Bong Joon Ho’s ‘Parasite’ wins with National Society of Film Critics

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It ended up being a face-off between two very different stories about family: a dark comedy about a clan of crooks in Seoul and a moving tale of four sisters in Civil War-era Massachusetts.

On Saturday, the National Society of Film Critics chose Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” as the best film at its 54th annual awards ceremony, but awarded the best director award to Greta Gerwig for “Little Women,” the coming-of-age tale based on Louisa May Alcott’s beloved 19th century novel.

Bong, along with collaborator Han Jin Won, also received the best screenplay award for “Parasite.”

Claire Mathon won the cinematography prize for her work on two recent films: “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”, the story of a forbidden romance by Céline Sciamma, and the moving first feature film by Mati Diop, “Atlantics”, a story of immigration and separation.

In the acting categories, Mary Kay Place won Best Actress for her quiet role as a mother whose son struggles with drug addiction in Kent Jones’ drama “Diane.” (“You may not encounter a more painful human character in a movie this year,” Times film critic Justin Chang wrote in his review of the film in March.)

The supporting actress award went to Laura Dern for her turns as a flashy divorce lawyer in Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and nurturing Marmee in “Little Women.”

Saoirse Ronan, top left, and Laura Dern, with Florence Pugh, seated, Eliza Scanlen and Emma Watson in ‘Little Women.’

(Wilson Webb/Columbia Pictures)

Antonio Banderas won Best Actor for his role as the aging director in ‘Pain and Glory,’ a role that saw him team up again with director Pedro Almodovar (and previously earned him a nod for Best Actor at Cannes). The supporting actor award went to Brad Pitt for his role as the charmingly villainous stuntman in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon A Time…in Hollywood.”

Last year’s best picture honors went to “The Rider,” a drama directed by Chloe Zhao that tells the story of a Lakota cowboy whose dream of becoming a professional rodeo rider falls apart. after sustaining an injury. Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” won Best Director, Best Cinematography and Best Foreign Language Film – the same categories in which it would later receive Oscars.

The National Society of Film Critics has 60 members across the country. The awards are decided via a weighted voting system, and any film that opened in the United States in 2019 was eligible.

The list of winners:

Best Picture: “Parasite”

Director: Greta Gerwig, “Little Women”

Script: Bong Joon Ho and Han Jin Won, “Parasite”

Cinematography: Claire Mathon, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” and “Atlantic”

Actress: Mary Kay Square, “Diana”

Actor: Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”

Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, “Marriage Story” and “Little Women”

Supporting actor: Brad Pitt, “Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood”

Non-fiction film: “Country of Honey”

Film Heritage Awards: The company honored “Private Lives Public Spaces,” an exhibition of vernacular cinema curated by Ron Magliozzi at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, as well as film distributor Rialto Pictures for distributing restorations of classics such as “Kind Hearts and Crowns” and neglected works by important directors, such as “The White Sheik” by Federico Fellini.

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