This week, it’s the Southeastern Film Critics Association (SEFCA) doing the giving, and selected films of 2019 the receiving.

South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho’s scathing satire Parasite was selected as both Best Picture of the Year and Best Foreign-Language Film by the members of SEFCA, with Joon-ho and Jin Won Han’s screenplay selected as Best Original Screenplay. Joon-hoo was also runner-up in the voting for Best Director.

“I’m incredibly proud of SEFCA’s decision to select Parasite as the Best Picture of the Year,” said Matt Goldberg, president of SEFCA. “Bong Joon-hoo is one of our finest filmmakers, and he has crafted a damning rebuke of capitalism with style and passion. I firmly believe that Parasite is not only the best film of 2019 but that it will also be recognized as one of the best and most essential films of the 2010s.”

Noah Baumbach’s divorce drama Marriage Story also scored big with SEFCA, with Adam Driver winning Best Actor, Laura Dern winning Best Supporting Actress, and Baumbach was the runner-up for Best Original Screenplay.

Joaquin Phoenix’s titular turn in Joker was the runner-up for Best Actor, and Florence Pugh (as Amy March) the runner-up as Best Supporting Actress for Little Women, the latest screen adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel, adapted and directed by Greta Gerwig, who was the runner-up for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Renee Zellweger’s performance as show-biz legend Judy Garland took top honors for Best Actress in Judy, with Lupita Nyong’o the runner-up in Jordan Peele’s latest screen shocker, Us.

Martin Scorsese was selected Best Director for the gangster epic The Irishman, with Steven Zaillian winning Best Adapted Screenplay for the same film. Joe Pesci was the runner-up for Best Supporting Actor, and The Irishman was the runner-up for Best Ensemble, bested by the star-studded murder/mystery Knives Out.

Brad Pitt was named Best Supporting Actor for Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, and Robert Richardson was the runner-up for Best Cinematography for that film. Roger Deakins won Best Cinematography for the World War I  saga 1917.

Best Documentary went to Apollo 11, with American Factory as the runner-up. Pedro Almodovar’s drama Pain and Glory was the runner-up for Best Foreign-Language Film. The blockbuster Toy Story 4 won Best Animated Film and I Lost My Body was the runner-up.

The Gene Wyatt Award for Film That Best Evokes the Spirit of the South, named for the late film critic, went to the coming-of-age comedy/drama The Peanut Butter Falcon, with the fact-based courtroom drama Just Mercy the runner-up.

SEFCA’s top 10 films for 2019 were as follows: (1.) Parasite (2.) The Irishman (3.) Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood (4.) Marriage Story (5.) 1917 (6.) Jojo Rabbit (7.) Little Women (8.) The Farewell (9.) Uncut Gems (10.) Ford v. Ferrari.

The Southeastern Film Critics Circle, which was founded over a quarter-century ago, is comprised of over 60 film critics – including yours truly – from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Its mission is to represent – as an impartial, organized working unit – the profession of film criticism, and to recognize the highest creative achievements in the field of motion pictures, and thereby to uphold the integrity and significance of film criticism.

For a complete list of this year’s winners and more information about SEFCA, visit the official website.

See Mark Burger’s reviews of current movies on Burgervideo.com. © 2019, Mark Burger.

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