‘Parasite’ occupies top spot at 18th annual Columbus Film Critics Association awards

Columbus Film Critics Association logo

Director/co-writer Bong Joon-ho’s Parasite (Gisaengchung) has been named Best Film in the Columbus Film Critics Association’s 18th annual awards, which recognize excellence in the film industry for 2019. The thrilling film about a struggling family that schemes to obtain lucrative jobs in a wealthy household also claimed three other awards. Parasite was named Best Foreign Language Film, and Bong was honored as Best Director and for Best Original Screenplay with his co-writer Han Jin-won.

Two other individuals won multiple awards. Adam Driver was named Best Actor for Marriage Story and Actor of the Year, which recognizes his exemplary 2019 body of work that also consists of The Dead Don’t Die, The Report and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker. Florence Pugh was tabbed as Best Supporting Actress for Little Women and Breakthrough Film Artist for her performance in that film as well as in Fighting With My Family and Midsommar.

Columbus-area critics lauded Best Film runner-up Knives Out with Best Ensemble and Bob Ducsay for Best Film Editing. Us also won two awards with Lupita Nyong’o selected as Best Actress and Michael Abels honored for Best Score. In addition to Pugh’s Best Supporting Actress win, Little Women’s other prize went to Greta Gerwig for Best Adapted Screenplay. Other individuals commended for their achievements include Best Supporting Actor Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse) and Roger Deakins (1917) for Best Cinematography.

Other winners were: Best Documentary Apollo 11; Best Animated Film Toy Story 4; and Best Overlooked Film The Last Black Man in San Francisco.

Founded in 2002, the Columbus Film Critics Association, formerly the Central Ohio Film Critics Association, comprises film critics based in Columbus, Ohio, and its surrounding areas. Its membership consists of 28 print, radio, television and online critics. COFCA’s official website at www.cofca.org contains links to member reviews and past award winners.

Winners were announced at a private party on Jan. 2.

Complete list of awards:

Best Film
1. Parasite (Gisaengchung)
2. Knives Out
3. 1917
4. Little Women
5. Marriage Story
6. The Farewell
7. Once Upon a Time… in Hollywood
8. The Irishman
9. Uncut Gems
10. Jojo Rabbit

Best Director
-Bong Joon-ho, Parasite (Gisaengchung)
-Runner-up: Sam Mendes, 1917

Best Actor
-Adam Driver, Marriage Story
-Runner-up: Adam Sandler, Uncut Gems

Best Actress
-Lupita Nyong’o, Us
-Runner-up: Florence Pugh, Midsommar

Best Supporting Actor
-Willem Dafoe, The Lighthouse
-Runner-up: Joe Pesci, The Irishman

Best Supporting Actress
-Florence Pugh, Little Women
-Runner-up: Scarlett Johansson, Jojo Rabbit

Best Ensemble
Knives Out
-Runner-up: Parasite (Gisaengchung)

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
-Adam Driver (The Dead Don’t Die, Marriage Story, The Report and Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker)
-Runner-up: Florence Pugh (Fighting with My Family, Little Women and Midsommar)

Breakthrough Film Artist
-Florence Pugh (Fighting with My Family, Little Women and Midsommar) – (for acting)
-Runner-up: Joe Talbot, The Last Black Man in San Francisco – (for directing, producing and screenwriting)

Best Cinematography
-Roger Deakins, 1917
-Runner-up: Jarin Blaschke, The Lighthouse

Best Film Editing
-Bob Ducsay, Knives Out
-Runner-up: Lee Smith, 1917

Best Adapted Screenplay
-Greta Gerwig, Little Women
-Runner-up: Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Best Original Screenplay
-Bong Joon-ho and Han Jin-won, Parasite (Gisaengchung)
-Runner-up: Rian Johnson, Knives Out

Best Score
-Michael Abels, Us
-Runner-up: Thomas Newman, 1917

Best Documentary
Apollo 11
-Runner-up: American Factory

Best Foreign Language Film
Parasite (Gisaengchung)
-Runner-up: Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Portrait de la jeune fille en feu)

Best Animated Film
Toy Story 4
-Runner-up: I Lost My Body (J’ai perdu mon corps)

Best Overlooked Film
The Last Black Man in San Francisco
-Runner-up: Ready or Not

COFCA offers its congratulations to the winners.

Previous Best Film winners:

2002: Punch-Drunk Love
2003: Lost in Translation
2004: Million Dollar Baby
2005: A History of Violence
2006: Children of Men
2007: No Country for Old Men
2008: WALL·E
2009: Up in the Air
2010: Inception
2011: Drive
2012: Moonrise Kingdom
2013: Gravity
2014: Selma
2015: Spotlight
2016: La La Land
2017: Lady Bird
2018: If Beale Street Could Talk

For more information about the Columbus Film Critics Association, please visit www.cofca.orgor e-mail info@cofca.org.

Uncovering the CIA’s torture coverup

The Report - Still 1
Daniel Jones (Adam Driver) takes on the task of investigating the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in The Report.

By Richard Ades

About three-quarters of the way through The Report, I had a sudden urge to re-watch Z. Like Costa-Gavras’s 1969 political thriller, the new film is about a dogged effort to uncover a vast, bureaucratic lie.

Written and directed by Scott C. Burns, The Report is based on an actual congressional investigation into the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” in the post-9/11 war on terrorism. Adam Driver stars as Daniel Jones, who in 2007 is hired by Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein (Annette Bening) to lead the investigation.

It proves to be a slow and nearly impossible task. Because the CIA is offering minimal cooperation, Jones’s team must uncover the evidence one piece at a time by looking through the records surrounding terrorist suspects who fell into the agency’s custody. All the while, team members are assaulted with the charge that they’re being unpatriotic.

Torture was necessary, officials tell them, in order to save lives by uncovering terrorist plots before they could be carried out. But as the years pass, Jones begins gathering evidence that torture was actually ineffective and even counterproductive.

Unlike the exciting, sometimes satirical Z, The Report is filmed in a low-key docudrama style that takes us step-by-step through Jones’s search for the truth. It takes breaks from that search only in the form of painful flashbacks to the years when suspects were subjected to waterboarding and other forms of torture supposedly based on scientific research.

The Report (2019)
Jon Hamm as White House chief of staff Denis McDonough

Through it all, Driver makes Jones a stalwart figure whose commitment to the investigation begins to resemble obsession. Even more interesting is Bening’s Feinstein, who is being pulled in two ways. She clearly wants to uncover the truth, but she is being pressured by the Obama administration—as represented by White House chief of staff Denis McDonough (Jon Hamm)—to let the CIA keep its secrets. After all, the last thing the Democrats need is to be accused of being soft on terrorism.

The resulting clash between conscience and political expediency creates a dramatically satisfying tale that’s also a fascinating piece of history.

Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)

The Report (rated R) opens Nov. 15 at the Gateway Film Center in Columbus.