As we navigate our way through the final throes of award season, today we turned to prizes of a different kind for films that not many have yet had the chance to see, but soon will.
This afternoon, we published our traditional end-of-fest critics survey, this time focusing on the recently finished Berlin International Film Festival. While the stamp of approval from the members of the Criticwire network isn't exactly akin to the Golden Bear, this poll offers an opportunity to show audiences the quality films that are on the horizon. (As an added bonus, they're all free from speculation on casting or development news.) It may take a while for them to become available to the viewers that aren't the privileged few who get to make the festival trek, but at least there's the promise of something potentially great in store.
Among the big winners at Berlinale 2013 were "Gloria" and its star Paulina García, as well as a couple of Sundance returners that made waves just a few weeks ago: "Upstream Color" and "Before Midnight." The Berlin program was spread out this year, so it's a tad more difficult to nail down a definitive consensus. But between those films, Juliette Binoche's role in "Camille Claudel 1915," and the continued, overwhelming enthusiasm for Jonathan Oppenheimer's documentary "The Act of Killing," we may just hear from these films in the coming months and/or years.
Even though some of these film/performance categories may seem straightforward, some savvy respondents come up with some ballot entries that add a little spice to the process. This year, Jafar Panahi's "This is Not a Film" follow-up, "Closed Curtain" received a solid number of votes in the Best Supporting Performance category. In fact, not one, not two, but three critics saw fit to single out this particular on-screen turn. The performer? The main character's pet dog.
Creative picks like that are Reason #347 why I love these polls. You can see the full results (and all the critics' individual ballots) here.