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Oklahoma film critics group names ‘The Artist’ best film of 2011

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It also earned two additional wins for Michel Hazanavicius in the categories of Best Director and Best Screenplay, Original.

Set in the early days of Hollywood’s motion picture industry, “The Artist” celebrates the wonders of film as it explores the hazards of celebrity in the structure of a charming love story. Like another of the group’s Top 10 films of the year, Martin Scorsese’s “Hugo,” it pays tribute to the creative force behind filmmaking while also focusing on the impact the business has on the creative process and product.

“This was a close year in our voting,” OFCC President Rod Lott said. “’Drive,’ a film that in many ways is the polar opposite of ‘The Artist,’ came in a close second for best film of 2011. We had to have a tie-breaker vote, our first, for two categories: Best Screenplay, Adaptation and Best Supporting Actress.” 

Rounding out the Oklahoma critics’ list of 10 best films of 2011 list are “Drive,” “The Descendants,” “Hugo,” “Shame,” “Moneyball,” “Midnight in Paris,” “Melancholia,” “The Tree of Life” and “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”

Best Actor honors went to George Clooney in “The Descendants.” His subtle portrayal of a man struggling with core issues of being a good father, husband and steward of a large area of pristine wilderness in Hawaii is funny and moving.

Best Actress honors went to Michelle Williams for her stunning portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in “My Week with Marilyn.”

Octavia Spencer earned the Best Supporting Actress for her role as a maid who finds a new kind of freedom in telling the truth about her life in “The Help,” while Albert Brooks, in a role far different from his usual comedic persona, won Best Supporting Actor for his role as a gangster in “Drive.”

“These performances surprised and impressed,” Lott said. ”While the Clooney, Spencer and Brooks films were major studio releases, Williams won for her big role in a small film. One of our goals is to call attention to those films without large distribution patterns or budgets.”

While 2011 was a year of intelligent and surprising films in all genres, it also was a year of some failures. OFCC members selected “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” as their Obviously Worst Film of the Year. Their nod to the sequel “The Hangover Part II” as the  Not-So-Obviously Worst Film of the Year suggests that, sometimes, once is enough.

“As professional moviegoers, we see many more unsuccessful films than successful ones,” Lott said. “The Not-So-Obviously Worst Film category contains films that may have great talent behind them, but somehow add up to less than the sum of their parts.”

A new category was added this year, Best Guilty Pleasure, which was won by the “Fright Night” remake.

OFCC members are Oklahoma-based movie critics who write for print, broadcast and online outlets that publish or post reviews of current film releases. Among the media outlets represented are Oklahoma Gazette, The Oklahoman, Tulsa World, Edmond Life & Leisure, This Land Press and Urban Tulsa. Also represented are television station KOKH FOX 25;  radio station KJYO/Clear Channel; and the websites 411mania.com, ionOKmag.com, crosswalk.com, u-out.net and shadowcabaret.com.

Film buffs can find the complete list of awards on the OFCC website, ofccircle.org, as well as frequent postings on film-related items and links to individual reviews.

Not all the films named as award winners opened in Oklahoma before voting took place; studios arranged press screenings and provided DVDs of many of their films so OFCC members could assess and consider them for year-end awards.

“We honor achievements in motion pictures each year both to celebrate film and to continue to draw attention to Oklahoma as a place with a sophisticated audience of people who appreciate movies that challenge and entertain,” Lott said.

OFCC promotes film in Oklahoma and strives to increase the visibility of the state’s film-viewing and filmmaking communities.

Complete List of OFCC 2011 Film Awards

Top 10 Films
1. “The Artist”
2. “Drive”  
3. “The Descendants”
4. “Hugo”
5. “Shame”
6. “Moneyball”
7. “Midnight in Paris”
8. “Melancholia”
9. “Tree of Life”
10.“The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”

Best Film
“The Artist”

Best Director
Michel Hazanavicius, “The Artist”

Best First Feature
Sean Durkin, “Martha Marcy May Marlene”

Best Actress
Michelle Williams, “My Week with Marilyn”

Best Actor
George Clooney, “The Descendants”

Best Supporting Actress
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

Best Supporting Actor
Albert Brooks, “Drive”

Best Screenplay, Adaptation
“Moneyball,” Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin

Best Screenplay, Original
“The Artist,” Michel Hazanavicius

Best Documentary Film
“Page One: Inside The New York Times”

Best Foreign Language Film
“The Skin I Live In”

Best Animated Film
“The Adventures of Tintin”

Obviously Worst Film
“Transformers: Dark of the Moon”

Not-So-Obviously-Worst Film
“The Hangover Part II”

Best Guilty Pleasure
“Fright Night”

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