'Roma,' 'The Favourite' named 2018's best films by Southeastern Film Critics

By Published: December 18, 2018 2:40 PM CT

Fifty-six voters from nine Southern states named “Roma,” director Alfonso Cuaron’s autobiographically influenced return to his native Mexico, the best film of 2018 in annual voting of the Southeastern Film Critics Association.

It marks perhaps the first poll winner in the organization’s history to not get a theatrical release in Memphis. Cuaron’s film had a small, limited theatrical debut this month but began streaming on Netflix on Friday, December 14th, making it the most high-profile feature film to be a Netflix product.

Cuaron, probably best known for his English-language films “Children of Men” and “Gravity,” was also named best director and best cinematographer (he shot the black and white film himself) by SEFCA.

Best film runner-up "The Favourite," currently showing in Memphis, picked up best actress (Olivia Colman), best ensemble, and best original screenplay.

“If Beale Street Could Talk,” which made its Memphis debut at this fall’s Indie Memphis Film Festival and which will have its full theatrical release in Memphis on January 4th, made the SEFCA Top 10, with co-star Regina King named best supporting actress.

The annual “Gene Wyatt Award” for film that “best evokes the spirit of the South” went to “Green Book,” a Southern travelogue of sorts about navigating racism and racial discrimination in the 1960s, co-starring Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. “Blaze,” director Ethan Hawke’s depiction of late Texas country singer Blaze Foley, was the “Gene Wyatt Award” runner-up.

The full SEFCA results for 2018 are below, followed by my ballot as a SEFCA voter:

Southeastern Film Critics Association 2018 Winners

Best Film: “Roma”

Top 10 Movies: 1. “Roma” 2. “The Favourite” 3. “A Star Is Born” 4. “BlacKkKlansman” 5. “Vice” 6. “If Beale Street Could Talk” 7. “Green Book” 8. “First Reformed” 9. “Eighth Grade” 10. “Leave No Trace”

Best Actor: Ethan Hawke ("First Reformed"), Runner-Up: Christian Bale ("Vice")

Best Actress: Olivia Colman ("The Favourite"), Runner-Up: Lady Gaga ("A Star Is Born")

Best Supporting Actor:  Richard E. Grant ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?"), Runner-Up: Mahershala Ali ("Green Book")

Best Supporting Actress: Regina King ("If Beale Street Could Talk"),  Runner-Up: Rachel Weisz ("The Favourite")

Best Ensemble: "The Favourite," Runners-Up (TIE): "Vice" and "Black Panther"

Best Director: Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma"),  Runner-Up: Bradley Cooper ("A Star Is Born")

Best Original Screenplay: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara ("The Favourite"), Runner-Up: Paul Schrader ("First Reformed")

Best Adapted Screenplay: Charlie Wachtel & David Rabinowitz and Kevin Willmott & Spike Lee ("BlacKkKlansman"),  Runner-Up: Nicole Holofcener and Jeff Whitty ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?")

Best Documentary: "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" Runner-Up: "RBG"

Best Foreign Language Film: "Roma," Runner-Up: "Shoplifters"

Best Animated Film: "Isle of Dogs," Runner-Up: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma"), Runner-Up: Robbie Ryan ("The Favourite")

The Gene Wyatt Award for Best Southern-Themed Film: "Green Book," Runner-Up: "Blaze"

Chris Herrington’s 2018 SEFCA ballot

Top 10 Movies: 1. “Shoplifters” 2. “Leave No Trace” 3. “Roma” 4. “Support the Girls” 5. “Minding the Gap” 6. “If Beale Street Could Talk” 7. “First Reformed” 8. “The Favourite” 9. “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” 10. “Let the Sunshine In”

Top 10 (and then some) notes: It was a decent year for the union of art and commerce as blockbusters “Black Panther,” “Mission Impossible: Fallout,” “A Star is Born,” and blockbuster-to-be “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” were also really good movies. I enjoyed and admired all four and three of them show up on my ballot. That none quite cracked my overall Top 10 is testament only to 10 being a pretty small number and a commitment to answering honestly rather than strategically. As far as my five favorites of 2018 ...

“Roma” was the most impressive 2018 movie I saw, and far from a bloodless technical feat, but I ended up slotting it in the center of a quartet of fairly obscure titles that gripped my heart more tightly.

The Japanese film “Shoplifters,” a Cannes film fest winner, is director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s portrait of a makeshift family on Tokyo’s geographic and economic margins. It hasn’t and likely won’t play Memphis, but is worth seeking out, once it becomes more widely available, for anyone who isn’t subtitle phobic. Kore-eda’s previous “Nobody Knows,” which did play in Memphis, is one of my favorite films of the young century. “Shoplifters” is in its class.

“Leave No Trace,” Debra Granik’s follow-up to “Winter’s Bone” (the film that helped launch Jennifer Lawrence), tracks an Iraq War vet and his 13-year-old daughter as they try to live undetected in the Oregon woods. It had a brief Memphis run earlier in the year.

“Support the Girls,” a deliriously heartfelt and observant social/workplace comedy set in a Hooters-like restaurant in the Houston suburbs, and “Minding the Gap,” a years-spanning documentary about three Rockford, Illinois skater buddies navigating adulthood, both screened at Indie Memphis and are both now available for streaming.

The rest of my ballot:

Best Actor: 1. Ethan Hawke ("First Reformed") 2. Bradley Cooper ("A Star is Born") 3. Rami Malek ("Bohemian Rhapsody")

Best Actress: 1. Regina Hall ("Support the Girls") 2. Melissa McCarthy ("Can You Ever Forgive Me?") 3. Toni Collette ("Hereditary")

Best Supporting Actor: 1. Adam Driver ("BlacKkKlansman") 2. Hugh Grant ("Paddington 2") 3. Michael B. Jordan ("Black Panther")

Best Supporting Actress: 1. Regina King ("If Beale Street Could Talk") 2. Shayna McHayle ("Support the Girls") 3. Elizabeth Debicki ("Widows")

Best Ensemble: 1. "If Beale Street Could Talk" 2. "Support the Girls" 3. "Widows"

Best Director: 1. Alfonso Cuaron ("Roma"), 2. Barry Jenkins ("If Beale Street Could Talk") 3. Debra Granik ("Leave No Trace")

Best Original Screenplay: 1. "Support the Girls" 2. "First Reformed" 3. "The Favourite"

Best Adapted Screenplay: 1. "Can You Ever Forgive Me?" 2. "The Death of Stalin" 3. "Black Panther"

Best Documentary: 1. "Minding the Gap" 2. "Hale County, This Morning This Evening" 3. "Won’t You Be My Neighbor"

Best Foreign-Language Film: 1. "Shoplifters" 2. "Roma" 3. "Let the Sunshine In"

Best Animated Film: 1. "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" 2. "Isle of Dogs" 3. "Incredibles 2"

Best Cinematography: 1. "Roma" 2. "The Favourite" 3. "If Beale Street Could Talk"

Gene Wyatt Award: 1. "Support the Girls" 2. "Hale County, This Morning This Evening"


SEFCA Roma If Beale Street Could Talk
Chris Herrington

Chris Herrington

Chris Herrington covers the Memphis Grizzlies and writes about Memphis culture, food, and civic life. He lives in the Vollentine-Evergreen neighborhood of Midtown with his wife, two kids, and two dogs.

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