Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

The Dublin Film Critics Circle plumps for Gravity

The annual poll by the DFCC comes down for Alfonso Cuarón’s space drama, Bruce Dern, Cate Blanchett, Good Vibrations and others

Wed, Dec 18, 2013, 22:44


Obviously, there are polls galore at this time of year. The world swells with critics’ bodies keen on pressing home their competing values. But you need not stray to New York or Los Angeles to discover interesting chat on the finest films of 2013. Each year the Dublin Film Critics Circle — headed by our own Tara Brady — ploughs through the best (and, briefly, the worst) films to allow you some sort of easily digestible summary. The rules are similar to many such bodies, but we have our own eccentricities and (I would argue) our own determined principles. For example, we stubbornly stick to a practice of not allowing a tie to occupy more than one place in the chart. As a result, there are more than 10 films in each top 10. Sue us; we like to be as inclusive as possible. One other thing is worth noting. Certain other (ahem) bodies in these islands — keen to ape the Oscars, I fear — have taken to allowing in films not released within the territories during the past twelvemonth. If we did that we could include, say, Inside Llewyn Davis and 12 Years a Slave. That seems slightly barmy. Our list relates only to those films released within Ireland from January to December. “This year’s poll included more films, more directors, more nominations across the board than ever before,” Tara tells us. “The spread either indicates a vintage year or a confusing one. There were duplicates and doubles all over the shop – Linklater vs Linklater for Bernie and Before Midnight, DiCaprio vs DiCaprio for Gatsby and Django, Hanks vs Hanks for Captain P and Mr D.”

YouTube Preview Image

The results from the Dublin jury threw up a few surprises. But the big prize was not really in doubt. Gravity, winner of best film, has managed a rare double whammy of critical raves and box-office success. Second place was taken by Paolo Sorrentino’s exhaustingly beautiful, Fellinesque The Great Beauty. Unsurprisingly, Cuarón and Sorrentino took, respectively, gold and silver medals in the best director competition. A number of current Oscar favourites popped up elsewhere. Cate Blanchett was named best actress for Blue Jasmine. Bruce Dern takes the (virtual) best actor gong for Nebraska. Emmanuel Lubezki won best cinematography for his work on Gravity and Terence Malick’s To The Wonder. The stunning Act of Killing – a film that reinvented the medium – ran away with best documentary. And best screenplay went the way of Richard Linklater’s greatly admired Before Midnight. To no great surprise, the crowd-pleasing Good Vibrations took best Irish film comfortably. Pilgrim Hill and Citadel shared second place in that domestic competition. Blue is the Warmest Colour did not figure quite so significantly as expected, but Adele Exarchopoulos, star of the film, did take best newcomer.

It’s worth perusing the lower levels to savour some interesting, otherwise overlooked pleasures. Don’t forget Paulina Garcia’s brilliant performance in Gloria. Seek out Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story.

We would urge perusal of our breakthrough section. We have already mentioned Joshua Oppenheimer’s astonishing achievement with The Act of Killing. But Lake Bell‘s In a World… also deserved recognition. It was a new kind of comedy and it worked.

The full results can be found below…


1.     Gravity

2.     The Great Beauty

3.     Act of Killing

4.     Blue is the Warmest Colour

5.     Before Midnight

6.     Behind the Candelabra

7.     Django Unchained

8.     Beyond the Hills

9.     Selfish Giant/Blue Jasmine/Zero Dark Thirty

10.   What Maisie Knew


1.     Alfonso Cuarón (Gravity)

2.     Paolo Sorrentino (The Great Beauty)

3.     Clio Barnard (The Selfish Giant)

4.     Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty); Abdellatif Kechiche (Blue is the Warmest Colour); Steven Soderbergh (Behind the Candleabra); Quentin Tarantino (Django Unchained)

5.     Ben Wheatley (A Field in England)

6.     Richard Linklater (Before Midnight)

7.     Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines)

8.     Shane Carruth (Upstream Colour)

9.     Cristian Mungiu (Beyond the Hills)

10.   Joshua Oppenheimer (Act of Killing); Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine)


1.     Before Midnight

2.     The Great Beauty

3.     Nebraska; Django Unchained

4.     Blue Jasmine

5.     Blue is the Warmest Colour

6.     The Place Beyond the Pines

7.     Prisoners

8.     Compliance

9.     Mud

10.   Selfish Giant; Behind the Candelabra


1.     Bruce Dern (Nebraska)

2.     Tom Hanks (Captain Phillips)

3.     Michael Douglas (Behind the Candelabra)

4.     Daniel Day-Lewis (Lincoln)

5.     Toni Servillo (The Great Beauty)

6.     Matthew McConaughey (Mud)

7.     Hugh Jackman (Prisoners)

8.     Leonardo DiCaprio (Django Unchained); Brady Corbet (Simon Killer)

9.     Ethan Hawke (Before Midnight); Daniel Bruhl (Rush)

10.   Gael Garcia Bernal (No)


1.     Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine)

2.     Adéle Exarchopoulos (Blue is the Warmest Colour)

3.     Judi Dench (Philomena)

4.     Emma Thompson (Saving Mr Banks)/Julie Delpy (Before Midnight)

5.     Paulina Garcia (Gloria)

6.     Rooney Mara (Ain’t them Bodies Saints), Sandra Bullock (Gravity)

7.     Greta Gerwig (Frances Ha)

8.     Julianne Moore (What Maisie Saw), Emilie Dequeene (Our Children)

9.     Lake Bell (In a World…)

10.   Onata Aprile (What Maisie Said)


1.     Emmanuel Lubezki (Gravity, To the Wonder)

2.     Luca Bigazzi (The Great Beauty)

3.     Roger Deakins (Prisoners)

4.     Sean Bobbit (The Place Beyond the Pines)

5.     Bradford Young (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints)

6.     Larry Smith (Only God Forgives)

7.     Phedon Papamichael (Nebraska) Simon Duggan (The Great Gatsby)

8.     Benoit Debie (Spring Breakers)

9.     Mike Eley (The Selfish Giant) Barry Ackroyd (Captain Phillips)

10.   Sergio Armstrong (No) Oleg Mutu (Beyond the Hills)


1.     Act of Killing

2.     Blackfish

3.     West of Memphis

4.     Far Out Isn’t Far Enough: The Tomi Ungerer Story

5.     The Summit

6.     We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks

7.     McCullin

8.     Beware of Mr Baker

9.     The Gatekeepers

10.   Michael H – Profession: Director


1.     Good Vibrations

2.     Pilgrim Hill; Citadel

3.     Broken Song

4.     The Irish Pub

5.     The Summit

6.     Life’s a Breeze

7.     The Hardy Bucks Movie

8.     Very Extremely Dangerous

9.     Jump; Black Ice

10.   Kelly & Victor


Adele Exarchopoulos


Lake Bell

Joshua Oppenheimer

Those eligible to vote are Esther McCarthy, Tara Brady, John Maguire, Paul Whitington, George Byrne, Brogen Hayes, Gavin Burke, Daniel Anderson, Donald Clarke, Declan Burke, Nicola Timmons, David O’Mahony, Roe McDermott, Michael Doherty, Joe Griffin, Rory Cashin, Brian Lloyd, Kevin Fennell, Sue Murphy, Hilary White