co-founder and Atlanta Journal-Constitution critic Felicia Feaster, calls Parasite “a lacerating take on the incredibly topical 21st century issue of income inequality that bubbles up a very nasty vein of dark comedy.” Bong Joon-ho’s genre-bending thriller centers on a poor family, the Kims, and a rich family, the Parks, who come together under unusual circumstances.

Martin Scorsese’s ensemble mob epic The Irishman, staring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci was the second place award-winning film on the AFCC’s top 10 list.

The based-on-fact film stars longtime Scorsese collaborator De Niro as a man in his twilight years reflecting upon his career as a mob hitman and confidante of union organizer Jimmy Hoffa.

“Martin Scorsese and his brilliant cast made a movie which is measured and thoughtful and at nearly three and a half hours doesn't feel the least bit overlong,” says Atlanta Film Critics Circle co-founder Michael Clark.

“Two films on our list are from two of the worlds' greatest directors, 77-year-old Martin Scorsese and 70-year-old Pedro Almodovar, and both have aging protagonists looking back at their lives with regret,” notes AFCC member and Creative Loafing columnist Curt Holman. Both The Irishman and Spanish director Almodovar’s rueful semi-autobiographical Pain and Glory — number nine on the AFCC’s top 10 award list — are thoughtful meditations on time’s passage.

Other notable winners in this year’s AFCC awards include Best Documentary Apollo 11 which uses archival footage of the first-manned mission to the moon in 1969 to document an event of incredible importance and — considering our own politically divided times —remarkable solidarity and national pride.

For his role as a husband and father contending with a traumatic divorce from his actress wife (Scarlett Johansson), Adam Driver won the AFCC’s Best Lead Actor award for Marriage Story. “It's a performance full of bewilderment, surprise, pent-up anger and sadness, yet a hope that the two can still be part of each other's lives in some way,” says AFCC member and Georgia Voice critic Jim Farmer.

Laura Dern garnered a Best Supporting Actress award for her equally enthralling performance as a mercenary, charismatic divorce lawyer in Noah Baumbach’s third on AFCC’s top 10 list, Marriage Story. For her deeply empathetic, galvanizing performance as troubled, beloved actress and singer Judy Garland, Renée Zellweger received the Best Lead Actress award from the AFCC for Judy.

The AFCC also presented special awards for Best Breakthrough Performer to Kelvin Harrison Jr. who in 2019 appeared in both Luce as an adopted son and model student who may be harboring dark impulses, and in Waves as a suburban Florida teenager trying to balance his father’s expectations and his own anxieties in the family melodrama Waves. Actress-turned-director Olivia Wilde won AFCC’s Special Award for Best First Feature Film for another tale of anxious, overachieving teens. Her ribald, deliciously inventive tale of two nerdy high schoolers finally cutting loose during one wild night in Booksmart was an inventive, convention-busting take on the usual teen comedy.

“Many of this year's biggest films had moments of high anxiety that cut across genres,” says AFCC member and ScreenRex editor Hannah Lodge of films like Parasite, Sam Mendes’ World War I epic 1917 (number 5 on the AFCC’s top 10 list) and the Adam Sandler drama Uncut Gems (number 7), about a compulsive gambler watching his life fall apart.

“I think whatever element of collective unrest or unease has sparked the trend has given us a year of amazing and thrilling films,” says Lodge.

TOP 10 FILMS:

  1. PARASITE

  2. THE IRISHMAN

  3. MARRIAGE STORY

  4. ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

  5. 1917

  6. LITTLE WOMEN

  7. UNCUT GEMS

  8. KNIVES OUT

  9. PAIN AND GLORY

  10. APOLLO 11

BEST LEAD ACTOR:

Adam Driver in MARRIAGE STORY

BEST LEAD ACTRESS:

Renee Zellweger in JUDY

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR:

Brad Pitt in ONCE UPON A TIME…IN HOLLYWOOD

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:

Laura Dern in MARRIAGE STORY

BEST ENSEMBLE:

THE IRISHMAN

BEST DIRECTOR:

Bong Joon-Ho for PARASITE

BEST SCREENPLAY:

Bong Joon-Ho and Han Jin-Won for PARASITE

BEST DOCUMENTARY:

APOLLO 11

BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM:

PARASITE (South Korea)

BEST ANIMATED FILM:

TOY STORY 4

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY:

Roger Deakins for 1917

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:

Thomas Newman for 1917

AFCC Special Award for BEST BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMER:

Kelvin Harrison Jr. for WAVES

AFCC Special Award for BEST FIRST FEATURE FILM:

Olivia Wilde for BOOKSMART

2018 AFCC Awards

For the second year, the 25 voting members in Atlanta’s only dedicated city-specific critics group, the Atlanta Film Critics Circle, has awarded its top films of the year.

