Critics’ Choice Movie Awards Nominations Revealed For 2011

It’s that time of year again, and after cramming all week to get my nominations in, the 16th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards nominations have been revealed. The awards will be on VH1 again, Friday, January 14th at 9:00 PM ET/PT. This is VH1’s fourth year hosting the awards, and the first year that the show will be broadcast internationally.

It was a strange year in movies, though I suppose they all are, because while there were some great films, the nomination process was much easier for me. Last year found me struggling to whittle down choices in almost every category (with the notable exception of Christoph Waltz for Supporting Actor), but this year I wasn’t spoiled for choice. That  makes it somewhat less surprising that the nomination record would be broken by Black Swan with 12. Adding to the overall unprecedented nature of the nominations this year, True Grit, and festival darling The King’s Speech both managed 11 nominations. Inception received 10, and The Social Network found itself with 9. When 12 is the record, having other films following so close makes for a strange awards year.

 

Below we’ll run through the nominations, and I’ll let you know what I think about them. Be sure to chime in yourself, and don’t miss the show.

Nicole Kidman received her record seventh acting nomination for Best Actress in “Rabbit Hole.” She won the first Critics’ Choice Award as Best Actress 15 years ago for “To Die For.” Later Kidman was nominated for Best Actress in “Cold Mountain,” “The Hours” and “Moulin Rouge,” in addition to being part of the nominated Acting Ensembles in “Nine” and “The Hours.”

Amy Adams will be seeking her second Critics’ Choice Award as a Best Supporting Actress nominee in “The Fighter.” Adams previously won the category for “Junebug” and has received three other nods from the BFCA, including one for Best Actress in “Enchanted.”

Twenty-year-old Jennifer Lawrence earned nods in both the Best Actress and Best Young Actor/Actress categories, among the four nominations for “Winter’s Bone,” while fourteen-year-old Hailee Steinfeld earned nods as both Best Supporting Actress and Best Young Actor/Actress for “True Grit,” contributing to its 11 nominations. Thirteen-year-old Chloe Grace Moretz was nominated in the Best Young Actor/Actress category twice for “Let Me In” and “Kick-Ass.”

Brothers Joel and Ethan Coen continue to be Critics’ Choice favorites, nominated jointly for Best Director and Best Adapted Screenplay for “True Grit.” Previously they had shared Best Director honors for “No Country For Old Men,” and were nominated as writers of “The Man Who Wasn’t There,” “A Serious Man” and “No Country For Old Men.” “No Country For Old Men” and “Fargo” also won Critics’ Choice Awards as Best Picture.

The 250 members of the BFCA, the largest film critics’ organization in the United States and Canada, representing television, radio and online critics, selected nominees in each of 25 categories. The awards are bestowed annually to honor the finest in cinematic achievement. Eligible films were released in 2010. The accounting firm of Gregory A. Mogab tallied the written ballots.

Historically, the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards are the most accurate predictor of the Academy Award nominations. All four major acting category winners at the Academy Awards in 2010 were first Critics’ Choice Movie Awards winners in the same categories and were present at the January 15, 2010 ceremony to graciously give their first acceptance speeches of the awards season. The BFCA also recognized “The Hurt Locker” for Best Picture and Kathryn Bigelow as Best Director, making her the first female to win the award. “The Hurt Locker” and Bigelow also went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Director, but were both overlooked at the Golden Globes.

Today, VH1 also announces the launch of its Critics’ Choice Movie Awards site at CriticsChoice.VH1.com. The site offers movie fans detailed information about the show and this year’s nominees, VH1.com’s Award Season Twitter Tracker, where users can see the awards show buzz that’s happening on Twitter in real time, and Quick Critic, an opportunity to share short film reviews for a prize that includes a trip for two to next year’s Critics’ Choice Movie Awards. Additionally, interviews with many of the acting nominees can be found on the BFCA‘s site CriticsChoice.com.

The 16th annual Critics’ Choice Movie Awards is executive produced by Jesse Ignjatovic for Den of Thieves, Joey Berlin for Berlin Entertainment and Lee Rolontz for VH1.

NOMINATIONS FOR THE 16th ANNUAL CRITICS’ CHOICE MOVIE AWARDS

BEST PICTURE

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • The Fighter
  • Inception
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • The Town
  • Toy Story 3
  • True Grit
  • Winter’s Bone

Only in the second year of this new, 10 nominee idea, I’m still not sure that it amounts too much. I suppose it’s fine enough that five more films get to declare their nominee status on the DVD release, but at least half of these have no chance at all of winning. This is Black Swan‘s race to lose.

