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‘Her’ wins best picture honors from Austin critics

Matthew Odam
modam@statesman.com
Joaquin Phoenix stars in Spike Jonze’s ‘Her,’ which earned four awards, including best picture of the year, from the Austin Film Critics Association.

The Austin Film Critics Association named writer-director Spike Jonze’s romantic drama “Her” the best film of 2013. The movie stars Joaquin Phoenix as a man living in the near future who falls in love with his computer operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). Jonze also won best original screenplay honors for the unique story that encapsulates the way in which technology has infiltrated our personal lives. Johnansson, whom the audience never sees in the movie, won a Special Honorary Award for her vocal performance. “Her” isn’t scheduled to open in Austin until January.

Steve McQueen’s agonizing “12 Years a Slave” was named the year’s second best film, followed by director Alfonso Cuaron’s “Gravity,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Cuaron won best director honors, and his cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki was recognized for his work on the science-fiction drama starring Sandra Bullock.

Films with Austin ties also made the top 10, with Jeff Nichols’ “Mud” ranking seventh, just ahead of Richard Linklater’s “Before Midnight,” which won the Austin Film Award. “Dallas Buyers Club,” which stars Matthew McConaughey,” was ninth on the list, which also included “Short Term 12” (6) and “Captain Phillips” (10).

Chiwetel Ejiofor was named best actor for his performance in “12 Years a Slave,” and his co-star, Lupita Nyong’o, was named best supporting actress. The film also earned John Ridley top honors for best adapted screenplay.

Actress Brie Larson won best actress for her role in the troubled-youth drama “Short Term 12” and was also named Robert R. “Bobby” McCurdy Memorial Breakthrough Artist Award for her roles in “Short Term 12,” “The Spectacular Now” and “Don Jon.” Best supporting actor went to Jared Leto for “Dallas Buyers Club.”

Other winners include “The Act of Killing” for best documentary, “Fruitvale Station” for best first film, “Blue Is the Warmest Color” for best foreign language film and “Frozen” for best animated film.

For a complete list of winners, visit Austin360.com/MovieBlog.

A classics education

Film class will be in session at the Paramount and State Theatres beginning in January. In preparation for its 100th anniversary, the Paramount Theatre will launch a classic cinema series “Paramount100: A Century of Cinema.”

The celluloid stroll through cinema history kicks off in January with a roster of early silent films and runs into the middle of 2015. The first three months will feature silent classics such as Charlie Chaplin’s “The Kid” and F.W. Murnau’s horror “Nosferatu.” The first segment of the program runs until May 24, taking audiences up to 1939. Badges for the series, curated by Paramount Theatre film programmer Stephen Jannise, are $99 ($84 for Paramount Film Fans). Individual tickets will be on sale starting in January.

The program will run concurrently with the Summer Classics Series, touching on movies from the 1940s and ’50s, before returning in the fall for movies from the 1960s and ’70s that will screen through the end of the year. The beginning of 2015 will feature movies from the 1980s and ’90s, with the series extending until the beginning of that summer’s annual classic series.

“As I began to think about how we could celebrate the classic film tradition at the Paramount, I realized this would be the perfect opportunity to present a chronological tribute to film history at the Paramount and Stateside Theatres,” Jannise said. “With the screenings spaced out over a year and a half, we’ll be able to really dig into these silver screen classics and marvel at the steady progression of cinematic language, one landmark at a time.”

For more details on “Paramount100: A Century of Cinema,” visit AustinTheatre.org.

AFF accepting submissions

The Austin Film Festival is now accepting entries in its screenplay/teleplay and film competitions. Previous screenplay competition winners include Brian Weakland (dramatic) and Brian Siegele (science-fiction), who both signed with Madhouse Entertainment after their wins this year. Several screenplay competition alumni, including 2011 semifinalist Sigurd Ueland and 2000 semifinalist Herschel Faber, have returned to the fest to screen feature films. AFF takes place Oct. 23-30 next year. For more information on entering the competitions, visit AustinFilmFestival.com.

Alamo’s favorites

The Alamo Drafthouse will launch the “Alamo 100” in 2014, a curated list of the programming team’s 100 favorite films.

Drafthouses across the country will screen selections from the list throughout 2014. Moviegoers should expect diversity, cult favorites and some left-field selections from a list that Drafthouse co-founder Tim League says “gets to the heart of why we really love movies.” One week you may see Billy Wilder’s lovely “The Apartment” and the next, satirical Japanese murder mystery “Hausu.”

The series begins in January with screenings of “Brazil,” “City Lights,” “The Goonies,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” “Raging Bull,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Sixteen Candles.”

To view the full list of films and find screening dates, visit Alamo100.com.

Longhorn wins doc award

The International Documentary Association earlier this month awarded University of Texas Radio, Television and Film program alumnus Elizabeth Chatelain with the David L. Wolper Student Documentary award. Chatelain, who received her master’s degree from UT earlier this year, won for her film “My Sister Sarah,” which follows her sister’s road to recovery from methamphetamine addiction. The film was directed and produced by Chatelain with cinematography by E.J. Enriquez, another former UT RTF student.