Vonnegut Documentary Wins Two Year-End Awards From Indiana Film Critics – Indianapolis Business Journal


Lake Maxincuckee is one of the sites in Indiana where filmmaker Robert Weide, left, interviewed Kurt Vonnegut. (Photo provided by IFC Films.)

The Indiana Film Journalists Association selected “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time” as the best documentary of 2021 and also awarded the Edward Johnson-Ott Hoosier Award to the film about the iconic author who graduated from Shortridge High School in 1940.

The panel of critics named “Mass,” a drama in which two sets of parents ask and answer tough questions in the aftermath of a tragedy, as best picture of the year. “Mass” took home four awards in total, including Best Original Screenplay, Best Ensemble Acting and Escape of the Year for director Fran Kranz.

Established in 2009, the Indiana Film Journalists Association (IFJA) is dedicated to promoting the art of film criticism in the Hoosier State and supporting Indiana’s growing film industry. It also presents annual awards for the year in film.

On Monday, it announced the winners for 2021 in 16 categories.

“Mass” was screened as part of this year’s Heartland International Film Festival. Four other films seen at the Indianapolis festival, “The Power of the Dog”, “Spencer”, “C’mon, C’mon” and “Flee” won awards from the Indiana Film Journalists Association.

“Mass” follows “Nomadland” (2020), “Marriage Story” (2019) and “The Hate U Give” (2018) as the best films selected by the Indiana Film Journalists Association in recent years.

“Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time” was released in November, nearly 40 years after Emmy-winning director and screenwriter Robert Weide sent an unsolicited letter to Vonnegut and received consent to make a film based on on the author of “Slaughterhouse-Five”, “Cat’s Cradle” and “Breakfast of Champions”.

Weide, known for directing nearly 30 episodes of the HBO series “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” sent the letter in 1982 and he began filming “Unstuck in Time” in 1988, when Vonnegut took a train trip to ‘Albany, New York, to Buffalo. Vonnegut, who died in 2007 aged 84, and Weide have become close friends.

The film includes a 1994 visit to Shortridge, where Indianapolis native Vonnegut reminisced about high school pranks.

The Edward Johnson-Ott Hoosier Award, named for the Nuvo Newsweekly critic who died in April, recognizes work by artists with roots in Indiana or a film that depicts Indiana places and stories.

The winners in 16 categories:

Best film

Winner: “Mass”

Finalist: “Drive My Car”

Other Best Picture finalists (listed alphabetically):


“The Card Counter”

“Come on”


“The Green Knight”

“The Last Duel”


“The Power of the Dog”

Best Animated Film

Winner: “Flee”

Finalist: “Luca”

Best Foreign Language Film

Winner: “Drive My Car”

Finalist: “The Lamb”

Best Documentary

Winner: “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time”

Finalist: “Procession”

Best Original Screenplay

Winner: Fran Kranz, “Mass”

Finalist: Mike Mills, “Go, Go”

Best Fit Scenario

Winner: Ryusuke Hamaguchi and Takamasa Oe, “Drive My Car”

Finalist: Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, “The Last Duel”

Best Director

Winner: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”

Finalist: Fran Kranz, “Mass”

Best Actress

Winner: Kristen Stewart, “Spencer”

Finalist: Jodie Comer, “The Last Duel”

Best Supporting Actress

Winner: Gaby Hoffmann, “C’mon C’mon”

Finalist: Ariana DeBose, “West Side Story”

Best actor

Winner: Oscar Isaac, “The Card Counter”

Finalist: Nicolas Cage, “Pig”

Best Supporting Actor

Winner: Troy Kotsur, “CODA”

Finalist: Jason Isaacs, “Mass”

Better voice/motion capture performance

Winner: Olivia Colman, “The Mitchells vs. the Machines”

Finalist: Tom Hardy, “Venom: Let There Be Carnage”

Best Overall Acting

Winner: “Mass”

Finalist: “Humans”

Best Musical Score

Winner: Jonny Greenwood, “The Power of the Dog”

Finalist: Hans Zimmer, “Dune”

Escape of the year

Winner: Fran Kranz, “Mass”

Finalist: Michael Sarnoski, “Pig”

Original Vision Award

Winner: “Annette”

Finalist: “Titanium”

Edward Johnson-Ott Hoosier Award

Winner: “Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time”

(No finalists are named in this category.)


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