The 2019 Atlanta Film Critics Circle Awards have been announced, and South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s fascinating blend of social commentary and dark comedy, Parasitewins first prize.
Parasite highlights the deep class divisions and economic inequalities in South Korea. It’s a very contemporary story of a South Korean family struggling to stay afloat that discovers dark forces are unleashed when they infiltrate the home of a wealthy family.
The film also won the AFCC award for Best International Film and Best Director for Bong Joon-ho as well as Best Screenplay for co-writers Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won.
Felicia Feaster, AFCC co-founder and Atlanta Journal-Constitution reviewer, calls Parasite “a harrowing take on the incredibly topical issue of income inequality in the 21st century that seethes in a very bad vein of black comedy.”
Martin Scorsese’s Ensemble Crowd Epic The Irishman, starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci was the second award-winning film on the AFCC’s Top 10 list. The fact-based film stars longtime Scorsese collaborator De Niro as a man in his twilight years, reflecting on his career as a hitman and confidant of labor organizer Jimmy Hoffa.
“Martin Scorsese and his brilliant cast have made a measured and thoughtful film and at nearly three and a half hours doesn’t feel the least bit too long,” said Atlanta Film Critics Circle co-founder Michael Clark.
“Two films on our list are from two of the world’s greatest directors, Martin Scorsese, 77, and Pedro Almodovar, 70, and both have aging protagonists who look back on their lives with regret,” notes a member of the AFCC and Curt Holman, columnist for Creative Loafing. Both The Irishman and Spanish director Almodovar’s sadly semi-autobiographical pain and glory – number nine on the AFCC’s Top 10 Awards list – are thoughtful meditations on the passage of time.
Other notable winners of this year’s AFCC awards include Best Documentary Apollo 11 which uses archival footage from the first manned mission to the moon in 1969 to document an event of incredible significance and – given our own politically divided times – remarkable solidarity and national pride.
For his role as a husband and father struggling with a traumatic divorce from his actress wife (Scarlett Johansson), Adam Driver won the AFCC’s Best Leading Actor award for Marriage story. “It’s a performance full of bewilderment, surprise, pent-up anger and sadness, but a hope that the two can still be a part of each other’s lives in some way,” says Jim. Farmer, AFCC member and Georgia Voice critic.
Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actress for her equally captivating performance as a mercenary and charismatic divorce lawyer in Noah Baumbach’s third role on the AFCC’s Top 10 list. Marriage story. For her deeply empathetic and uplifting performance as troubled and beloved actress and singer Judy Garland, Renée Zellweger received the AFCC’s Best Leading Actress Award for Judy.
The AFCC also presented special awards for Best Breakthrough Performer to Kelvin Harrison Jr. who in 2019 appeared in both Luce as an adopted son and model student who may have dark impulses, and as Waves as a suburban Florida teenager trying to balance his father’s expectations and his own anxieties in the family melodrama Waves. Actress-turned-director Olivia Wilde won the AFCC’s Special Award for Best First Feature for another story of anxious, overachieving teenagers. Its saucy and delightfully inventive story of two nerdy high school kids who finally go wild over one wild night in Library was an inventive, unconventional take on the usual teen comedy.
“A lot of the biggest movies this year had moments of high anxiety that cross genres,” says Hannah Lodge, AFCC member and ScreenRex editor of movies like ParasiteSam Mendes’ WWI epic 1917 (number 5 on AFCC’s Top 10 list) and Adam Sandler’s Drama Uncut Gems (issue 7), about a compulsive gambler who sees his life fall apart.
“I think any element of collective unrest or unease that started the trend has given us a year of amazing and exciting movies,” Lodge says.
Take a look at the full list of the 2019 Atlanta Film Critics Circle Awards below:
2019 Atlanta Film Critics Circle Award
TOP 10 MOVIES
ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
PAIN AND GLORY
BEST LEADING ACTOR:
ADAM DRIVER in MARRIAGE STORY
BEST LEADING ACTRESS:
RENEE ZELLWEGER in JUDY
BEST ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE:
BRAD PITT in ONCE UPON A TIME… IN HOLLYWOOD
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS:
LAURA DERN in MARRIAGE STORY
BONG JOON-HO for PARASITE
BONG JOON-HO and HAN JIN-WON for PARASITE
BEST INTERNATIONAL FILM:
PARASITE (South Korea)
BEST ANIMATED FILM:
TOY STORY 4
ROGER DEAKINS about 1917
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE:
THOMAS NEWMAN about 1917
AFCC Special Award for BEST PERFORMER:
KELVIN HARRISON JR.
AFCC Special Award for BEST FIRST FEATURE:
OLIVIA WILDE for BOOKSMART
About the AFCC
Co-founded by Atlanta film critics Felicia Feaster and Michael Clark, the Atlanta Film Critics Circle is an attempt to fill a void in the local film community and in the representation of Atlanta media on the national stage.
Comprised of a dynamic mix of Atlanta-based critics working in newspapers, magazines, and online journalism, AFCC’s mission is to establish a national presence for a group of film critics in Atlanta and foster a Vibrant film culture in Atlanta, which is already home to an exploding film production presence.
Founding members (reviewers currently living and/or writing for global, national, regional, and/or Metro Atlanta outlets) of the AFCC vote in early December for the group’s annual awards.
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