BEST ACTOR

  • Jeff Bridges – “True Grit”
  • Robert Duvall – “Get Low”
  • Jesse Eisenberg – “The Social Network”
  • Colin Firth – “The King’s Speech”
  • James Franco – “127 Hours”
  • Ryan Gosling – “Blue Valentine”

Colin Firth is ahead in the chatter at the moment, with a lot of people talking about his win since the film first made its way to festivals. Franco also has some people talking, and a case could be made that Ryan Gosling had the best performance as well. I don’t think the other three have a real shot, although The Social Network has managed a lot of fans, and some people may want to find a way to vote for it. Firth still seems almost a lock at this point.

BEST ACTRESS

  • Annette Bening – “The Kids Are All Right”
  • Nicole Kidman – “Rabbit Hole”
  • Jennifer Lawrence – “Winter’s Bone”
  • Natalie Portman – “Black Swan”
  • Noomi Rapace – “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
  • Michelle Williams – “Blue Valentine”

Annette Bening has been getting a lot of attention for her role, but I’m not sure I saw what all that much fuss was about. She was certainly good, but I don’t think her performance stood out to me, especially considering the competition. Lawrence, Portman, and Williams were all (imho) better, and in more difficult roles. Kidman was good as well, and people like to vote for her, but I don’t think she deserves to stand above the rest of these nominees. It’s tough to call this one though, as the vote could get split pretty thin.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR

  • Christian Bale – “The Fighter”
  • Andrew Garfield – “The Social Network”
  • Jeremy Renner – “The Town”
  • Sam Rockwell – “Conviction”
  • Mark Ruffalo – “The Kids Are All Right”
  • Geoffrey Rush – “The King’s Speech”

This one is going to be tough insofar as predicting a winner. I think right now this is a toss-up between Bale and Rush. Both performances are excellent, though I think Bale wins out, but there has been a lot of talk for both of them. Rush has the advantage of a longer span of momentum, and I think people are going to want to vote for him. There are some very solid efforts among the rest of the nominees, but I don’t think anyone else is in serious contention.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS

  • Amy Adams – “The Fighter”
  • Helena Bonham Carter – “The King’s Speech”
  • Mila Kunis – “Black Swan”
  • Melissa Leo – “The Fighter”
  • Hailee Steinfeld – “True Grit”
  • Jacki Weaver – “Animal Kingdom”

Given the way that voting goes in these things, I think the likelihood is that Helena Bonham Carter is going to pick this one up. This is a tough category, because I think I could make the case for any of them, with the exception of Adams, who I don’t think technically “supports” to a degree I would like, though she’s quite good. I think I rather want Weaver to win, and I was very impressed with Steinfeld, but it is going to be hard to get past The King’s Speech here.

BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS

  • Elle Fanning – “Somewhere”
  • Jennifer Lawrence – “Winter’s Bone”
  • Chloe Grace Moretz – “Let Me In”
  • Chloe Grace Moretz – “Kick-Ass”
  • Kodi Smit-McPhee – “Let Me In”
  • Hailee Steinfeld – “True Grit”

For my money, Elle Fanning isn’t really in Somewhere enough for me to give her serious consideration. Other than that, this might go any which way. It’s hard to figure what will happen with the votes for Moretz, being that she’s there twice, and Steinfeld was very impressive, as I’ve already said. Lawrence was quite good, but I don’t know that she can get the votes. Steinfeld may win out.

BEST ACTING ENSEMBLE

  • The Fighter
  • The Kids Are All Right
  • The King’s Speech
  • The Social Network
  • The Town

Probably hard to get past The King’s Speech again, but I like The Fighter, if I have to pick (and I do). I’ve rarely been able to wrap my head around this category.

BEST DIRECTOR

  • Darren Aronofsky – “Black Swan”
  • Danny Boyle – “127 Hours”
  • Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – “True Grit”
  • David Fincher – “The Social Network”
  • Tom Hooper – “The King’s Speech”
  • Christopher Nolan – “Inception”

This is another tricky category. Considering the way voting often happens, this is tough to predict, especially considering the fact that I’m not at all sure that everyone who votes (for any awards) has the most solid understanding of what makes one film better directed than another, and the vote is often just another shot at Best Picture.

Beyond that, you have a slew of people that people like to give directing votes to, so taking a guess here is practically impossible. Boyle, Nolan, and the Coen brothers, are all candidates that people want to vote for, and often do, and who knows how that will play into things. Fincher has obviously been the focus of a lot of talk, and Tom Hooper has been on everyone’s lips for much of the year. I think people are going to want to vote for Nolan, based on the colossal undertaking of the film, and because they want to vote Inception at some point, even if I don’t think they can bring themselves to do it for Best Picture.

I think if we’re looking strictly at what is actually the best directing effort, it should go to Aronofsky, but there are strong cases to be made for all these films. This one is tough.

BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY

  • “Another Year” – Mike Leigh
  • “Black Swan” – Mark Heyman and Andres Heinz and John McLaughlin
  • “The Fighter” – Scott Silver and Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson (Story by Keith Dorrington & Paul Tamasy & Eric Johnson)
  • “Inception” – Christopher Nolan
  • “The Kids Are All Right” – Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg
  • “The King’s Speech” – David Seidler

This one is a little tricky as well, and we may find that people just get into the habit of voting for Black Swan and/or The King’s Speech (not that they shouldn’t), but we may also see people wanting to vote for Mike Leigh, because they like to vote for him, and it’s a strong screenplay.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY

  • “127 Hours” – Simon Beaufoy and Danny Boyle
  • “The Social Network” – Aaron Sorkin
  • “The Town” – Ben Affleck, Peter Craig and Sheldon Turner
  • “Toy Story 3” – Michael Arndt (Story by John Lasseter, Andrew Stanton and Lee Unkrich)
  • “True Grit” – Joel Coen & Ethan Coen
  • “Winter’s Bone” – Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini

This may be the spot where people finally get behind 127 Hours and The Social Network, though I think Winter’s Bone ought to take it. It’s a tough call to some extent, as the screenplay categories often are, but I think we can at least narrow it down to those three as the ones with real chances.

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY

  • “127 Hours” – Anthony Dod Mantle
  • “Black Swan” – Matthew Libatique
  • “Inception” – Wally Pfister
  • “The King’s Speech” – Danny Cohen
  • “True Grit” – Roger Deakins

Again, here’s a category that makes it difficult to know how people are going vote. I think Libatique really deserves it though.

I probably don’t need to run down the rest of the categories. I will tell you that How to Train Your Dragon won out for me this year, even though I’m quite certain it can’t win. Toy Story 3 just didn’t work as well for me. I’d also love to see Alice in Wonderland pick up a win or two from its nominations below, and since it’s possible for Kick-Ass to win an award, I have to hope that it does. Other than that, I’m sure you can do without my comments on Best Editing.

BEST ART DIRECTION

  • “Alice in Wonderland” – Stefan Dechant
  • “Black Swan” – Therese DePrez and Tora Peterson
  • “Inception” – Guy Hendrix Dyas
  • “The King’s Speech” – Netty Chapman
  • “True Grit” – Jess Gonchor and Nancy Haigh

BEST EDITING

  • “127 Hours” – Jon Harris
  • “Black Swan” – Andrew Weisblum
  • “Inception” – Lee Smith
  • “The Social Network” – Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter

BEST COSTUME DESIGN

  • “Alice in Wonderland” – Colleen Atwood
  • “Black Swan” – Amy Westcott
  • “The King’s Speech” – Jenny Beavan
  • “True Grit” – Mary Zophres

BEST MAKEUP

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Black Swan
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
  • True Grit

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS

  • Alice in Wonderland
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1
  • Inception
  • Tron: Legacy

BEST SOUND

  • 127 Hours
  • Black Swan
  • Inception
  • The Social Network
  • Toy Story 3

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE

  • Despicable Me
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Illusionist
  • Tangled
  • Toy Story 3

BEST ACTION MOVIE

  • Inception
  • Kick-Ass
  • Red
  • The Town
  • Unstoppable

BEST COMEDY

  • Cyrus
  • Date Night
  • Easy A
  • Get Him to the Greek
  • I Love You Phillip Morris
  • The Other Guys

BEST PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION

  • The Pacific
  • Temple Grandin
  • You Don’t Know Jack

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

  • Biutiful
  • I Am Love
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

  • Exit Through the Gift Shop
  • Inside Job
  • Restrepo
  • Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work
  • The Tillman Story
  • Waiting for Superman

BEST SONG

  • “I See the Light” – performed by Mandy Moore & Zachary Levi/written by Alan Menken & Glenn Slater – Tangled
  • “If I Rise” – performed by Dido and A.R. Rahman/music by A.R. Rahman/lyrics by Dido Armstrong and Rollo Armstrong – 127 Hours
  • “Shine” – performed and written by John Legend – Waiting for Superman
  • “We Belong Together” – performed and written by Randy Newman – Toy Story 3
  • “You Haven’t Seen the Last of Me Yet” – performed by Cher/written by Diane Warren – Burlesque

BEST SCORE

  • “Black Swan” – Clint Mansell
  • “Inception” – Hans Zimmer
  • “The King’s Speech” – Alexandre Desplat
  • “The Social Network” – Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross
  • “True Grit” – Carter Burwell

RU?

Marc Eastman
Marc Eastman is the owner and operator of Are You Screening? and has been writing film reviews for over a decade, and several branches of the internet's film review world have seen his name. He is also a member of The Broadcast Film Critics Association and The Broadcast Television Journalists Association.

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