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The year's best films are still to come, according to critics

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Culture & Entertainment

The year's best films are still to come, according to critics

[caption id="attachment_17844" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence in "American Hustle"[/caption] The end-of-year awards season is officially upon us. Over the past few days, major critics groups from New York, Los Angeles and Boston announced their picks for the best films of the year, and it’s kind of fascinating to see how diverse the selections are. The most commonly cited film, not surprisingly, is the excellent, totally deserving 12 Years a Slave, which is all but guaranteed some hardware at the Oscars next February. But the most exciting thing about all these critics’ prizes is that so many of them are going to films that haven’t been released yet, which means that the last few weeks of the year are sure to be filled with good stuff. The first critics group to announce its picks, The New York Film Critics Circle, gave 12 Years a Slave the best director prize, but chose David O. Russell’s much-anticipated follow-up to Silver Linings Playbook, the ’70s-set comedy-drama American Hustle, for best picture . The movie is loosely based on a real-life FBI sting investigation, and it features Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, and Jennifer Lawrence in ridiculously tacky ’70s get-ups. The NYFCC also gave American Hustle the prize for best screenplay and awarded Jennifer Lawrence the prize for best supporting actress. The movie hits theatres December 20. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association announced a tie for best picture, naming both Gravity (which came out in October and has been a huge box office hit) and the upcoming Her (which opens in Toronto on Dec. 18 and in the rest of the country on Jan. 10). Written and directed by the iconoclastic Spike Jonze ( Being John Malkovich, Adaptation), it’s about a writer (Joaquin Phoenix) living in the near future who falls in love with his Siri-like operating system (voiced by Scarlett Johansson). The trailer for Her looks beautiful and funny and sad all at once. As for the Boston Society of Film Critics, they went with 12 Years a Slave, but they also made a point of noting that Martin Scorsese’s upcoming Wolf of Wall Street—which stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a corrupt, partying stockbroker—was a very close second. (In fact, not all of the voting members were able to see the film in time, which means it might well have taken the top prize.) Wolf of Wall Street hits theatres everywhere on Christmas day. (Kind of an odd choice for holiday viewing, but whatever.) And finally, the Coen Brothers’ upcoming Inside Llewyn Davis—about the New York folk scene in the days before Bob Dylan arrived—may not have nabbed any of the top prizes, but it received lots of runner-up mentions, specifically for its cinematography, art design and music. Plus, the reviews have been outstanding, so it should definitely be added to your holiday must-see list.
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The year's best films are still to come, according to critics

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