After a four year hiatus, the Far From Hollywood Film Society, Portland's film critics' guild, has resumed handing out a slate of annual awards to its favorite movies. But we didn't just settle for turning in our ballots and calling it a year: Instead, two dozen Portland movie critics spent last Friday debating the top cinema of 2010 for two hours over pints at Caldera Public House.
The argument and politicking (and beer) that accompanied the open-ballot vote led to some appealingly idiosyncratic choices; in a year when every guild seems to be carrying water for either The Social Network or The King's Speech in a marathon slog to Oscar night, Portland's critics split the Best Picture prize between Winter's Bone and True Grit, while handing out awards to Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, A Town Called Panic, Four Lions, Machete and Valhalla Rising (for Best Foreign Language Film, even though it's mostly in English; the justification, as I recall, was that most of it was spoken "in grunting").
"While many of the usual suspects during this year's film award season can be found among FFH's honorees, I'm proud to say that some winners accurately reflect Portland's status as a haven for goofballs and malcontents," Society president Marc Mohan announced today. "Avoiding the groupthink which can be so prevalent in these sorts of things allows us to recognize under-rated and under-seen films like Machete and A Town Called Panic, the latter of which beat out Toy Story 3 to win the Best Animated Feature award."
I also said a few words, because I am the guild's treasurer. (I don't think we have any money.) "The split award for Best Picture wasn't just a case of evenly divided voters," I explained. "Instead, we concluded that the films were spiritual siblings. Each featured a young woman traveling across a foreboding, backwoods landscape, trying to set right the things done to her father. They share a new vision of frontier feminism."
Other winners include Four Lions for Best Ensemble (I lobbied hard for this), Edgar Wright for Best Director (the Mercury's Erik Henriksen lobbied hard for this), Hausu for Best Revival and Beer and Movie for Best Festival (I did no logrolling for either of these, though I doubt you'll believe me). The full list is below.
Best Film (tie):
True Grit and Winter's Bone
Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
Jennifer Lawrence, Winter's Bone
Best Supporting Actor:
John Hawkes, Winter's Bone
Best Supporting Actress:
Melissa Leo, The Fighter
Best Ensemble Performance:
The cast of Four Lions
Best Original Screenplay:
Robert Rodriguez and Álvaro Rodríguez, Machete
Best Adapted Screenplay:
Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network
Best Foreign Language Film:
Best Animated Feature:
A Town Called Panic
Best Fiction Film by a Northwest Filmmaker:
The Adults in the Room, directed by Andy Blubaugh
Best Non-Fiction Film by a Northwest Filmmaker:
October Country, directed by Michael Palmieri and Donal Mosher
Best Film Festival, Series, or Event:
Beer and Movie Fest
Best Revival Film: