Here’s the list of the year’s best films from the Southeastern Film Critics Association, in which Ken Hanke and Justin Souther, both of Mountain Xpress, Edwin Arnaudin and Tony Kiss of the Asheville Citizen-Times, and Chip Kaufmann and Michelle Keagan of Rapid River are members, as is Marcianne Miller, writing regularly for Bold Life and occasionally Ashvegas.) (Also, here are the winners from 2014.)
Spotlight, Tom McCarthy’s journalism procedural that explores the Boston Globe’s 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation of the systematic coverup of widespread child molestation within the Catholic Church, has been named the best movie of the year by the Southeastern Film Critics Association.
McCarthy and Josh Singer also won the group’s Original Screenplay category and took top honors in the Best Ensemble acting category, while McCarthy finished behind Mad Max: Fury Road director George Miller in the Best Director race.
“Spotlight was a clear favorite with our members,” SEFCA President Philip Martin, the chief film critic at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, said. “It was an exceptionally deep year, with 99 movies — as opposed to about 80 most years — receiving at least one vote in the poll. But Spotlight appeared on 80 percent of the ballots and received 19 No. 1 votes, by far the most of any film. Rarely have we had that sort of consensus about the top film.”
Bryan Cranston won the group’s Best Actor award for his work in Trumbo, while Brie Larson was named Best Actress for her performance in Room. Sylvester Stallone picked up a Best Supporting Actor nod for Creed, while Alicia Vikander was voted Best Supporting Actress for Ex Machina.
“It’s interesting to note that five actors — Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber — received votes in the Best Supporting Actor category for their work in Spotlight,” Martin said. “Keaton also received a vote in the Best Actor category.
The group’s Wyatt Award, named in memory of SEFCA charter member Gene Wyatt and awarded annually to the film that best captures the spirit of the South, went to the documentary Finders Keepers, Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel’s bizarre story about a dispute over a North Carolina man’s amputated foot.
The SEFCA Awards are bestowed annually by the Southeastern Film Critics Association, which is made up of professional film critics in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. This year, 55 critics cast votes.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
6. The Big Short
7. The Martian
8. Inside Out
9. Bridge of Spies
Winner: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Runner-up: Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Winner: Brie Larson, Room
Runner-up: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Runner-up: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Runner-up: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Runner-up: The Big Short
George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Runner-up: Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer for Spotlight
Runner-up: Bob Petersen, Pete Docter for Inside Out
Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Emma Donoghue for Room
Runner-up: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for The Big Short
Runner-up: Best of Enemies
Winner: Son of Saul
Runner-up: The Assassin
Best Animated Film
Winner: Inside Out
Winner: John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road
Runner-up: Luca Bigazzi for Youth
The Gene Wyatt Award for the Film that Best Evokes the Spirit of the South