The Artist took the Best Film prize at the Vancouver Film Critic Circle’s awards ceremony at the Railway Club tonight (January 9), but the lively and slightly drunken affair also produced its share of unexpected winners.
You could hear a few murmurs when it was announced that Elizabeth Olsen had taken the Best Actress award for her role in Martha Marcy May Marlene over Michelle Williams (My Week with Marilyn), and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady). And there was some chatter accompanying Terrence Malick’s Best Director honours for The Tree of Life (beating out Martin Scorsese for Hugo and Michel Hazanavicius for The Artist).
In contrast, Christopher Plummer’s Best Supporting Actor nod for Beginners brought a serious roar of approval, as did the the prize for Best British Columbia Film, which went to Joel Heath’s painstakingly wrought doc People of a Feather (although either of the category’s two other fine nominees, Sisters&Brothers and Daydream Nation, would have prompted a healthy cheer.)
As for the ceremony, it was great to see Terry David Mulligan MC-ing, and all of the presenters—drawn from the VFCC itself—did a fine job of soldiering through technical difficulties that robbed the assembled crowd of video clips to accompany the awards.
Instead, we got Georgia Straight critic Ken Eisner miming the Best Actor Award nominees (easy in the case of Jean Dujardin’s performance in the silent The Artist, not so breezy for Michael Fassbender’s horse-sized sex addict in Shame—Fassbender took the prize). And Patrick Maliha’s impression of Terry David Mulligan watching the Best Film nominees was something to behold, unless you were Terry David Mulligan.
We had video and a smidgeon of sound at least by the time Postmedia critic Katherine Monk stepped up to give Café de flore its Best Canadian Film prize, while Marv Newland gave a great speech (and a measured thanks to the critical community) as he accepted his Achievement Award for Contribution to the BC Film and Television Industry. And about time, too.
Equally, matters were brought to a fairly touching close when the 16 members of the VFCC took the stage to announce that the Achievement Award was being renamed in honour of co-founder Ian Caddell (to his surprise).
“Without Ian, we’re just a loose bunch of literate but very disorganized critics,” said Katherine Monk, before revealing that she was a student journalist at UBC when Caddell prompted her to interview then little-known director Gus Van Sant about his film Drugstore Cowboy. “I will always look to Ian Caddell for the reason that I am where I am right now,” she said.
Here’s the full list of winners:
Michael Fassbender, Shame
Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Christopher Plummer, Beginners
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life
Terrence Malick, The Tree of Life
Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM
BEST CANADIAN FILM
Café de flore
BEST ACTOR IN A CANADIAN FILM
Peter Stormare, Small Town Murder Songs
BEST ACTRESS IN A CANADIAN FILM
Michelle Williams, Take This Waltz
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A CANADIAN FILM
Viggo Mortensen, A Dangerous Method
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A CANADIAN FILM
Hélène Florent, Café de flore
BEST DIRECTOR OF A CANADIAN FILM
David Cronenberg, A Dangerous Method
BEST BRITISH COLUMBIA FILM
People of a Feather
ACHIEVEMENT AWARD FOR CONTRIBUTION TO THE FILM INDUSTRY IN BRITISH COLUMBIA