My second film critic's group, the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle, just wrapped up year-end voting, and I'm pretty happy with the final results, even if the film that came out on top was not my personal first pick. The group as a whole went with No Country for Old Men for the top film -- an excellent film, to be sure, it just wasn't my top choice. The group also went with the Coens for Best Director. I was glad to see Juno way up there in second place. Go, Juno! Side note: Roger Ebert is totally boss for making Juno his #1 pick, over the many oh-so-serious choices among all the excellent films this year. He's taking some heat for it, but it takes balls to call a quirky little film like Juno your top pick, knowing you're bound to take a heap of crap for it from what Jeff Wells over at Hollywood Elsewhere likes to call the "smarty pants" crowd because you didn't put No Country at the top of your list like everyone else.

Juno also scored marks from the OFCC for Ellen Page, as Best Breakthrough Performance (expected that one) and as Best Actress (she was my pick for that, but I've been on the minority on that category generally, so glad to see others felt as strong about her performance as I did). Rounding out the top five films were Zodiac (great film), Atonement (meh), and Michael Clayton ( I can live with that one). The top three films are all in my own top five, so I'm glad to see them make a strong showing with this group. Best Actor went to George Clooney for Michael Clayton; I have no quibbles with that one, as I generally enjoyed that film and think Clooney's performance in it is largely under-appreciated. Best Supporting nods went to Amy Ryan for Gone Baby Gone and Javier Bardem for No Country for Old Men.

The complete press release, including a list of all the awards, is after the jump ... OKLAHOMA FILM CRITICS CIRCLE

NEWS RELEASE December 23, 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Announces

Second Annual Slate of Film Awards

The Oklahoma Film Critics Circle has announced its second annual list of awards for achievement in film, paying tribute to the best in film for 2007 and naming those films that disappointed.

"The 17 Oklahoma film critics belonging to OFCC agree 2007 has been the strongest year in several for really fine films and strong performances," said Kathryn Jenson White, founding president of the critics' organization that came into being in early 2006. "Major studios and independent film units surprised and delighted us; of course, some of the products from those same studios were pretty disappointing. These awards represent our consensus."

Members of OFCC write for print and online outlets in Oklahoma that consistently publish or post developed critical responses to current film releases: The Oklahoman, the Tulsa World, the Oklahoma Gazette, Urban Tulsa Weekly, AOL Cinematical, Distinctly Oklahoma and hnokc.com.

"The honorees this year were pretty decided in all categories, but those who came in second were the favorites of many" Jenson White said. "Our voting system led to strong leads for Juno's Ellen Page as both Best Actress and Breakout Performance. However, Julie Christie in Away From Her had passionate support from several. While George Clooney's performance in Michael Clayton was excellent, members pushed, too, for Phillip Seymour Hoffman in Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and Viggo Mortensen in Eastern Promises. In Best Picture and Best Director categories, the voting was extremely strong for Ethan Coen and Joel Coen and their film, No Country for Old Men. Also in the OFCC Top 10 films were Juno, Zodiac, Before the Devil Knows You're Dead and The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, the film that won the group's Best Documentary award.

"While 2007 ended as a strong year for fine films and outstanding performances, OFCC member critics also found many films ranging from disappointing to infuriating. As Obvious Worst Film of the Year, they named Norbit but came up with another 38 contenders. In the Not-So-Obviously Worst Film of the Year they named Youth Without Youth, Francis Ford Coppola's long-awaited return from his vineyards to the screen and, in a tie, Bee Movie.

"As professional moviegoers, we see many more unsuccessful films than successful ones," Jenson White said. "The Not-So-Obviously Worst Film category contains films that, as this year's choices show, have great talent behind them but contain some sort of fatal flaw."

Not all of 2007's films opened in Oklahoma before voting took place. Studios arranged press screenings and provided DVDs of many of their films so OFCC members could assess and consider them for year-end awards.

"Studios are beginning to understand that while Oklahoma might not be a major market, it is a state of many dedicated to film, from production to study to viewing," Jenson White said. "Our goal as a group is to continue to make that point in as many ways as we can."

OFCC promotes film in Oklahoma and strives to increase the visibility of the state's film- viewing and filmmaking communities. The film critics of Oklahoma see the majority of the studio and independent films of any given year and write hundreds of reviews of them as individuals. They also choose their personal best-of-the-year films for their individual media outlets.

Oklahoma Film Critics Circle

2007 Film Awards


Top Ten Films

No Country For Old Men

Juno

Zodiac

Atonement

Michael Clayton

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead

King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Gone Baby Gone

Once

Eastern Promises

Best Film of 2007

No Country for Old Men

Best Director(s)

Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, No Country for Old Men

Best First Feature

Ben Affleck, Gone Baby Gone

Best Actress

Ellen Page, Juno

Best Actor

George Clooney, Michael Clayton

Best Supporting Actress

Amy Ryan, Gone Baby Gone

Best Supporting Actor

Javier Bardem, No Country for Old Men

Breakout Performance

Ellen Page, Juno

Best Documentary

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

Best Foreign Film

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Animated Film

Ratatouille

Obviously Worst Film

Norbit

Not-So-Obviously Worst Film

Youth Without Youth/Bee Movie (Tie)