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National Society of Film Critics go 'Social'

Posted by Ty Burr  January 8, 2011 11:00 PM

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More honors for the geek squad: The National Society of Film Critics named "The Social Network," David Fincher's acclaimed drama about the founding of Facebook, the best movie of 2010 at the group's yearly meeting in New York on Sunday. In addition, the film's star, Jesse Eisenberg, was named best actor, David Fincher was awarded best director, and Aaron Sorkin's script won best screenplay.

The critics' organization, which celebrated its 45th year of annually honoring the best in cinema and which includes among its members Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, Time's Richard Schickel, and Globe movie critics Ty Burr and Wesley Morris, achieved a surprising consensus on "Social Network," awarding it best picture, director, and screenplay honors in one round of voting each. Coming in a distant second in both the picture and director categories was Olivier Assayas's "Carlos," the 5 1/2-hour drama about the infamous 1970s terrorist Carlos the Jackal. In the best actor category, Eisenberg narrowly won in the second ballot over Edgar Ramirez of "Carlos" and Colin Firth of "The King's Speech," who tied. "Carlos" did win handily the best foreign language film award over another French criminal saga, "A Prophet."

The voting was more contentious in other categories. After four ballots that saw the fortunes of Annette Bening in "The Kids Are All Right" rise and fall, the best actress honors went to Giovanna Mezzogiorno for her portrayal of Benito Mussolini's spurned first wife in Marco Bellochio's "Vincere." Bening ended up narrowly taking second place from Lesley Manville in Mike Leigh's "Another Year."

The supporting actor race was even tighter, with Geoffrey Rush's performance as King George VI's speech therapist in "The King's Speech" taking four ballots to win out over two rough-edged portraits of Bay State bad boys, Christian Bale in "The Fighter" and Jeremy Renner in "The Town." In an unexpected turn, Olivia Williams won best supporting actress for playing an ex-prime minister's secretive wife in Roman Polanski's "The Ghost Writer." Trailing her in the voting were Amy Adams for "The Fighter," in second place, and Melissa Leo of "The Fighter" and Jackie Weaver of "Animal Kingdom," who tied for third.

The award for best nonfiction film went to "Inside Job," Charles Ferguson's outraged dissection of the 2008 financial meltdown and the men and mindset responsible for it; coming in second was "Exit Through the Gift Shop," the prankish documentary on street art and art hype from the mysterious Banksy. "True Grit," the Coen brothers' adapatation of the 1969 Charles Portis novel, won the best cinematography award for Roger Deakins' richly realized camerawork, with Matthew Libatique's work on Darren Aronofsky's "Black Swan" coming in second.

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Ty Burr is a film critic with The Boston Globe.

Mark Feeney is an arts writer for The Boston Globe.

Janice Page is movies editor for The Boston Globe.

Tom Russo is a regular correspondent for the Movies section and writes a weekly column on DVD releases.

Katie McLeod is Boston.com's features editor.

Rachel Raczka is a producer for Lifestyle and Arts & Entertainment at Boston.com.

Emily Wright is an Arts & Entertainment producer for Boston.com.

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