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Awards Season

Houston film critics honor 12 Years a Slave and Gravity as top picks

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Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Sandra Bullock in Gravity Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 years a slave film
Chiwetel Ejilfor in 12 Years A Slave Courtesy of TheFilmChair.com
Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave
Lupita Nyong'o in 12 Years A Slave Photo courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures
Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer's Club
Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer's Club Photo courtesy of Focus Features
Dallas International Film Festival, Twenty Feet from Stardom
A scene from 20 Feet From Stardom Photo courtesy of Dallas International Film Festival
Sundance Film Festival, Houston, Ulrich Tukur, January 2013Sundance Film Festival, Houston, Ulrich Tukur, January 2013
Houston is among the nominees for the Texas Independent Film Award. Photo courtesy of Lichtblick Media
Sandra Bullock in Gravity
Chiwetel Ejiofor in 12 years a slave film
Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto in Dallas Buyer's Club
Dallas International Film Festival, Twenty Feet from Stardom
Sundance Film Festival, Houston, Ulrich Tukur, January 2013Sundance Film Festival, Houston, Ulrich Tukur, January 2013

Members of the Houston Film Critics Society divided their love between 12 Years a Slave and Gravity in their annual awards. The critics picked Slave as the best film of 2013 and honored Chiwetel Ejiofor as Best Actor, Lupita Nyong'o as Best Supporting Actress, and John Ridley for Best Screenplay. The film, a harrowing look at slavery in pre-Civil War America, is based on a memoir by Solomon Northup.

Gravity, the ultimate "lost in space" movie, picked up five awards, including Best Actress Sandra Bullock and Best Director Alfonso Cuaron. 

 12 Years a Slave took four awards including Best Picture, while Gravity picked up five awards, including a Best Actress award to Sandra Bullock.   

“These two movies for us represent not just the best film had to offer this year but also the great variety of film being produced, from incredible pieces of spectacle to the minimalism of Slave,” HFCS President Joshua Starnes said in a press release announcing the picks. “This was the closest the voting for director has been in the HFCS’ history.”

Other major awards went to Jared Leto as Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, Disney’s Frozen for Best Animated Film, Denmark's The Hunt as Best Foreign Film and 20 Feet From Stardom as Best Documentary.

"Please Mr. Kennedy" from the Coen Bros.’ Inside Llewyn Davis was named Best Original Song while Adam Sandler received his second Worst Film award for Grown Ups 2.

The awards, which will be presented at the Museum of Fine Arts-Houston on Jan. 4, include a special tribute to Eric Harrison, the former chief film critic for the Houston Chronicle, and a founding member of the HFCS, who passed away on Nov. 16. 

The Coen Brothers will be the recipients of the HFCS Lifetime Achievement Award and Edward James Olmos will receive the HFCS Humanitarian of the Year Award.

The third annual Texas Independent Film Award will also be awarded to one of these nominees:

  • John Wager’s Comedy Warriors, about returning Iraq and Afghanistan veterans taking to stand-up comedy to adjust to their war injuries,
  • Bastian Gunther’s Houston, about an alcoholic executive recruiter coming to grips with his problems while scouring the titular city for a fortune 500 CEO to hire,
  • David Gordon Green’s meditative comedy Prince Avalanche,
  • An Unreal Dream, the award winning documentary about Michael Morton’s fight against his conviction for his wife’s murder,
  • Zero Charisma, a favorite at the South By Southwest Film Festival.

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