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"Social Network" Sweeps National Society of Film Critics' Awards (UPDATED)

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire January 8, 2011 at 10:14AM

David Fincher's exploration of the story behind Facebook, "The Social Network," has completed its essentially sweep of the 2010 critics awards, taking best picture honors with the National Society of Film Critics' 45th annual kudos. The film also won awards for best director (Fincher), best actor (Jesse Eisenberg) and best screenplay (Aaron Sorkin).
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David Fincher's exploration of the story behind Facebook, "The Social Network," has completed its essentially sweep of the 2010 critics awards, taking best picture honors with the National Society of Film Critics' 45th annual kudos. The film also won awards for best director (Fincher), best actor (Jesse Eisenberg) and best screenplay (Aaron Sorkin).

This is the second year in a row that the NSFC has agreed with both the New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association on their top prize. Last year, "The Hurt Locker" swept all three and then went on to win Best Picture at the Oscar. Before that, these groups had only agreed three times: with "L.A. Confidential" (1997), "Schindler's List" (1993) and "GoodFellas" (1990).

Other major winners included "Vincere"'s Giovanna Mezzogiorno, who won best actress, "The King's Speech"'s Geoffrey Rush, who took best supporting actor, and "The Ghost Writer"'s Olivia Williams, who was awarded best supporting actress. Olivier Assayas' "Carlos" took the foreign language film prize, while Charles Ferguson's "Inside Job" won best documentary.

The National Society of Film Critics is made up of 61 critics from across the United States. In addition to voting on their awards today, they issued statements calling for a re-examination of the MPAA rating system and another condemning Iran’s recent sentencing of Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof. Read the full statements on the next page of this article. They also dedicated the meeting to "the memory of our colleague Peter Brunette."

Full list of winners and runners-up are published below with vote counts. Check out a "Social Network"-dominant list of all the awards so far this year here.

BEST PICTURE
*1. The Social Network 61
2. Carlos 28
3. Winter’s Bone 18

BEST DIRECTOR
*1. David Fincher 66 – The Social Network
2. Olivier Assayas 36 – Carlos
3. Roman Polanski 29 – The Ghost Writer

BEST ACTOR
*1. Jesse Eisenberg 30 – The Social Network
2. Colin Firth 29 – The King’s Speech
2. Edgar Ramirez 29 – Carlos

BEST ACTRESS
*1. Giovanna Mezzogiorno 33 – Vincere
2. Annette Bening 28 – The Kids Are All Right
3. Lesley Manville 27 – Another Year

BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
*1. Geoffrey Rush 33 – The King’s Speech
2. Christian Bale 32 – The Fighter
3. Jeremy Renner 30 – The Town

BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
*1. Olivia Williams 37 – The Ghost Writer
2. Amy Adams 28 – The Fighter
3. Melissa Leo 23 – The Fighter
3. Jacki Weaver 23 – Animal Kingdom

BEST NONFICTION
*1. Inside Job 25 (Charles Ferguson)
2. Exit Through the Gift Shop 21 (Banksy)
3. Last Train Home 15 (Lixin Fan)

BEST SCREENPLAY
*1. Aaron Sorkin 73 – The Social Network
2. David Seidler 25 – The King’s Speech
3. Roman Polanski and Robert Harris 19 - The Ghost Writer

BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
*1. Carlos 31
2. A Prophet 22
3. White Material 16

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY
*1. True Grit 31 (Roger Deakins)
2. Black Swan 27 (Matthew Libatique)
3. Somewhere 18 (Harris Savides)

FILM HERITAGE AWARDS:
1. “The Film Foundation (20-year anniversary)
2. “Chaplin at Keystone” Flicker Alley
3. “Elia Kazan Collection” (Fox)
4. “Upstream,” rediscovered 1927 film dir. by John Ford. (National Film Preservation Foundation. )
5. “On the Bowery” (Milestone)
6. “Word Is Out” (Restored by the UCLA Film & Television Archive and distributed by Milestone)

-This article continues on the following page with statements by the NSFC calling for a re-examination of the MPAA rating system and another condemning Iran’s recent sentencing of Iranian directors Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof.-

STATEMENTS:

STATEMENT ON THE MPAA RATINGS SYSTEM
The members of the National Society of Film Critics applaud the recent decision by the Classification & Ratings Administration of the Motion Picture Association of America to change the rating of "Blue Valentine" from NC-17 to R. But several other recent decisions by CARA have been allowed to stand, and these call into question the integrity and legitimacy of that office as it is presently constituted.

