April 19, 2014

Terrence Malick’s “Tree of Life” builds awards momentum – AWARDS ALLEY


By Sean O’Connell
hollywoodnews.com: Oscar trackers will tell you that a series of relatively smaller victories for a film can build momentum and add up to one big win at the Academy Awards. So Monday, from an Oscar perspective, was a successful day for Terrence Malick’s meditative “The Tree of Life,” which added two notches to its awards belt as it hopes to generate buzz heading into the thick of Oscar season.

Early in the day, it was revealed that “Tree” topped Sight & Sound’s Best of 2011 list. An annual compilation if international critical opinion, the Sight & Sound list recognizes the “best, favorite and most important” films of the year. “Tree” edged out “A Separation” (No. 2); “The Kid With a Bike” (No. 3); “Melancholia” (No. 4); and “The Artist” (No. 5). David Fincher’s “The Social Network” led last year’s list.

Ah, yes. “The Social Network.” A warning that sweeping the early-season critical groups doesn’t necessarily make you a shoo-in to win the Oscars. So “Tree” should take these moral victories with a grain of salt, knowing that the opinions of critics don’t always mesh with those of the Academy.

“Tree” wasn’t done celebrating, however. Monday evening, Malick’s film was named co-feature of the year (opposite Mike Mills’ “Beginners”) at the Gotham Independent Film Awards, giving the movie its second “win” in a 24-hour frame.

Will the wave continue this week, as the Independent Spirit Awards reveal their annual nominations and the New York Film Critics’ Circle vote on their year-end favorites? We’ll see. This is a very busy week in the Oscar marathon, and the support shown for Malick’s challenging “Tree” can only grow.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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