The New York Film Critics Circle and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association have announced their choices for the best accomplishments in film in 2007, and as usual, the two groups awarded their biggest honors to two different films.
The East Coasters went with Joel and Ethan Coen's No Country For Old Men, giving it the awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor (for Javier Bardem).
The West Coasters, meanwhile, settled on Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood, which won the prizes for Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor (for Daniel Day-Lewis) and Best Production Design.
The New Yorkers didn't exactly ignore Blood: They, too, named Day-Lewis Best Actor and gave the Best Cinematography trophy to Blood's Robert Elswit. Being an East Coaster myself, I have to agree with the NYFCC. I have two movies left to see before finalizing my year-end top 10 and voting in the critics' groups that I belong to (OK, it's really three movies, but my expectations are different for that one).
But while I suspect No Country For Old Men will still be my favorite movie of the year by the end of the week, There Will Be Blood is the one I'd be most eager to sit down and watch again right now - not only for Day-Lewis' performance, which I'd describe as one of the all-time great feats of movie acting, but also for the film itself, which is the kind of thing you want to savor and digest and think about over an extended period of time.
There Will Be Blood is a great, strange, visionary, unsettling epic, and anyone who has even a passing interest in movies will cherish the admittedly challenging experience of watching it. Paramount Vantage is not planning to release Blood in South Florida until January 11, so local audiences will have to wait a little longer than New York and L.A.. Mark your calendar - and prepare yourself.