Lars von Trier’s Melancholia and Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life were the big winners at the National Society of Film Critics awards at the weekend.
Melancholia, Von Trier’s tale of a troubled young woman whose mood seems to mirror the apocalyptic malaise of Earth itself, won best picture and best actress for Kirsten Dunst. Malick was honoured with the best director award and his star Jessica Chastain won best supporting actress, while Tree of Life also picked up the best cinematography prize for Emmanuel Lubezki. The other major acting awards went to Brad Pitt (best actor, Moneyball) and Albert Brooks (best supporting actor, Drive).
Neither Tree of Life nor Melancholia is considered one of the frontrunners for this year’s Oscars, though Malick’s Palme d’Or winner has received support from critics and stands an outside chance of picking up nominations when the Academy makes its announcement next week.
Meanwhile, a different type of awards ceremony honoured stars such as Michelle Williams, Charlize Theron and Brad Pitt at the weekend. The Palm Springs international film festival’s awards gala, which took place on Saturday night, is often seen as the curtain raiser to the awards season for its ability to attract Hollywood’s biggest stars.
Despite all the glitz and glamour, this year’s ceremony recognised independent movies that just happened to feature famous figures. Brad Pitt turned up with partner Angelina Jolie to receive the Desert Palm “achievement actor award” for his turn in Moneyball, while Michelle Williams was honoured for her performance in My Week With Marilyn. Theron picked up the vanguard award for creative ensemble alongside the rest of the Young Adult cast and crew, and there were also prizes for George Clooney, Glenn Close, Jessica Chastain and Octavia Spencer.
The Artist’s director, Michel Hazanavicius, perhaps summed up the evening best when he said: “I want to thank the people who decided to give me this award. I don’t know who you are, but thank you.”
The final day for members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to vote for this year’s Oscars nominees is this Friday. Nominees will be announced on Tuesday 24 January.
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