The National Society of Film Critics Awards Melancholia Best Picture

Earlier today, The National Society of Film Critics announced their awards for 2011, giving top honors to Lars von Trier‘s Melancholia. The NSFC is an organization that is made up of 58 of the country’s top film critics. Their 46th annual awards resulted in the following winners:

*1. Melancholia – 29 (Lars von Trier)
2. The Tree of Life – 28 (Terrence Malick)
3. A Separation – 20 (Asghar Farhadi)

*1. Terrence Malick – 31 (The Tree of Life)
2. Martin Scorsese – 29 (Hugo)
3. Lars von Trier – 23 (Melancholia)

*1. Brad Pitt – 35 (Moneyball, The Tree of Life)
2. Gary Oldman – 22 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
3. Jean Dujardin – 19 (The Artist)

*1. Kirsten Dunst – 39 (Melancholia)
2. Yun Jung-hee – 25 (Poetry)
3. Meryl Streep – 20 (The Iron Lady)

*1. Albert Brooks – 38 (Drive)
2. Christopher Plummer – 24 (Beginners)
3. Patton Oswalt – 19 (Young Adult)

*1. Jessica Chastain – 30 (The Tree of Life, Take Shelter, The Help)
2. Jeannie Berlin – 19 (Margaret)
3. Shailene Woodley – 17 (The Descendants)

*1. Cave of Forgotten Dreams – 35 (Werner Herzog)
2. The Interrupters – 26 (Steve James)
3. Into the Abyss – 18 (Werner Herzog)

*1. A Separation – 39 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Moneyball – 22 (Steven Zaillian, Aaron Sorkin)
3. Midnight in Paris – 16 (Woody Allen)

*1. A Separation – 67 (Asghar Farhadi)
2. Mysteries of Lisbon – 28 (Raoul Ruiz)
3. Le Havre – 22 (Aki Kaurismäki)

*1. The Tree of Life – 76 (Emanuel Lubezki)
2. Melancholia – 41 (Manuel Alberto Claro)
3. Hugo – 33 (Robert Richardson)

Ken Jacobs, for “Seeking the Monkey King.”

1. BAMcinématek for its complete Vincente Minnelli retrospective with all titles shown on 16 mm. or 35 mm. film.
2. Lobster Films, Groupama Gan Foundation for Cinema and the Technicolor Foundation for Cinema for the restoration of the color version of George Méliès’s “A Trip to the Moon.”
3. New York’s Museum of Modern Art for its extensive retrospective of Weimar Cinema.
4. Flicker Alley for their box set “Landmarks of Early Soviet Film.”
5. Criterion Collecton for its 2-disc DVD package “The Complete Jean Vigo.”

It was an extremely tight race for Best Picture with Melancholia winning the award by just a single vote. I fully expected them to go with Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life all the way and was rather shocked to see that something else ended up winning. Personally I found both films to be overrated, but The Tree of Life I found to be a little less so.

Best Director was another close race with Terrence Malick taking the award by a mere two votes over Martin Scorsese. It’s interesting to note that, while the society gave Melancholia Best Picture, Von Trier himself ended up in third place for Best Director.

Another surprise came in the Best Screenplay category where the NSFC chose the Iranian film A Separation over Moneyball and Midnight in Paris. I found A Separation to be a good film, but I would definitely have to lean towards the other two in terms of a better screenplay.

Their acting choices were pretty good overall. It was a bit disappointing to see Kirsten Dunst given Best Actress for her forgettable performance in Melancholia, but it was good to see that they recognized Brad Pitt, Albert Brooks, and Jessica Chastain.

Overall, half of these might be good indicators of what’s to come at the Oscars. Brad Pitt, Albert Brooks, and Jessica Chastain could very well walk away with Oscars. The Tree of Life pretty much has a lock on the Best Cinematography Oscar, which is well-deserved, while A Separation has been the favorite foreign-language film throughout awards season.

Awards season still has a couple of months to go. Throughout January, various guilds will be announcing their nominees. The Producers Guild of America has already announced their nominees with the only surprises for the top award being The Ides of March and the inexplicable inclusion of Bridesmaids. The Directors Guild of America will be announcing their nominees on Monday.

The Golden Globes are being held on January 15th while the Oscar nominations are to be announced on January 24th with the ceremony taking place February 26th.