Unlike the majority of film critics’ organizations and associations, which select the best films for an individual year, the International Online Film Critics’ Poll (IOFCP) is a biennial event, with critics voting every other year.
“The award was created to recognize excellence in film every two years,” explains George McCoy, the poll’s founder. “I believe that a biennial award is something new, and this allows the comparison of different film seasons.”
Founded in 2007, this marked the third edition of the IOFCP — and the first in which I was honored to participate. The nominees were announced Dec. 1 and the winners Dec. 20.
Best Film (Motion Picture) honors went to director Tomas Alfredson’s 2011 adaptation of John le Carre’s best-seller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which bested The Artist, The King’s Speech, Lincoln and The Master. Alfredson was also selected Best Director over Ben Affleck (Argo), Paul Thomas Anderson (The Master), Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life) and Steven Spielberg (Lincoln).
Gary Oldman continued Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’s winning ways, as he was voted Best Actor in a Leading Role, outdistancing Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Joaquin Phoenix (The Master). Best Actress in a Leading Role went to Natalie Portman in Black Swan over Elisabeth Olsen (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Tilda Swinton (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and newcomer Quvenzhane Wallis (Beasts of the Southern Wild).
Philip Seymour Hoffman was voted Best Supporting Actor for his turn in The Master over Christian Bale (The Fighter), Bryan Cranston (Argo), Christopher Plummer (Beginners) and Geoffrey Rush (The King Speech). Amy Adams won Best Supporting Actress for The Master and, in an amusingly ironic twist, she was also nominated for her earlier performance in The Fighter, along with Berenice Bejo (The Artist), Helena Bonham Carter (The King’s Speech) and Melissa Leo (The Fighter).
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was also honored for Best Ensemble Cast, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Production Design. The remaining winners included The Master for Best Original Screenplay, Lincoln for Best Cinematography, The Artist for Best Score, The King’s Speech for Best Film Editing, and The Dark Knight Rises for Best Visual Effects.
The 2011-’12 IOFCP’s 10 best films were as follows, in alphabetical order: Argo, The Artist, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Black Swan, The King’s Speech, Lincoln, The Master, Skyfall, The Tree of Life and Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
The next poll will be in 2014 (yours truly has already been invited to participate again then). As befits its name, the film critics who participated hailed from across Europe and North America, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy and Poland.
For that late holiday gift for the movie maven in your life, two recently published books offer new perspectives on pop-culture classics. Both Raiders of the Lost Ark:
The Adaptation (Thomas Dunne Books/ St. Martin’s Press) and Star Wars and History (Wiley Publishing) offer distinctive new takes on the films that inspires them. Good reading!