The Austin Film Critics Association Award 'Hugo,' 'Drive,' 'Attack the Block' and More

The Austin Film Critics Association Award 'Hugo,' 'Drive,' 'Attack the Block' and More

Dec 28, 2011

There are dozens of film critics associations all around the country, but it just so happens that several of us on the staff belong to the Austin Film Critics Association. That's why you can trust my completely objective word when I say that the AFCA happens to be the coolest and smartest and sexiest critics group in the country.

Okay, so maybe that's not entirely objective. However, I do think that we have a good grip on the pulse of what's new and exciting and worthwhile as far as film geek tastes are concerned. Maybe that's because we live in a city that hosts the country's two coolest film festivals, SXSW and Fantastic Fest. Maybe it's just because we're a rather diverse group of longtime film lovers working in a variety of print, televised, radio, and online media. Or maybe it's just because we don't buy into the typical, stuffy critics talk you hear all over the place around this time of the year.  

Don't get us wrong, we think The Artist is a charming film, but we'd collectively much rather award films that grab us and demand to be watched over and over; films like Drive, Take ShelterHugo and Attack the Block. Hopefully you agree with us.


December 28, 2011 (Austin, TX) -- The Austin Film Critics Association today announced its 2011 awards, with Martin Scorsese's ode to classic cinema, HUGO, winning Best Film. It lead a group of awards that AFCA Founder and President Cole Dabney called "a unique blend highlighting the best of both Hollywood and indie filmmaking."

The hyper-stylized crime thriller DRIVE took home three awards, including Best Director for Nicolas Winding Refn, Best Adapted Screenplay for writer Hossein Amini, and Best Supporting Actor for Albert Brooks. It was also named the second best film of the year in the AFCA's overall Top 10 List. 

Michael Shannon was named Best Actor, while Jessica Chastain received Best Supporting Actress for their performances in TAKE SHELTER. Austinite Jeff Nichols was also awarded Best Austin Film for his direction and conception of the film, hailed at film festivals this year from Sundance to Cannes to Toronto. 

Tilda Swinton was named Best Actress for her portrayal as a mother struggling with her first-born child's madness and murder in WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT KEVIN, while Woody Allen was awarded Best Original Screenplay for MIDNIGHT IN PARIS and Emmanuel Lubezki won his 2nd AFCA Award for Best Cinematography, this time for the Austin-made THE TREE OF LIFE. 

The British film ATTACK THE BLOCK, which premiered at Austin's own South by Southwest Film Festival, was awarded two prizes. Joe Cornish, who wrote and directed the alien invasion sci-fi/comedy, won Best First Film while composer Steven Price received Best Original Score. 

Jee-woon Kim's South Korean revenge thriller I SAW THE DEVIL (Akmareul boatda) won Best Foreign Language Film, while the Formula One Racing biography SENNA took home Best Documentary. RANGO, which features the voice-work of Johnny Depp and was directed by Gore Verbinski in his non-live action debut, was named Best Animated Film. 

For her incredibly diverse and complex work in 2011, the AFCA also awarded Jessica Chastain its Robert R. "Bobby" McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award. Ms. Chastain appeared in six films in 2011, including TAKE SHELTER, THE TREE OF LIFE, THE HELP, THE DEBT, CORIOLANUS and TEXAS KILLING FIELDS. The award is now named after Bobby McCurdy, a much-loved member of the AFCA who co-founded the organization with Dabney. He passed away suddenly during last year's voting process; McCurdy's enthusiasm for film made the Breakthrough Artist Award his favorite award to discuss and forecast as part of the AFCA voting process. 

All details can be found at the AFCA website; the AFCA is a group dedicated to supporting the best in film, whether at the international, national, or local level, whose members contribute to publications and outlets as diverse as Ain't It Cool News, the Austin American-Statesman, the Austin Chronicle, CNN, Fandango,, Film School Rejects, Fox News,, INsite Magazine, MSN Movies,, Slackerwood, and Twitch, among others.


Best Film:

Best Director:
Nicolas Winding Refn, Drive

Best Actor:
Michael Shannon, Take Shelter

Best Actress:
Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin

Best Supporting Actor:
Albert Brooks, Drive

Best Supporting Actress:
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter

Best Original Screenplay:
Midnight in Paris, Woody Allen

Best Adapted Screenplay:
Drive, Hossein Amini

Best Cinematography:
The Tree of Life, Emmanuel Lubezki

Best Original Score:
Attack the Block, Steven Price

Best Foreign Language Film:
I Saw the Devil, South Korea [dir: Jee-woon Kim]

Best Documentary:
Senna [dir: Asif Kapadia]

Best Animated Feature:
Rango [dir: Gore Verbinski]

Robert R. "Bobby" McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award:
Jessica Chastain, Take Shelter/The Tree of Life/The Help/The Debt/Coriolanus/Texas Killing Fields

Best First Film:
Attack the Block [dir: Joe Cornish]

Austin Film Award:
Take Shelter [dir: Jeff Nichols]

Top 10 Films:
1. Hugo
2. Drive
3. Take Shelter
4. Midnight in Paris
5. Attack the Block
6. The Artist
7. Martha Marcy May Marlene
8. I Saw the Devil
9. 13 Assassins
10. Melancholia

Categories: Features
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