Social Network’ makes friends with film critics
By James Verniere
January 9, 2011
Location, location, location.
Boston remains the place to be this awards season. The recognition given to such Boston-set films as “The Fighter” and “The Town” has been topped, once again, by “The Social Network.” Affirming decisions reached by critics’ groups in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, the National Society of Film Critics yesterday added to the accolades showered on the Harvard University-based “The Social Network” by naming it the best film of the year.
During the group’s 45th annual meeting, conducted at the famous Sardi’s restaurant in New York City, the up-to-the-minute drama about the founding of Facebook also took awards for David Fincher’s direction and Aaron Sorkin’s screenplay, based on a book by Ben Mezrich. Twenty-seven-year-old Jesse Eisenberg (“The Squid and the Whale,” “Zombieland”) won the Best Actor award for his portrayal of Facebook founder and Time magazine Man of the Year Mark Zuckerberg, himself not a fan of the film.
Following closely behind in several categories was “Carlos,” French director Olivier Assayas’ epic film about the notorious ’70s terrorist known as The Jackal. The film was runner-up for the Best Picture and Best Director prizes and won for Best Foreign Language film. First runner-up for Best Actor was Colin Firth for his performance as King George VI in the audience-pleasing crossover hit “The King’s Speech,” which won Geoffrey Rush an award as Best Supporting Actor, beating Oscar front-runner Christian Bale as a Lowell crackhead ex-slugger in “The Fighter.” Second runner-up was Jeremy Renner for his tightly coiled Cagney-esque performance as a Charlestown thief in Ben Affleck’s gritty crime drama “The Town.”
Close contests in several categories led to a surprise Best Actress victory for Italian actress Giovanna Mezzogiorno as the wife Mussolini kept hidden away in an asylum in Marco Bellocchio’s “Vincere,” and a Best Supporting Actress victory for Olivia Williams as the scheming political wife in Roman Polanski’s chilly thriller “The Ghost Writer.” Hot on Williams’ heels was the double threat from “The Fighter,” Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. The runners-up for the Best Actress prize were the elsewhere-honored Annette Bening for her performance as one half of a semi-functional lesbian couple in Lisa Cholodenko’s popular comic drama “The Kids Are Alright.” Best Documentary went to “Inside Job,” Charles Ferguson’s scathing examination of the 2008 financial meltdown.
The Coen brothers’ new version of the John Wayne classic “True Grit” took the Best Cinematography award for Roger Deakins’ atmospheric frontier landscapes.