I love the idea of a film critics’ circle. I think, naturally, of a number film lovers sitting around a warm DVD player, knitting brows, sipping tea, petting a purring calico, and gently bitching about camera angles.
I don’t know if that’s far from the truth, but I do know that the esteemed members of the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, founded in 2002, are far more clued-in to the film scene than the Oscars’ Academy (plus you get a more local perspective, of course). Here are this year’s picks for their favorites from a surprisingly strong year in movies. You can still check many of them out in theaters before Netflix swallows them whole, and see the full list with nominees at the SFFCC site.
PS Our very own film critic Dennis Harvey is in the circle, and has reviewed these films. Read his weekly column, Screen Grabs!
Marlon Riggs award for “courage and innovation in the Bay Area film community”: Bay Area musician/activist/filmmaker Boots Riley, who released his debut movie Sorry to Bother You this year.
Special Citation Award: The Endless (a genre-bending story of emotionally estranged brothers starring and directed by Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead)
Best Actor: Ethan Hawke, First Reformed (searing performance as a tortured priest confronting oblivion)
Best Actress: Melissa McCarthy, Can You Ever Forgive Me? (change-of-pace turn as real-life writer Lee Israel)
Best Supporting Actor: Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther (complex villain Erik Killmonger)
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King, If Beale Street Could Talk (the quietly strong maternal figure of this James Baldwin adaptation)
Best Original Screenplay: First Reformed (Paul Schrader’s career-culminating story of environmental and existential despair)
Best Adapted Screenplay: BlacKkKlansman (
Best Cinematography: Roma (
Best Score: BlacKkKlansman (
Best Production Design: Black Panther (Hannah Beachler, Marvel meets afro-futurism)
Best Editing: The Other Side of the Wind (Bob Murawski and Orson Welles’ classic-saving cut of the lost Welles masterpiece)
Best Animated Feature: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse (directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman)
Best Foreign Language Film: Roma (director/DP Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white evocation of his childhood in Mexico)
Best Documentary Feature: Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Morgan Neville’s heart-tugging documentary about children’s television pioneer Fred Rogers)
Best Director: Spike Lee, BlacKkKlansman (
Best Picture: Roma (director/DP Alfonso Cuarón’s black-and-white evocation of his childhood in Mexico)