‘Spotlight’ named film of the year by area critics’ group


Spotlight is the best film of the year, according to the Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Assocation.

The movie about the Boston Globe’s Pulitzer Prize-winning expose of sexual abuse of children within the local Catholic church -- starring Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, and Michael Keaton -- has already won best-film honors from other critics’ groups including the Boston Society of Film Critics and the Washington D.C.Area Film Critics Association. Spotlight is nominated for Best Picture at the Golden Globes and is expected to be a major Oscar contender.

Rounding out the DFWFCA’s top ten, released Monday morning, are: The Revenant, Carol, Sicario, Mad Max: Fury Road, The Big Short, The Martian, Room, The Danish Girl, and Brooklyn.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens, perhaps the year’s most anticipated film, is not eligible as it did not screen in time for critical consideration. Also notably missing from the list is The Hateful Eight, the latest from Quentin Tarantino, which was eligible.

In other categories, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu takes the best director honors for The Revenant, his bloody Western starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. This is deja vu for Iñárritu who won last year for Birdman. Following him on the list this year are Thomas McCarthy (Spotlight), George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road), Todd Haynes (Carol), and Dennis Villeneuve (Sicario).

DiCaprio as a man bent on revenge tops the best actor field for The Revenant and he is followed by Michael Fassbender (Steve Jobs), Eddie Redmayne (The Danish Girl), Matt Damon (The Martian), and Johnny Depp (Black Mass).

Brie Larson wins the best actress nod as a mom locked away from society in Room. Others named are Cate Blanchett (Carol), Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn), Charlotte Rampling (45 Years), and a tie between Charlize Theron (Mad Max: Fury Road) and Carey Mulligan (Suffragette).

Paul Dano, playing a young Brian Wilson in Love and Mercy, wins best supporting actor and he is trailed by Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies), Tom Hardy (The Revenant), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), and Benicio del Toro (Sicario).

Rooney Mara, the young woman with whom Cate Blanchett’s character falls in love in the ‘50s-set Carol, is named best supporting actress. Others in the field are Kate Winslet (Steve Jobs), Jennifer Jason Leigh (The Hateful Eight) and Alicia Vikander twice, once for The Danish Girl and once for Ex-Machina.

The Hungarian Holocaust drama Son of Saul won in the foreign-language film category over The Assassin (Taiwan), The Second Mother (Brazil), Mustang (Turkey), and Goodnight Mommy (Austria).

The documentary field is led by Amy, the chronicle of the late singer Amy Winehouse’s tragic life, with The Look of Silence, The Wolfpack, Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, and The Hunting Ground coming in behind.

Unsurprisingly, Pixar’s Inside Out is the best animated film with Anomalisa coming in second. Spotlight writers Tom McCarthy and John Singer bested Room’s Emma Donogue for best screenplay.

Emmanuel Lubezki is the year’s best cinematographer for his work on The Revenant with Edward Lachman (Carol) coming in second.

Best musical score honors goes to Bryce Dessner, Carsten Nicolai, and Ryuichi Sakamoto for The Revenant. It beat out the legendary Ennio Morricone who scored The Hateful Eight.

Tangergine, the low-budget indie shot on the streets of L.A. with an iPhone, nabbed the Russell Smith Award which is given to the year’s best independent film.

The Dallas Fort Worth Film Critics Association consists of 31 North Texas print, broadcast and online journalists. For more information, go to

Cary Darling: 817-390-7571, @carydar