Bong Joon Ho’s dark class-war comedy Parasite came out on top at the 40th London Critics’ Circle Film Awards, winning Film of the Year at a star-studded black-tie ceremony held at the May Fair Hotel, presented by Pearl Pictures Productions.
Ikon London Magazine spoke to the Pearl Pictures’ Zachary Weckstein about the Critics Circle Awards and the health of the British film industry. The dapper Zachary stands for the integrity of professional film critics: “Critics Circle Awards critics are respected for honouring film quality, and keeping their endorsements shielded from commercial and political influence. They are there to see the talent, the rawness. I truly support that.”
Speaking about some recent controversies in various Awards Ceremonies, Weckstein, yet again, underlined the importance of being unbiased: “it’s important for critics to review and rate films based on the performance and the quality of production. And when you want to award someone because they are a woman or a man… I believe the sex or age shouldn’t matter. It should really be to do with the soul and the matter of an individual as well as the team that is behind them. That’s what I believe in and stand for.”
Back to the winners, the South Korean Parasite also took Director of the Year for Bong at the awards, voted on by over 150 of the UK’s leading film critics.
Actress and writer Sally Phillips was the host of an evening that also saw The Souvenir take a pair of prizes: Joanna Hogg’s bittersweet 1980s memoir was named British/Irish Film of the Year by the critics, while its 22-year-old leading lady Honor Swinton Byrne received the Young British/Irish Performer award. Another multiple winner was Noah Baumbach’s searing divorce drama Marriage Story, recognised for its screenplay and Laura Dern’s supporting performance.
Veteran British filmmaker Sally Potter, meanwhile, earned the critics’ highest honour, the Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film, for her oeuvre of daring, formally inventive feminist cinema. She was presented with the award by actress Elle Fanning, star of Potter’s films Ginger & Rosa and The Roads Not Taken, which premieres at the Berlinale festival next month.
American stars swept the top acting categories, with Renée Zellweger named Actress of the Year for her immersive turn as Judy Garland in Judy; her co-star Jessie Buckley was on hand to accept her award. Joaquin Phoenix’s dynamic performance in the title role of Joker earned him Actor of the Year — an award he previously won for The Master. Supporting awards went to Dern and The Irishman‘s Joe Pesci.
We spoke to the producer of both The Irishman and the Joker, Emma Tillinger Koskoff, who was delighted about the success of both films. “it was a pleasure working with Marty on The Irishman. Being able to assemble the stellar cast – De Niro, Pesci on one set. Every waking second was a pinch-me moment.” Speaking about the Joker, Emma exclaimed with conviction “it was an amazing experience, to see Joaquin Phoenix’s harrowing, moving, haunting performance. Be part of that. It was yet another dream come true moment for me.” Luckily for Emma, the two great pics didn’t coincide in terms of the shooting schedule. ” The Irishman was shot first and then went into post-production. De-aging is a lengthy process. The Joker was shot after The Irishman, so it wasn’t a matter of splitting between projects.” That’s one dedicated and inspiring woman in the film-making industry.
In the British/Irish acting races, two stars were honoured for their body of work in 2019. British/Irish Actress of the Year went to Florence Pugh, star of Midsommar, Little Women and Fighting With My Family, and Robert Pattinson was named British/Irish Actor of the Year for his performances in The Lighthouse, High Life and The King.
The full list of winners of the Critics Circle awards 2020 is below. As our reader, do you agree with all wins? Take part in the discussion on our social media!
Full list of winners for the 40th London Film Critics’ Circle Awards
FILM OF THE YEAR
FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR
Portrait of a Lady on Fire
DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
BRITISH/IRISH FILM OF THE YEAR: The Attenborough Award
DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR
Bong Joon Ho – Parasite
SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR Noah Baumbach – Marriage Story
ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Renée Zellweger – Judy
ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Joaquin Phoenix – Joker
SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Laura Dern – Marriage Story
SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Joe Pesci – The Irishman
BRITISH/IRISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
BRITISH/IRISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR
YOUNG BRITISH/IRISH PERFORMER OF THE YEAR
Honor Swinton Byrne
BREAKTHROUGH BRITISH/IRISH FILMMAKER: The Philip French Award
Mark Jenkin – Bait
BRITISH/IRISH SHORT FILM OF THE YEAR The Devil’s Harmony
TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood – production design, Barbara Ling
THE DILYS POWELL AWARD for EXCELLENCE IN FILM
THE DILYS POWELL AWARD for EXCELLENCE IN FILM