Women Critics Circle Loves ‘The Help,’ Hates Lars von Trier for Some Reason

The Women Film Critics Circle released its list of 2011 nominees and winners for the year’s best (and worst) movies by women and about women. The association of “57 women film critics and scholars from around the country and internationally” named The Help as the year’s best “Movie about Women” and named its star Viola Davis as giving the best female performance of 2011. Lynne Ramsay and Phyllida Lloyd split the vote evenly to win the WFCC’s “Best Movie by a Woman” award.

Other noteworthy honors went to Bridesmaids‘ Melissa McCarthy (who beat out her costar Kristen Wiig for Best Comedic  Actress) and Glenn Close, whose Albert Nobbs performance garnered the WFCC’s “Courage in Acting” award. The Descendants, the story of a father coping with his comatose wife’s infidelity, won the Circle’s awards for “Best Male Images in a Movie,” “Best Actor” (George Clooney) and “Best Young Actress” (Shailene Woodley & Amara Miller).

But surely the WFCC’s most noteworthy and inspired awards were their picks for movies they felt represented women rather poorly this year (they had a lot to choose from). Lars von Trier, everybody’s favorite misogynist, won the “Worst Female Images” award with his film Melancholia, beating out Jack & Jill, My Week with Marylin and Young Adult. The “Worst Male Images” prize went to The Hangover: Part 2, jumping ahead of fellow nominees Straw Dogs, The Skin I Live In, and No Strings Attached.

The full list of 2011 WFCC winners can be read below (with winners listed at the top of each respective category). Click here to access the Women Film Critics Circle’s website.

BEST MOVIE BY A WOMAN

  • WINNERS: The Iron Lady & We Need To Talk About Kevin (tie)
  • Pariah
  • The Whistleblower

BEST MOVIE ABOUT WOMEN

  • WINNER: The Help
  • Albert Nobbs
  • Cracks
  • Rid Of Me

BEST WOMAN STORYTELLER (Screenwriting Award)

  • WINNER: The Iron Lady, Abi Morgan
  • In The Land Of Blood And Honey, Angelina Jolie
  • Pariah, Dee Reese
  • We Need To Talk About Kevin, Lynne Ramsay

BEST ACTRESS

  • WINNER: Viola Davis, The Help
  • Jessica Chastain, The Debt/The Help
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

BEST ACTOR

  • WINNER: George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Tom Hardy, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy & Warrior
  • Ryan Gosling, Drive & The Ides Of March

BEST COMEDIC ACTRESS

  • WINNER: Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Katie O’Grady, Rid Of Me
  • Sarah Jessica Parker, I Don’t Know How She Does It
  • Kristen Wiig, Bridesmaids

BEST YOUNG ACTRESS

  • WINNER: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants
  • Jordana Beatty, Judy Moody
  • Liana Liberato, Trust
  • Amara Miller, The Descendants

BEST FOREIGN FILM BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

  • WINNER: The Hedgehog
  • A Separation
  • In The Land Of Blood And Honey
  • When We Leave

BEST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE

  • WINNER: The Whistleblower
  • Albert Nobbs
  • The Iron Lady
  • Soul Surfer

WORST FEMALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE

  • WINNER: Melancholia
  • Jack And Jill
  • My Week With Marilyn
  • Young Adult

BEST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE

  • WINNER: The Descendants
  • 50/50
  • Meet Monica Velour
  • Of Gods And Men

WORST MALE IMAGES IN A MOVIE

  • WINNER: Hangover 2
  • No Strings Attached
  • The Skin I Live In
  • Straw Dogs

BEST DOCUMENTARIES BY OR ABOUT WOMEN

  • WINNER: Always Faithful
  • The Price Of Sex
  • The Woman With The Five Elephants
  • Women Art Revolution

BEST FAMILY FILM

  • WINNER: Hugo
  • Judy Moody
  • The Muppets
  • The Adventures of Tintin

BEST ANIMATED FEMALES

  • WINNER: Puss N Boots 3D
  • Arthur Christmas
  • Gnomeo And Juliet
  • Kung Fu Panda 2

BEST EQUALITY OF THE SEXES

  • WINNER: The Debt
  • The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
  • The Iron Lady
  • Midnight In Paris

COURAGE IN ACTING (Taking on unconventional roles that radically redefine the images of women on screen)

  • WINNER: Glenn Close, Albert Nobbs
  • Josiane Balasko, The Hedgehog
  • Mimi Chakarova, The Price Of Sex
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need To Talk About Kevin

THE INVISIBLE WOMAN AWARD (Performance by a woman whose exceptional impact on the film dramatically, socially or historically, has been ignored)

  • WINNERS: Miral, Hiram Abbass & Meeks Cutoff, Michelle Williams (tie)
  • Danai Gurira, 3 Backyards
  • Red Shirley

WOMEN’S WORK: BEST ENSEMBLE

  • WINNER: The Help
  • Albert Nobbs
  • Bridesmaids
  • The Whistleblower

BEST SCREEN COUPLE

  • WINNER: The Artist, Berenice Bejo and Jean Dujardin
  • Gnomeo And Juliet
  • The Iron Lady
  • Like Crazy

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

  • WINNERS: Kathy Bates & Cicely Tyson (tie)
  • Hiam Abbass
  • Michelle Yeoh

ACTING AND ACTIVISM

  • WINNER: Elizabeth Taylor
  • Mia Farrow
  • Daryl Hannah
  • Alfre Woodard

ADRIENNE SHELLY AWARD (For a film that most passionately opposes violence against women)

  • WINNER: The Whistleblower
  • In A Better World
  • In The Land Of Blood And Honey
  • Life, Above All

JOSEPHINE BAKER AWARD (For best expressing the woman of color experience in America)

  • WINNER: The Help
  • America
  • Pariah
  • 3 Backyards

KAREN MORLEY AWARD (For best exemplifying a woman’s place in history or society, and a courageous search for identity)

  • WINNER: Albert Nobbs
  • The Conspirator
  • Meek’s Cutoff
  • Snow Flower And The Secret Fan

MOMMIE DEAREST WORST SCREEN MOM OF THE YEAR AWARD

  • WINNER: Judi Dench, J. Edgar

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  • Jose

    Von Trier may be a mysoginist, but the women in his films are a whole lot more interesting than the ones in such films like The Help.

    And they awarded Jessica Chastain for only two films, why not also Take Shelter?

    • Personally, I think ‘Take Shelter’ might have Chastain’s best performance of the year, but it seems to be one of the least embraced. I think if she is to get a nomination it will be for ‘The Help.’

  • i didn’t even knew WFCC existed but yeah i knew they’ll love The Help. I wont be able to explain it well but i can understand why they hated women in melancholia. some really interesting choices i must say.

  • Elisabeth

    One can only laugh when they pick melancholia as the worst female image. I suppose they refer to the character Justine played wonderfully by Kirsten Dunst.

    Laughable decision but also very sad for this so called Film Critics Circle.

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