By Ray Pride

Austin Film Critics Association 2011 Awards

December 28, 2011 (Austin, TX) – The Austin Film Critics Association today announced its 2011 awards, with Martin Scorsese’s ode to classic cinema, HUGO, winning Best Film. It lead a group of awards that AFCA Founder and President Cole Dabney called “a unique blend highlighting the best of both Hollywood and indie filmmaking.”

The hyper-stylized crime thriller DRIVE took home three awards, including Best Director for Nicolas Winding Refn, Best Adapted Screenplay for writer Hossein Amini, and Best Supporting Actor for Albert Brooks. It was also named the second best film of the year in the AFCA’s overall Top 10 List.

Michael Shannon was named Best Actor, while Jessica Chastain received Best Supporting Actress for their performances in TAKE SHELTER. Austinite Jeff Nichols was also awarded Best Austin Film for his direction and conception of the film, hailed at film festivals this year from Sundance to Cannes to Toronto.

Tilda Swinton was named Best Actress for her portrayal as a mother struggling with her first-born child’s madness and murder in WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, while Woody Allen was awarded Best Original Screenplay for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and Emmanuel Lubezki won his 2nd AFCA Award for Best Cinematography, this time for the Austin-made THE TREE OF LIFE.

The British film ATTACK THE BLOCK, which premiered at Austin’s own South by Southwest Film Festival, was awarded two prizes. Joe Cornish, who wrote and directed the alien invasion sci-fi/comedy, won Best First Film while composer Steven Price received Best Original Score.

Jee-woon Kim’s South Korean revenge thriller I SAW THE DEVIL (Akmareul boatda) won Best Foreign Language Film, while the Formula One Racing biography SENNA took home Best Documentary. RANGO, which features the voice-work of Johnny Depp and was directed by Gore Verbinski in his non-live action debut, was named Best Animated Film.

For her incredibly diverse and complex work in 2011, the AFCA also awarded Jessica Chastain its Robert R. “Bobby” McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award. Ms. Chastain appeared in six films in 2011, including TAKE SHELTER, THE TREE OF LIFE, THE HELP, THE DEBT, CORIOLANUS and TEXAS KILLING FIELDS. The award is now named after Bobby McCurdy, a much-loved member of the AFCA who co-founded the organization with Dabney. He passed away suddenly during last year’s voting process; McCurdy’s enthusiasm for film made the Breakthrough Artist Award his favorite award to discuss and forecast as part of the AFCA voting process.

All details can be found at the AFCA website; the AFCA is a group dedicated to supporting the best in film, whether at the international, national, or local level, whose members contribute to publications and outlets as diverse as Ain’t It Cool News, the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Chronicle, CNN, Fandango,, Film School Rejects, Fox News,, INsite Magazine, MSN Movies,, Slackerwood, and Twitch, among others.

Best Film:

Best Director:
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

Best Actor:
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Best Actress:
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Supporting Actor:
Albert Brooks, Drive

Best Supporting Actress:
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter

Best Original Screenplay:
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Drive, Hossein Amini

Best Cinematography:
The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Original Score:
Attack the Block, Steven Price

Best Foreign Language Film:
I Saw the Devil, South Korea [dir: Jee-woon Kim]

Best Documentary:
Senna [dir: Asif Kapadia]

Best Animated Feature:
Rango [dir: Gore Verbinski]

Robert R. “Bobby” McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award:
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter/The Tree of Life/The Help/The Debt/Coriolanus/Texas Killing Fields

Best First Film:
Attack the Block [dir: Joe Cornish]

Austin Film Award:
Take Shelter [dir: Jeff Nichols]

Top 10 Films:
1. Hugo
2. Drive
3. Take Shelter
4. Midnight in Paris
5. Attack the Block
6. The Artist
7. Martha Marcy May Marlene
8. I Saw the Devil
9. 13 Assassins
10. Melancholia

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2 Responses to “Austin Film Critics Association 2011 Awards”

  1. Carlos says:

    Felicitaciones por las grandes películas que se estan realizando y a los Directores que siempre buscan lo mejor para el espectaador. Felíz Año Nuevo.

  2. Carlos says:

    Felicitaciones por las grandes películas que se estan realizando y a los Directores que siempre buscan lo mejor para el espectador. Felíz Año Nuevo.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon