‘12 Years a Slave’ dominates Southeastern Film Critics 2013 Poll Results
Special to The Atlanta Voice | 1/10/2014, 1:25 p.m.
British director Steve McQueen’s unblinking look at America’s original sin, 12 Years a Slave, is this year’s best film, according to the Southeastern Film Critics Association’s 2013 poll of its members. The organization, comprised of 51 film critics and writers working for print and electronic media across nine Southern states, overwhelming voted for McQueen’s brutal adaptation of Solomon Northup’s memoir of being kidnapped and sold into slavery in the Antebellum South, which was first published in 1853.
McQueen was also voted best director in the poll, while Slave screenwriter John Ridley won in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.
The critics also honored the film’s star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, naming him the year’s best actor for his portrayal of Northup, while Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o, a newcomer to American films, won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Patsey, the “most favored” slave on Edwin Epps’ plantation. Michael Fassbender, who portrays the cruel planter, finished second in the Best Supporting Actor category to Jared Leto, who plays an HIV-infected drag queen in Dallas Buyers Club.
“While 12 Years a Slave was a clear-cut winner, the voting indicates that this is an exceptionally deep year for the movies,” SEFCA president Philip Martin says. “81 different films received votes.”
In the Best Actress category, Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of a fallen socialite in the process of having a nervous breakdown in Woody Allen’s dark comedy “Blue Jasmine” was also a clear-cut winner followed by the great Judi Dench in “Philomena”. The talented Austrailian actress who has been the top winner on a number of critics’ lists is the front-runner to win the Golden Globe and the Academy Award.
“After seeing her powerful true performance, I immediately thought that she was the frontrunner for the Oscar and every other award given to an actress,” said SEFCA member Stan Washington of The Atlanta Voice.
Alfonso Cuarón finished second in the director category, and his film Gravity finished second in the critics’ voting. Gravity’s cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, won in that category.
Mud director Jeff Nichols became the first two-time winner of the groups’ Gene Wyatt Award, a prize for films that “best evoke the spirit of the South,” given by SEFCA in honor of the late Nashville Tennessean film critic and charter member of the critics’ group.
“Jeff is a great storyteller in the Southern tradition and Mud is a film that stands in the tradition of Mark Twain, William Faulkner and Flannery O’Connor — filtered through a visual sensibility that recalls Terence Malick,” Martin says. “I’m proud that SEFCA recognized him early — his first film, Shotgun Stories, won the Wyatt award in 2008.
12 Years a Slave
Inside Llewyn Davis
7. Dallas Buyers Club
- Captain Phillips
10. The Wolf of Wall Street
Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
Cate Blancett, Blue Jasmine
Judi Dench, Philomena
Best Supporting Actor
Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
- American Hustle
2.12 Years a Slave
1.Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave
2.Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity
Spike Jonze, Her
David O. Russell and Eric Singer, American Hustle
John Ridley,12 Years a Slave
Jeff Pope & Steve Coogan,Philomena
Act of Killing
- Blue is the Warmest Color
The Wind Rises
Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
Sean Bobbitt,12 Years a Slave
The Gene Wyatt Award for the Film that Best Evokes the Spirit of the South
Jeff Nichols, Mud
Greg “Freddy” Cammalier, Muscle Shoals