SEFCA names “Argo” as the best movie of the year. Here’s the information received from the Southeastern Film Critics Association (I’m a voting member).
“The Southeastern Film Critics’ Association has voted Ben Affleck’s period thriller Argo the best motion picture of 2012. The organization, whose 47 members represent electronic and print media outlets in nine Southern states, also named Affleck best director in its annual poll.
“Argo was far and a way the most-mentioned film on our critics’ ballots,” SEFCA president Philip Martin said. “While there were other films that had more first place votes, Argo was consistently well-regarded by our membership and it ended up winning the poll by a comfortable margin.”
In a much closer race, actor-director Affleck was named “Best Director” over Kathryn Bigelow, whose Zero Dark Thirty edged out Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln for the second spot in the critics’ poll.
“It’s interesting that the top three films are all dramas based on historical events,” Martin said. Argo is a dramatization of the joint CIA-Canadian covert operation that extracted six fugitive American diplomatic personnel out of revolutionary Iran in 1980; Zero Dark Thirty is about the decade-long hunt for Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 terrorist attacks and Lincoln is about the 16th president’s efforts to pass theThirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution that would formally abolish slavery in the country.
Daniel Day-Lewis became the first three-time winner of the group’s “Best Actor” award for his performance as the title character in Lincoln (Day-Lewis previously won the award for his work in There Will Be Blood in 2007 and in Gangs of New York in 2002) while Jennifer Lawrence was named “Best Actress” for her turn in the dark comedy Silver Linings Playbook.
Ben Zeitlin’s Bests of the Southern Wild was the overwhelming choice for the group’s Gene Wyatt award, given for the film that “best evokes the spirit of the South,” with Richard Linklater’s Bernie — yet another dramatization of a true story — finishing second.
“Overall it was an amazing year for Southern film,” Martin said. “I can’t remember a year when we had so many excellent candidates for the Wyatt Award. Our members nominated 13 different movies for the award — and one actor: Matt McConaughey, for appearing in the Southern-set films Killer Joe, The Paperboy, Bernie and Magic Mike in 2012.'”