The Southeastern Film Critics Association has named “Spotlight,” a drama about the Boston Globe’s 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation into child molestation within the Catholic Church, best movie of the year.
SEFCA’s members are professional film critics in Louisiana, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Advocate film critic John Wirt is one of the group’s 55 members.
“Spotlight” writer-director Tom McCarthy and co-writer Josh Singer shared SEFCA’s top honor for original screenplay. The film also won top honors in the best ensemble acting category.
Although “Spotlight” finished behind “Mad Max: Fury Road,” the latter film’s director, George Miller, won for best director.
“Spotlight was a clear favorite with our members,” said Philip Martin, SEFCA president and chief film critic at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. “It was an exceptionally deep year, with 99 movies — as opposed to about 80 most years — receiving at least one vote in the poll. But ‘Spotlight’ appeared on 80 percent of the ballots and received 19 No. 1 votes, by far the most of any film. Rarely have we had that sort of consensus about the top film.”
Bryan Cranston won the group’s best actor award for his work in “Trumbo.” The biopic about the blacklisted, Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was shot in New Orleans.
SEFCA awarded its best actress honor to Brie Larson for her performance in the abduction drama “Room.”
Sylvester Stallone received a best supporting actor nod for “Creed” in the widely praised “Rocky.” Alicia Vikander was voted best supporting actress for sci-fi drama “Ex Machina.”
“It’s interesting to note that five actors — Michael Keaton, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Mark Ruffalo and Liev Schreiber — received votes in the best supporting actor category for their work in ‘Spotlight,’ ” Martin noted. “Keaton also received a vote in the Best Actor category.”
The group’s Wyatt Award, named in memory of SEFCA charter member Gene Wyatt and awarded annually to the film that best captures the spirit of the South, went to the documentary “Finders Keepers,” Bryan Carberry and Clay Tweel’s bizarre story about a dispute over a North Carolina man’s amputated foot.
2. Mad Max: Fury Road
6. The Big Short
7. The Martian
8. Inside Out
9. Bridge of Spies
Winner: Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Runner-up: Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
Winner: Brie Larson, Room
Runner-up: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
Best Supporting Actor
Winner: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Runner-up: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Best Supporting Actress
Winner: Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
Runner-up: Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Runner-up: The Big Short
Winner: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Runner-up: Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
Best Original Screenplay
Winner: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer for Spotlight
Runner-up: Bob Petersen, Pete Docter for Inside Out
Best Adapted Screenplay
Winner: Emma Donoghue for Room
Runner-up: Charles Randolph and Adam McKay for The Big Short
Runner-up: Best of Enemies
Winner: Son of Saul
Runner-up: The Assassin
Best Animated Film
Winner: Inside Out
Winner: John Seale for Mad Max: Fury Road
Runner-up: Luca Bigazzi for Youth
The Gene Wyatt Award for the Film that Best Evokes the Spirit of the South