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‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ Wins Big With National Society of Film Critics

Oscar Isaac, Cate Blanchett take lead acting prizes

Inside Llewyn Davis,” Joel and Ethan Coen’s darkly comic odyssey set against the 1960s New York folk-music scene, swept the National Society of Film Critics’ top prizes on Saturday, winning awards for picture, director, actor Oscar Isaac and cinematography.

In keeping with its reputation for independent-minded choices (its previous picture winners include “Melancholia,” “Waltz With Bashir” and “Yi yi”), the Society bestowed top honors on a film that has gone largely unrecognized by critics’ groups this season, with the exception of the Toronto Film Critics Assn., which also feted “Inside Llewyn Davis” for picture and actor. Earlier in the season, the New York Film Critics Circle crowned “American Hustle” best picture, while the Los Angeles Film Critics’ Assn. split the honors between “Gravity” and “Her.”

In the other acting categories, Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) and Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle”) achieved decisive first-ballot victories for actress and supporting actress, respectively. With her latest win, Blanchett completed a sweep of the top three critics’ groups, having previously triumphed with NYFCC and LAFCA (where she tied with Adele Exarchopoulos for “Blue Is the Warmest Color”).

James Franco drew the supporting actor prize for his out-there turn as a metal-mouthed drug dealer named Alien in “Spring Breakers,” scoring a come-from-behind second-ballot victory over the heavily favored Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”).

Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke received the screenplay prize for “Before Midnight.” Abdellatif Kechiche’s “Blue Is the Warmest Color” took the prize for top foreign-language film, while in the nonfiction film race, a tie was declared between Joshua Oppenheimer’s “The Act of Killing” and Frederick Wiseman’s “At Berkeley,” upsetting early favorite “Stories We Tell.”

Tsai Ming-liang’s “Stray Dogs” and Daniel Patrick Carbone’s “Hide Your Smiling Faces” received the group’s award for best film still awaiting distribution.

Film Heritage awards were voted to Orson Welles’ first professional film, “Too Much Johnson,” the surviving reels of which were presented at the 2013 Pordenone Silent Film Festival; the DVD “American Treasures From the New Zealand Film Archive,” preserved by the National Film Preservation Foundation; the Museum of Modern Art retrospective “Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios”; and the British Film Institute’s “Hitchcock 9” restorations.

The National Society of Film Critics, which consists of 56 critics nationwide, dedicated its 48th annual voting meeting to longtime members Roger Ebert and Stanley Kauffmann, who both died in 2013.

The full list of winners:

Picture: “Inside Llewyn Davis” (23)
Runners-up: “American Hustle” (17); “12 Years a Slave” (16); “Her” (16)

Director: Joel and Ethan Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis” (25)
Runners-up: Alfonso Cuaron, “Gravity” (18); Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave” (15)

Actor: Oscar Isaac, “Inside Llewyn Davis” (28)
Runners-up: Chiwetel Ejiofor, “12 Years a Slave” (19); Robert Redford, “All Is Lost” (12)

Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine” (57)
Runners-up: Adele Exarchopoulos, “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (36); Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight” (26)

Supporting actor: James Franco, “Spring Breakers” (24)
Runners-up: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club” (20); Barkhad Abdi, “Captain Phillips” (14)

Supporting actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle” (54)
Runners-up: Lupita Nyong’o, “12 Years a Slave” (38); Sally Hawkins, “Blue Jasmine” (18); Lea Seydoux, “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (18)

Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, “Before Midnight” (29)
Runners-up:
Joel and Ethan Coen, “Inside Llewyn Davis” (26); Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell, “American Hustle” (18)

Foreign-language film: “Blue Is the Warmest Color” (27)
Runners-up: “A Touch of Sin” (21); “The Great Beauty” (15)

Nonfiction: “The Act of Killing” and “At Berkeley” (tie, 20)
Runner-up: “Leviathan” (18)

Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, “Inside Llewyn Davis” (28)
Runners-up: Emmanuel Lubezki, “Gravity” (26); Phedon Papamichael, “Nebraska” (17)

Film Still Awaiting U.S. Distribution: “Stray Dogs” and “Hide Your Smiling Faces”

Film Heritage:
“Too Much Johnson”
“American Treasures From the New Zealand Film Archive”
“Allan Dwan and the Rise and Decline of the Hollywood Studios”
“The Hitchcock 9”

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