‘Spotlight’ Named Best Picture by National Society of Film Critics

Original Screen Play Oscar Race
Courtesy of Open Road

Investigative journalism tale “Spotlight” won the National Society of Film Critics’ award for the best picture of 2015, as well as the group’s honor for best screenplay (given to the film’s co-writers Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, who also directed). Period romance “Carol” also took two awards, with one for director Todd Haynes and another for cinematographer Ed Lachman.

In the acting categories, NSFC named Michael B. Jordan best actor for his role in “Creed” and Charlotte Rampling best actress for “45 years.” Mark Rylance, a well-known stage presence who’s won three Tony Awards, picked up supporting actor for “Bridge of Spies,” while Kristen Stewart took supporting actress for her turn in “Clouds of Sils Maria.”

Amy Winehouse documentary “Amy” nabbed the trophy for non-fiction film, with Abderrahmane Sissako‘s “Timbuktu” scoring for foreign language film.

NSFC tweeted out the voting results as each category was decided. The society hands out at least eight major awards per year, with the possibility of winners in further categories should the group decide to expand the year’s list. Chaired by Variety’s Justin Chang, the NSFC is made up of 53 film critics from around the country; eight of them disqualified themselves from voting because they haven’t seen every film.

The group dedicated its 50th annual meeting to the memory of the late Time critic Richard Corliss.

Picture: “Spotlight” (23)
Runners-up: “Carol” (17), “Mad Max: Fury Road” (13)

Director: Todd Haynes, “Carol” (21)
Runners-up: Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight” (21); George Miller, “Mad Max: Fury Road” (20)
(McCarthy received as many points as Haynes, but did not appear on a majority of ballots.)

Actor: Michael B. Jordan, “Creed” (29)
Runners-up: Geza Rohrig, “Son of Saul” (18); Tom Courtenay, “45 Years” (15)

Actress: Charlotte Rampling, “45 Years” (57)
Runners-up: Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn” (30); Nina Hoss, “Phoenix” (22)

Supporting actor: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies” (56)
Runners-up: Michael Shannon, “99 Homes” (16); Sylvester Stallone, “Creed” (14)

Supporting actress: Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria” (53)
Runners-up: Alicia Vikander, “Ex Machina” (23); Kate Winslet, “Steve Jobs” (17)

Screenplay: Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, “Spotlight” (21)
Runners-up: Charlie Kaufman, “Anomalisa” (15); Charles Randolph and Adam McKay, “The Big Short” (15)

Cinematography: Ed Lachman, “Carol” (25)
Runners-up: Mark Lee Ping-bin, “The Assassin” (22); “Mad Max: Fury Road” (12)

Foreign-language film: “Timbuktu” (22)
Runners-up: “Phoenix” (20); “The Assassin” (16)

Non-fiction film: “Amy” (23)
Runners-up: “In Jackson Heights” (18); “Seymour: An Introduction” (15)

Film Heritage awards:
Film Society of Lincoln Center and the programmers Jake Perlin and Michelle Materre for the series “Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968-1986”
The Criterion Collection and L’Immagine Ritrovata for the restoration and packaging of the reconstructed version of “The Apu Trilogy” by Satyajit Ray
Association Chaplin for supervising the digital restoration of Charlie Chaplin’s Essanay Films

Special citation for a film awaiting American distribution: Radu Muntean’s “One Floor Below”

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  1. stu freeman says:

    Eight critics declined to vote because they hadn’t seen every film. Does that mean that the other 45 DID see every film? All 1000 or so? How many of them saw Stations of the Cross which showed for one whole week at Anthology Archives and actually WAS the best picture of the year?

  2. jJ says:

    Spotlight is so underwhelming. It’s like a lackluster TV movie. Not the best of 2015.

  3. Ron says:

    shadowsleuth1989 – you obviously have no idea of how these critics vote or give out their awards. Furthermore, most critics see every single movie released. They each choose their top 3 choices which are given 3, 2, or 1 point on each critic’s ballot. In most cases, the choices are whittled down or must be on a certain percentage of all ballots. Since most of the critics are based in NYC they are familiar with acclaimed stage actors(such as Mark Rylance) which the average popcorn moviegoer is not. Me, I refuse to see films with violence in them which is why I’m avoiding The Revenant, Mad Max, and The Hateful 8. In fact, I’ve never cared for Leonardo deCaprio’s acting, but I’m not mad if he wins some awards.

