You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Mulholland’ named NY crix top pick

Altman given helmer honor

NEW YORK — In voting held Thursday at Sardi’s Restaurant, the 39 members of the New York Film Critics Circle hailed David Lynch’s bracingly mysterious “Mulholland Drive” as the best picture of 2001 and tapped Robert Altman for its director nod for his work on “Gosford Park.”

Altman’s English-set murder mystery, released by USA Films, nabbed two additional awards — screenplay for Julian Fellowes and supporting actress for Helen Mirren. Another USA Films release, Hong Kong helmer Wong Kar-wai’s “In the Mood for Love,” won foreign language film kudos and the cinematography gong for Christopher Doyle and Pin Bing Lee.

“In the Bedroom,” Todd Field’s directing debut, nabbed actor and actress kudos for Tom Wilkinson and Sissy Spacek. The intimate drama, which premiered at Sundance last January and is in distribution via Miramax, also took the nod for first film.

In a tightly contested race, animated film nod went to Richard Linklater’s “Waking Life,” from Fox Searchlight. Technically experimental effort eked out a win a victory over DreamWorks box office smash “Shrek” by just two votes.

Steve Buscemi won supporting actor kudos for “Ghost World,” from United Artists and MGM, and French vet Agnes Varda’s “The Gleaners and I,” released by Zeitgeist Films, took nonfiction film.

A special award went to “Lola” and “Bay of Angels,” two 1960s classics directed by French New Wave helmer Jacques Demy. Both were restored by Demy’s widow Varda and released domestically by WinStar.

Although Lynch co-won the best director prize for “Mulholland Drive” at the Cannes Film Festival, pic’s victory here has to be seen as something of a surprise. It must also represent a further vindication for the director, as the work was originally created for ABC-TV as a pilot, only to be rejected and eventually resuscitated with French coin for further shooting and post-production for theatrical release, domestically by Universal Focus.

An elated Fellowes told Daily Variety: “Tony Hopkins rang me to congratulate me. He said, ‘This is the big one.’ This is enough, let this be enough! I am tremendously, tremendously thrilled. You always wonder whether they will get it, and obviously they did get it.”

Altman, who was credited for the original idea for “Gosford Park” along with Bob Balaban, added: “We didn’t expect anything there, so I was really surprised and thrilled. The film doesn’t even open until the day after Christmas.”

None of the other races were as close as that for animated film, but the runners-up provide further insight into how the critics were leaning. Among the runners-up were, for best picture, “Gosford Park” and “In the Bedroom”; director, Lynch and Field; screenplay, “Memento” and “The Royal Tenenbaums”; actor, Jim Broadbent for “Iris” and Denzel Washington for “Training Day”; actress, Naomi Watts for “Mulholland Drive”; and foreign language film, “No Man’s Land” and “Amores Perros.”

In a wide open Oscar year, everyone in the film biz is keeping an eye on the year-end prizes. While the New York Film Critics Circle provides a few clues, the winners are not exactly Oscar shoo-ins. Last year’s NYFCC winners included “Traffic,” director Steven Soderbergh, and thesps Tom Hanks (“Cast Away”) and Laura Linney (“You Can Count on Me”).

For the first time in recent memory, no film from a major studio won a NYFCC prize; however, several of the distribs are attached to major studios. USA Films nabbed five awards; Disney subsid Miramax took two; and United Artists, Fox Searchlight, Universal Focus and Zeitgeist clinched one each.

“I think that everyone is of the considered opinion that it was a dismal year overall, especially for films that came from Hollywood,” said John Anderson, chairman of the New York Film Critics Circle and chief film critic at Newsday. “The winning films were really all art division films. I think that sort of says it all.”

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Box Office Mojo new

    Box Office Mojo Site Transformed by IMDbPro

    BoxOfficeMojo.com has been transformed into an IMDbPro site, losing some of its free features. The Amazon-owned site, which had previously operated free of charge, was given a new look with its header reading “Box Office Mojo by IMDb Pro.” Information such as breakdowns by genre is now only available behind the IMDbPro paywall. The Box [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Hocus Pocus' Sequel in Development at Disney Plus

    Disney Plus has launched development of a sequel to 1993’s fantasy comedy “Hocus Pocus” with “Workaholics” writer and co-producer Jen D’Angelo on board to script. The original “Hocus Pocus” starred Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy as a trio of witch sisters who have been cursed since 1693 in Salem, Ma. The witches [...]

  • Lady Gaga

    Variety Wins 2019 Eppy Award for Best Digital Magazine

    Variety has won two Eppy Awards from Editor & Publisher, including Best Digital Magazine and Best Collaborative Investigative/Enterprise Feature for “American (In)Justice” — a collaboration with fellow PMC property Rolling Stone. “American (In)Justice” also tied with USA Today’s “Copy, Paste, Legislate” collaboration with The Arizona Republic and the Center for Public Integrity. Variety has provided [...]

  • Joker Maleficent: Mistress of Evil

    Box Office: Villains Face Off Again as 'Joker' and 'Maleficent' Battle for First Place

    Despite three new nationwide releases, domestic box office charts look to be dominated by holdovers — Warner Bros.’ “Joker” and Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” — during the last weekend in October. “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil” debuted last weekend with $36 million in North America, enough to dethrone “Joker” after the super-villain origin story’s back-to-back [...]

  • Yasushi Shiina

    Tokyo Market is Finding New Strengths, Says Yasushi Shiina

    Clouds on the global economic horizon and disruption to the scheduling of the event, have done little to dampen the interest of foreign visitors to TIFFCOM, Japan’s biggest film and TV market. Especially those from China, says market head, Yasushi Shiina. The market is again running at the Sunshine City shopping, entertainment and business complex [...]

  • "Weathering With You" directed by Makoto

    Toho Unveils Dual Media Romance 'Love Me, Love Me Not' at Tokyo Market

    Japan’s biggest film company, which produces, distributes and exhibits its own product in partnership with leading media companies, Toho has brought a line-up to TIFFCOM full of present and future hits. The biggest is “Weathering with You,” the love story animation by Makoto Shinkai that surpassed the $100 million mark only a month after its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content