"The King's Speech," the drama about King George VI's attempt to overcome his speech impediment, was rated R for "language," specifically, several moments where the King is instructed by his speech therapist to swear to relieve the pressure of his stammer.

"The Tillman Story," the documentary about the military cover-up of the death of Corporal Pat Tillman in Afghanistan, was similarly rated R for "language." In the case of that film the offending content is the agitated language of soldiers in combat fearing for their lives.

"A Film Unfinished," which contains footage taken by the Nazis inside the Warsaw Ghetto, was given an R for “disturbing images of Holocaust atrocities, including graphic nudity.”

In the case of the documentaries “The Tillman Story” and “A Film Unfinished,” this amounts to CARA assigning a rating to reality.

In an editorial on the MPAA's web site, Joan Graves, the head of CARA, claims, "These ratings are purely informational."

This is simply untrue.

An R rating restricts who can get in to see a film and thus its potential earnings. An NC-17 rating, such as was originally assigned to "Blue Valentine," will keep a film out of many theater chains and can deny its being advertised on most television networks and in many newspapers.

This can have an especially damaging effect on the earning potential of independently made films, such as those mentioned above, which do not have access to the large advertising budgets at the disposal of the major studios — studios, which, as CARA’s record indicates, have received much more lenient ratings for similar content.

Another damaging inconsistency is CARA’s record of judging sexual content more harshly than it does violence. We by no means advocate condemning violence in movies, and we do not believe we are doing so by pointing out that there is no equivalence between an R given to the most explicit horror images and the same rating given to a drama in which King George VI utters a four letter word. And certainly no equivalence to a historical document showing the emaciated bodies of dead Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Despite Ms. Graves' contention that CARA decisions are "purely informational," it's clear that the board has become an agency of de facto censorship. There is a difference between giving parents the information they need to make a decision as to which films they want their children to see, and a system whose decisions make it harder for adults — and their children — to see films clearly meant for them.

The National Society of Film Critics believes that CARA has for too long demonstrated these inconsistencies and has refused to explain itself. We would like to believe that the major studios who constitute the membership of the MPAA care enough about the availability of movies to recognize that the ratings system should be open and consistent, not arbitrary and unfair, and that films from independent distributors should be judged by the same criteria as their own releases. It has become a system that enforces the kind of moral policing that, when it was founded in 1968, it was intended to prevent.

STATEMENT ON JAILED IRANIAN DIRECTORS
On December 18, 2010, an Iranian court sentenced Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof to six years in prison and banned both from filmmaking for 20 years for “colluding in gatherings and making propaganda against the regime.”

The members of the National Society of Film Critics add their voices to those of the many other individuals and organizations who have protested this injustice. We strongly urge the Iranian government to release both artists, whose work can only further the advancement of such values as justice, compassion, tolerance, and human dignity. Jafar Panahi’s films in particular have won international awards, earned the accolades of critics all over the world, and delighted and inspired audiences everywhere they are shown.

Not only does the court’s decision impose an outrageous penalty on artists whose sole crime is telling the truth, but it deprives Iran and the world of future works by filmmakers of outstanding talent and vision.

We intend our protest to affirm the value of artistic expression and the power of cinema to transcend political differences and unite people in their common humanity. We hope that the Iranian government will recognize the wisdom of releasing Mr. Panahi and Mr. Rasoulof immediately in the name of these universal principles.

This article is related to: Critics' Groups