  4. KYlabrat says:

    Again, with Kristen Stewart? If in the future, for some reason the powers that be outlawed film making, and she listed “acting” as her vocation, she would be immediately released based on lack of evidence.

  5. Critics you can shove your political preaching down our throats but Mad Max: Fury Road was the best film of the year. It’s been winning everything all year. Also Mark Rylance? Really? I’ve barely heard about this guy than suddenly like a month ago…”Oh Rylance is the best!!!” What the heck? Are you that afraid to give Stallone the win? Everyone liked him more, everyone wants him to win. The guy’s role is pure human and he’s always been a real-life underdog. He deserves a win! But dead again it’s critics. “Carol”, “Spotlight”…I hate to get overly political here but both liberal films. A film that trashes religion and a homosexuality-affirmative film. Now before anyone loses their minds, I’m not a crazy Bible-thumper nor am I against homosexuality. By some people’s definitions I’m a paradox. I’m Catholic but new-age where I don’t judge. Live how you want to live. But that’s my ultimate point. They are using controversial crap from years ago that no one even cares about! I mean seriously those two films, the two big movies of the award season come out the new Catholic Pope says “Homosexuality is not a big deal. Let’s stop making a fuss about it.”. It was like when “The Kids are All Right” came out. That was a borefest! And for some reason, Mark Ruffalo was the villain of the story by the end of it, but the whole movie was a predictable, snoozefest that, I guess, was trying to say homosexual couples are no different than heterosexual. I mean…I think we got that message long before that but where is the story?! The entertainment!!! Film is not JUST real life, it’s about making you feel like you watched the Greek gods battle in front of you. You want to feel exhausted the first time you watch a film and then you want to watch it again because of all the stuff you missed! And then it sticks with you. You know how I know that “Spotlight” and “Carol” are boring? Because “The Kids Are All Right” was boring. Why? Because it’s preachy. There is no story. Just preaching some message. It’s the reason none of these movies sell. The Academy guilt trips the heck out of people with these movies. When Birdman won last year I was totally surprised! It was funny, entertaining, clever, interesting…not about a single hot topic the last couple years. Nothing about race, homosexuality (Although two female characters implied such briefly), or even about feminism. All these elements were in there, but they weren’t the main point. How I see it? Mad Max for Best Picture, Miller of course gets director. Best Actor is DiCaprio, Best Actress is Brie Larson, Best Supporting actor is Sylvester Stallone, and Best Supporting Actress is Jennifer Jason Leigh. All good performances, pedal-to-the-medal emotion and physical work, and the movies they were in were entertaining.

  6. NSFC? What the hell? We all know what critics are, ok? They’re paid to do a job. CRITIQUE. Case closed, over.

  7. Cecil B. Devine says:

    They sat on the story for 25 years, then dragged it out when 9/11 started rearing it´s ugly head. “Investigative Journalism” died with JFK.
    Cover-ups of cover-ups are all the rage at the Ministry of Disinformation. Call it the Hurt Locker Argo Dark and Dirty Syndrome. Guaranteed Best Picture. Capiche? The writing award would need to be split among a number of Departments. Too many people on stage!

  8. Jiminy Critic says:

    WTF!? Did they actually watch the film, Gordon? Spotlight was terrible! Poorly written (laughable dialog) and has terrible production values. Ray Donovan covered the same subject matter with much more finesse and dramatic appeal.

    • KWK says:

      I must say I have to agree w/ you Jiminy. I was seriously underwhelmed. This flick (despite all the critical chatter) in no way approximates that OTHER film about newspaper journalists pursuing a hot story…ALL THE PREZ’S MEN. It wasn’t even as interesting or as riveting as James Vanderbilt’s TRUTH. SPOTLIGHT has the dubious distinction of turning sensational subject matter (sex abuse in the Catholic Church) into a very dull and plodding affair, indeed.

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