The 43rd annual London Critics’ Circle Film Awards was a well-attended affair that crowned the provocative culture-war drama “Tár” as the Film of the Year on Sunday.
“Tár” won three major awards, with Todd Field named Director of the Year and Cate Blanchett Actress of the Year. Blanchett is no stranger to this award, having won it previously in 1998 for “Elizabeth” and in 2013 for “Blue Jasmine”.
“‘Tár’ is about female experience, but it’s also beyond female experience. It’s really, really complicated and you’ve made room for that complication,” Blanchett said during her acceptance speech. “Personally, it was the most freewheeling, free form, free flowing, exhilarating, challenging and creatively dangerous film set that I’ve ever been on. And it was full of ambiguity and the stuff that we as a species, find so hard to unpack and discuss and and pin down, not only the stuff inside the systems that we work within, but inside ourselves.”
Accepting his award, Field said: “Cate – we won’t get to do this again. And I’m so grateful that we did, and I’m so grateful that you brought everything. And if you’ve seen the film, you know what it must cost a human being to do what Cate did – it cost she and her family a great, great deal. And I’m very, very grateful for that. And so I share this award with you.”
Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy “The Banshees of Inisherin” won five prizes, including The Attenborough Award for British/Irish Film of the Year, Screenwriter of the Year, Actor of the Year for Colin Farrell, and Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress for Barry Keoghan and Kerry Condon respectively. McDonagh collected his award in person.
Florence Pugh and Bill Nighy were named British/Irish Actress and Actor respectively for their body of work in 2022 and collected their awards in person.
Paul Mescal and Frankie Corio reunited at the event, having played father and daughter in “Aftersun.” Corio won the Young British/Irish Performer award for her role, while Mescal was on hand to accept writer-director Charlotte Wells’ Philip French Award for Breakthrough British/Irish Filmmaker.
Meanwhile, Colm Bairéad’s drama “The Quiet Girl” and Park Chan-wook’s noir thriller “Decision to Leave” tied for Foreign-Language Film of the Year. Bairéad collected the award alongside the film’s young star Catherine Clinch and producer Cleona Ní Chrualaoí, while Park thanks the Critics’ Circle via a video message.
Laura Poitras’ pointed Nan Goldin film “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” was named Documentary of the Year.
The Technical Achievement Award went to Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” for animation, which was collected by Gregory Mann who voiced Pinocchio. British/Irish Short Film of the Year was Keeran Anwar Blessie’s “A Fox in the Night.”
Michelle Yeoh was honored with The Dilys Powell Award for Excellence in Film and was presented the award by Danny Boyle at the end of the ceremony.
Yeoh delivered a six-minute speech during which she paid tribute to pioneering British film critic Powell after whom the award is named. Describing her character in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” Yeoh said: “I saw in her a hero’s journey that so many women, wives, mothers daughters go through. But what I had in most in common with her is that she never gave up. Not on love, not on kindness, and most of all, never on family.”
The awards are given by the 200-member film section of the Critics’ Circle, the U.K.’s longest-standing critics’ organization. The May Fair Hotel was the main sponsor of the event for the 13th year running, and awards sponsors included The House of Koko, MetFilm and Nyman Libson Paul. New sponsors this year included Wild Idol, Gattertop Drinks Co, Black Crowned Gin, Wahooti, Excel Executive and JWP.tv, which livestreamed the ceremony on the Critics’ Circle YouTube channel.
LONDON CRITICS’ CIRCLE 2023 WINNERS
FILM OF THE YEAR
FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM OF THE YEAR (tie)
“Decision to Leave”
“The Quiet Girl” (“An Cailín Ciúin”)
DOCUMENTARY OF THE YEAR
“All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”
The Attenborough Award:
BRITISH/IRISH FILM OF THE YEAR
“The Banshees of Inisherin”
DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR sponsored by The House of Koko
Todd Field – “Tár”
SCREENWRITER OF THE YEAR
Martin McDonagh – “The Banshees of Inisherin”
ACTRESS OF THE YEAR sponsored by Nyman Libson Paul
Cate Blanchett – “Tár”
ACTOR OF THE YEAR sponsored by The House of Koko
Colin Farrell – “The Banshees of Inisherin”
SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR
Kerry Condon – “The Banshees of Inisherin”
SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR
Barry Keoghan – “The Banshees of Inisherin”
BRITISH/IRISH ACTRESS OF THE YEAR for body of work
Florence Pugh – “Don’t Worry Darling,” “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish,” “The Wonder”
BRITISH/IRISH ACTOR OF THE YEAR for body of work
Bill Nighy – “Living”
The Philip French Award:
BREAKTHROUGH BRITISH/IRISH FILMMAKER sponsored by MetFilm
Charlotte Wells – “Aftersun”
YOUNG BRITISH/IRISH PERFORMER
Frankie Corio – “Aftersun”
BRITISH/IRISH SHORT FILM OF THE YEAR
“A Fox in the Night” – dir. Keeran Anwar Blessie
TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio” – Guillermo del Toro and Brian Leif Hansen, animation
DILYS POWELL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN FILM