On December 3, the New York Film Critics Circle named “Drive My Car”, Ryusuke Hamaguchi’s intimate three-hour epic and Haruki Murakami’s short story adaptation, the best film of the year.
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Hamaguchi’s film, about a widowed actor played by Hidetoshi Nishijima, has received widespread acclaim since its debut earlier in the year at the Cannes Film Festival, where it won the award for best screenplay.
“Drive My Car,” which recently opened in limited theaters, is Japan’s Oscar submission. This is only the second time in the past four decades that critics’ highest accolade has gone to a non-English speaking film. (The other was Alfonso Cuaron’s “Roma” three years ago.)
Jane Campion’s gothic Montana drama “The Power of the Dog” topped all films with three awards. Campion took home the award for best director, Benedict Cumberbatch took home the award for best actor, and best supporting actor went to Kodi Smit-McPhee.
New York critics, as is generally the case, also spread his accolades. Best Actress went to Lady Gaga for her portrayal of Patrizia Reggiani in Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci”. Kathryn Hunter won for her ghostly witch in Joel Coen’s upcoming Shakespeare adaptation “The Tragedy of Macbeth”. Paul Thomas Anderson won Best Screenplay for his coming-of-age comedy “Licorice Pizza”.
Michael Rianda’s family travel comedy about the robotic apocalypse “The Mitchells vs. the Machines ”won the award for best animated film. The best photography went to Janusz Kamisnki for the cover of “West Side Story” by Steven Spielberg. Maggie Gyllenhaal’s Elena Ferrante adaptation “The Lost Girl” won Best Debut Picture. The best documentary went to Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s animated tale about refugees “Flee”. And Joachim Trier’s “The Worst Person in the World”, a chronicle of youth and love in Oslo, Norway, won the award for best foreign language film.
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The group also announced several special awards: Maya Cade, for the creation of Black Film Archive, a catalog of black films from 1915 to 1979 available online; the late Diane Weyermann, a film director who has helped produce documentaries on social issues such as “An Inconvenient Truth” and “Citizenfour”; and Marshall Fine, film critic and executive director of NYFCC.
The New York Film Critics Circle, founded in 1935, will present its 89th awards at a ceremony on January 10. Last year, the group chose Kelly Reichardt’s “First Cow” as their best film.