Southern Critics choose Spotlight

December 14, 2015









Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s journalism procedural that explores the Boston Globe’s 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the systematic coverup of widespread child molestation within the Catholic Church, has been named the best movie of the year by the Southeastern Film Critics Association.

McCarthy and Josh Singer also won the group’s Original Screenplay category and took top honors in the Best Ensemble acting category, while McCarthy finished behind Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller in the Best Director race.

Spotlight was a clear favorite with our members,” SEFCA President Philip Martin, the chief film critic at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, said. “It was an exceptionally deep year, with 99 movies — as opposed to about 80 most years — receiving at least one vote in the poll. But Spotlight appeared on 80 percent of the ballots and received 19 No. 1 votes, by far the most of any film. Rarely have we had that sort of consensus about the top film.”

Bryan Cranston won the group’s Best Actor award for his work in Trumbo, while Brie Larson was named Best Actress for her performance in Room. Sylvester Stallone picked up a Best Supporting Actor nod for Creed, while Alicia Vikander was voted Best Supporting Actress for Ex Machina.

“It’s interesting to note that five actors — Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber — received votes in the Best Supporting Actor category for their work in Spotlight,” Martin said. “Keaton also received a vote in the Best Actor category.

The group’s Wyatt Award, named in memory of SEFCA charter member Gene Wyatt and awarded annually to the film that best captures the spirit of the South, went to the documentary Finder’s Keeper’s, Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel’s bizarre story about a dispute over a North Carolina man’s amputated foot.

The SEFCA Awards are bestowed annually by the Southeastern Film Critics Association, which is made up of professional film critics in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. This year, 55 critics cast votes.

Top 10

1. Spotlight

2. Mad Max: Fury Road

3. Room

4. Brooklyn

5. Carol

6. The Big Short

7. The Martian

8. Inside Out

9. Bridge of Spies

10. Trumbo

Best Actor

Winner: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo

Runner-up: Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs

Best Actress

Winner: Brie Larson, Room

Runner-up: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Sylvester Stallone, Creed

Runner-up: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina

Runner-up: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs

Best Ensemble

Winner: Spotlight

Runner-up: The Big Short

Best Director

George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road

Runner-up: Tom McCarthy, Spotlight

Best Original Screenplay

Winner: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer for Spotlight

Runner-up: Pete Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley for Inside Out

Best Adapted Screenplay

Winner: Emma Donoghue for Room

Runner-up: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for The Big Short

Best Documentary

Winner: Amy

Runner-up: Best of Enemies

Foreign Language

Winner: Son of Saul

Runner-up: The Assassin

Best Animated Film

Winner: Inside Out

Runner-up: Anomalisa

Best Cinematography

Winner: John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road

Runner-up: Luca Bigazzi for Youth

The Gene Wyatt Award for the Film that Best Evokes the Spirit of the South

Finder’s Keeper’s

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