Florida Film Critics go with ‘Argo’


The thriller wins three awards, including Best Picture; ‘Lincoln’ and ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ win the acting categories.


Argo, the tense thriller about an unlikely rescue set during the Iran hostage crisis, was named Best Picture of 2012 by the Florida Film Critics Circle. The movie, which is expected to be a major Oscar player, also won Best Director for Ben Affleck and Best Adapted Screenplay for Chris Terrio.

Daniel Day-Lewis was named Best Actor for his uncanny portrayal of the 16th U.S. President in Lincoln. Jessica Chastain won Best Actress for her performance as a CIA agent obsessed with hunting down Osama bin Laden in Zero Dark Thirty.

The Queen of Versailles, the riches-to-rags story of a wealthy couple whose fortune crumbles while preparing to build an enormous mansion, won Best Documentary. Frankenweenie, director Tim Burton’s loving ode to the monster movies of his youth, won Best Animated Film. Roger Deakins’ remarkable work in the Bond thriller Skyfall won Best Cinematography, while Ang Lee’s 3D spectacular Life of Pi won Best Visual Effects. Quvenzhané Wallis, who was six years old when she starred in Beasts of the Southern Wild, was named Breakout Star.

Formed in 1996, the Florida Film Critics Circle is comprised of critics and journalists from around the state, including The Herald’s Rene Rodriguez and Connie Ogle.

Here is the complete list of this year’s winners:

Picture: Argo

Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln

Actress: Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty

Supporting Actor: Philip Seymour Hoffman, The Master

Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables

Director: Ben Affleck, Argo

Adapted Screenplay: Chris Terrio, Argo

Original Screenplay: Rian Johnson, Looper

Cinematography: Roger Deakins, Skyfall

Visual Effects: Life Of Pi

Art Direction/Production Design: Thomas Brown, et al., Anna Karenina

Foreign Language: The Intouchables

Animated: Frankenweenie

Documentary: The Queen Of Versailles

Breakout: Quvenzhané Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild

Read more Reeling with Rene Rodriguez stories from the Miami Herald

Dad (Ethan Hawke, right) plays around with his son (Ellar Coltrane) in a scene from “Boyhood.”

    Boyhood (R)

    Contrary to most dramas, which tend to dwell on traumatic or seismic events, Richard Linklater’s Boyhood argues that life is a compilation of small, everyday moments, an accumulation of the feelings and thoughts and emotions we start to gather from the time we are children. Shot over the span of 12 years, with the cast getting together for a few days annually to shoot some scenes, the movie charts the growth of Mason (Ellar Coltrane) from the ages of 5 to 18. Mason has an older sister, Samantha (Lorelei Linklater, the director’s daughter) and he has two loving parents, Mom (Patricia Arquette) and Dad (Ethan Hawke), who are divorced and live apart. Their relationship can be contentious at times, but they both care deeply for their kids.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">‘Life Itself’:</span> Gene Siskel, left, and Roger Ebert get into one of their countless arguments during the taping of their TV show.

    Life Itself (R)

    There are scholars who blame Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel for dumbing down film criticism with their thumbs-up, thumbs-down approach, the same way they blame Steven Spielberg and George Lucas for ruining movies with the success of Jaws and Star Wars. But Siskel and Ebert accomplished just the opposite: They popularized criticism and introduced it to the masses via their PBS show in which they spent a lot of time debating (and fighting) over movies before delivering their final, yes-or-no verdict. The first version of their show, which was titled Sneak Previews and aired on PBS in the late 1970s, led me to read Pauline Kael and Film Comment and American Film and the Miami Herald’s late, great Bill Cosford as a kid. Suddenly, my nascent love of movies blew up: Movies weren’t just something you watched for entertainment. Sometimes, there was a lot to find beneath their surface.

Caesar (Andy Serkis) leads a war against mankind in “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.”

    Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (PG-13)

    Yawn of the Planet of the Apes — excuse me, Dawn — has a big-budget sheen, a few terrific action setpieces and some of the most jaw-dropping CGI effects to date: You will believe these apes are real (although some of them are actors wearing costumes).

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