‘Roma’ scores with SEFCA
Filmmaker Alfonso Cuarón’s semi-autobiographical drama Roma, which follows a year in the life of a Mexican family during the early 1970s, as seen through the eyes of the family’s maid (newcomer Yalitza Aparicio), was voted Best Film of 2018 by the members of the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA), with Cuarón winning Best Director and Best Cinematography, and the film also cited as Best Foreign-Language Film.
Roma, which also recently received Golden Globe nominations for Best Director, Best Screenplay (also Cuarón) and Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language, was acquired for distribution by Netflix but also released to theaters to qualify for awards consideration. Cuarón, who became the first Hispanic and Mexican to win the Academy Award as Best Director (for 2013’s Gravity) has called Roma the “most essential movie” of his career.
Ethan Hawke was named Best Actor for his portrayal of a conflicted small-town clergyman in writer/director Paul Schrader’s First Reformed, with Schrader the runner-up in the Original Screenplay category, bested only by Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara for The Favourite.
That film, a satirical historical spectacle directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, also shined in SEFCA’s 2018 voting, with Olivia Colman winning Best Actress as an ailing but manipulative Queen Anne, and Rachel Weisz as the runner-up for Best Supporting Actress. The Favourite was also voted Best Ensemble and Robbie Ryan as the runner-up for Best Cinematography.
Christian Bale was runner-up as Best Actor for his turn as former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney in writer/producer/director Adam McKay’s political satire Vice, and Lady Gaga runner-up in the Best Actress sweepstakes for her highly-acclaimed screen debut in A Star is Born, for which co-star Bradley Cooper was runner-up as Best Director (making his own acclaimed debut in that capacity).
Richard E. Grant won Best Supporting Actor for his performance as an irresponsible con man and pseudo-sidekick to Melissa McCarthy’s author-cum-forger Lee Israel in the fact-based comedy Can You Ever Forgive Me?, with Mahershala Ali the runner-up for his turn as the proud piano virtuoso Dr. Lee Shirley in Green Book.
Regina King was named Best Supporting Actress for her performance as an impassioned mother in If Beale Street Could Talk, adapted from James Baldwin’s best-seller by writer/producer/director Barry Jenkins (of Moonlight fame).
For Best Ensemble, the runner-up was actually runners-up, as Vice and Black Panther tied in that category. Best Adapted Screenplay went to Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman, with Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty’s script the runner-up for Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Morgan Neville’s chronicle of the life and times of Fred Rogers – the much beloved host of “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” – won Best Documentary, while Julie Cohen and Betsy West’s RBG – a chronicle of the life and times of Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (herself an iconic figure) – was the runner-up.
Wes Anderson’s star-studded comedy/fantasy/political satire Isle of Dogs won Best Animated Film, with the recently released Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, scored runner-up honors. Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku) was runner-up as Best Foreign-Language Film. The Wyatt Award for the Spirit of the South, named for the late critic Gene Wyatt and bestowed upon the film that, as the name of the award implies, best captures the spirit of the South, was won by director Ethan Hawke’s musical biography Blaze, with Green Book the runner-up.
SEFCA’s Top 10 list for
2018 is as follows:
− The Favourite
− A Star is Born
− Black KkKlansman
− If Beale Street Could Talk
− Green Book
− First Reformed
− Leave No Trace
Each year, the SEFCA awards are voted on by professional critics (radio, print, online media) in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. For more information, check out the website.
See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2018, Mark Burger.