Massachusetts appeal at Oscars?

By James Verniere
Boston Herald
December 13, 2010

It could be Massachusetts’ year at the Oscars.

“The Social Network,” a Harvard-set drama about the creation of the Internet phenomenon Facebook, swept the annual awards meeting of the Boston Society of Film Critics, which last year called the Oscar winner “Hurt Locker” over the heavily favored “Avatar.”

“The Social Network,” inspired by a book by Harvard graduate Ben Mezrich, won prizes yesterday for Best Picture, Best Director (David Fincher), Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin), Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Best Music (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross).

Eisenberg (“Zombieland”), 27, who plays Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network,” is now a likely contender for a Best Actor Academy Award nomination. The film is almost certain to be nominated for Best Picture as well.

In other races, Christian Bale, the big screen’s Batman, was named Best Supporting Actor in Boston yesterday for his cham-eleon-like performance in “The Fighter” as Dickie Eklund, the drug-addled brother and trainer of Lowell boxing champ Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) in the Wahlberg-produced boxing film. Bale must now be considered a front-runner for an Academy Award nomination.

“The Fighter” also features Melissa Leo as Micky’s scheming mother, Alice, and Amy Adams as Ward’s girlfriend, Charlene, and picked up a prize for Best Ensemble cast.

The Boston film critics’ Best Supporting Actress award went to Juliette Lewis, who is both mesmerizing and slightly hilarious as a perjured witness in “Conviction,” the Ayer-set drama about Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank) and her lifelong crusade to prove her brother Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) innocent of murder.

Harvard graduate Natalie Portman was named Best Actress for her twirl as an unhinged ballerina performing the dual lead in a New York City production of “Swan Lake” in “Black Swan,” the hallucinogenic extravaganza directed by fellow Harvard graduate Darren Aronofsky.

Aronofsky (“Pi,” “Requiem for a Dream”) was runner-up in the Best Director race. “Black Swan” also picked up the prize for editing.
In other categories, Disney-Pixar’s “Toy Story 3” swept the first ballot for Best Animated Film. Thanks to great American director of photography Roger Deakins (“The Shawshank Redemption”), “True Grit” took home the prize for cinematography.

The South Korean neo-noir “Mother” by Joon-ho Bong (“The Host”) received the award for Best Foreign-Language Film.
Last year, the BSFC was among the first critics groups to award “The Hurt Locker” its top prize. The modest, low-budget war drama eventually beat James Cameron’s box-office juggernaut “Avatar” for the Academy Award for Best Picture.

In the past several years, Massachusetts has been the setting for such award-worthy contenders as Wolfgang Petersen’s “The Perfect Storm” (2000), Clint Eastwood’s “Mystic River” (2003), Martin Scorsese’s Academy Award-winning “The Departed” (2006) and Ben Affleck’s “Gone Baby Gone” (2007).

Affleck’s recent hit, the Charlestown crime drama “The Town,” was also a consideration at this year’s BSFC’s meeting.

Is this really the time to decimate the Massachusetts Film Office?

'The Social Network' is anointed by L.A. Film Critics Assn.
American Film Institute lauds film, television shows



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