The number one film this year is Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos’s gender-bending tale of female jockeying for power during Queen Anne’s reign in 18th century England, The Favourite. Featuring a powerhouse female cast including Olivia Colman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, the film also garnered a Best Actress Award for Olivia Colman, a Best Supporting Actress nod for Emma Stone, as well as Best Screenplay and Best Ensemble Cast awards.

“The film is defined by incredible performances and a powerful rendering of the viciousness behind class divisions,” says AFCC co-founder Felicia Feaster. “Though set in the 18th century, there is clear resonance for our current age and the often brutal circumstances for women who are powerless and lack social standing in Yorgos Lanthimos’ trenchant rendering of gender divisions and power,” says Feaster.

Actor Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut A Star Is Born was the second of the top 10 films, with Alfonso Cuarón’s unconventional autobiographical tale Roma centered on his beloved housekeeper coming in third. Roma also netted awards for Best Foreign Language Film, for Best Director and Best Cinematography

Other notable winners included Best Documentary Won’t You Be My Neighbor? which spotlights the revered PBS television program “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” host Fred Rogers, who brought uncommon kindness, civility and a social conscience to his work with children.

For his role as a morally conflicted priest in the somber Paul Schrader-directed drama First Reformed, Ethan Hawke won a Best Actor Award with Sam Elliott garnered a Best Supporting Actor award for his turn as the older brother and surrogate father to Bradley Cooper’s country music star in A Star Is Born.

The AFCC also presented special awards for Best Breakthrough Performer, a category that was tied between Elise Fisher as the painfully awkward teenager at the center of the funny, poignant Bo Burnham film Eighth Grade and Grammy-winning Lady Gaga as the rising pop star in the musical melodrama A Star Is Born.

“Our list includes period dramas, inventive horror, commentary on religion, race relations and the environment, minimalist art-house fare, stark social media observations, sci-fi fantasy and a fresh take on the traditional Hollywood epic,” says AFCC co-founder Michael Clark. “It covers the gamut and I’m very pleased with the members’ collective enthusiasm.”

TOP 10 FILMS:

  1. THE FAVOURITE

  2. A STAR IS BORN

  3. ROMA

  4. A QUIET PLACE

  5. FIRST REFORMED

  6. EIGHTH GRADE

  7. BLACKkKLANSMAN

  8. FIRST MAN (tie)

  9. WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR? (tie)

  10. BLACK PANTHER

BEST LEAD ACTOR

Ethan Hawke in FIRST REFORMED

BEST LEAD ACTRESS

Olivia Colman in THE FAVORITE

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Sam Elliott in A STAR IS BORN

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Emma Stone in THE FAVORITE

BEST ENSEMBLE CAST

THE FAVOURITE

BEST DIRECTOR

Alfonso Cuarón for ROMA

BEST SCREENPLAY

Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara for THE FAVOURITE

BEST DOCUMENTARY

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR?

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

ROMA

BEST ANIMATED FILM

ISLE OF DOGS

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Alfonso Cuarón for ROMA

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE

Justin Hurwitz for FIRST MAN

AFCC SPECIAL AWARD for BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMER

Tie: Elsie Fisher for EIGHTH GRADE and Lady Gaga for A STAR IS BORN

AFCC SPECIAL AWARD for BEST FIRST FILM

Bradley Cooper for A STAR IS BORN

2017 AFCC Awards

TOP 10 FILMS:

  1. GET OUT

  2. DUNKIRK

  3. LADY BIRD

  4. THE SHAPE OF WATER

  5. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

  6. THE FLORIDA PROJECT

  7. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

  8. THE BIG SICK

  9. BABY DRIVER

  10. THE POST

BEST ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE

Timothée Chalamet in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE

Sally Hawkins in THE SHAPE OF WATER

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

Willem Dafoe in THE FLORIDA PROJECT

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Laurie Metcalf in LADY BIRD

BEST ENSEMBLE PERFORMANCE

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

BEST DIRECTOR

Christopher Nolan for DUNKIRK

BEST SCREENPLAY

Jordan Peele for GET OUT

BEST DOCUMENTARY

Tie: JANE and KEDI

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM

BPM (BEATS PER MINUTE)

BEST ANIMATED FILM

COCO

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

Hoyte van Hoytema for DUNKIRK

AFCC BREAKTHROUGH AWARD

Jordan Peele for GET OUT