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Can London Critics Save Lesley Manville?

Another Year
Focus Features

London Film Critics give Lesley Manville's dead Oscar hopes a revivifying jolt that means a lot more than their bow to The King's Speech.

Most headlines about this week's London Film Critics Circle nominations focused on King's seven noms, but I doubt many Oscar voters will dance like marionettes at the hands of a pack of royals-revering, tea-swilling swells across the pond. If the King wins or loses, it will be for strictly American reasons.

But it's at least conceivable that the seven noms for Another Year might prompt more voters to put it at the top of their screener pile, instead of behind the stack, where it's been since Manville's many other awards snubs sank her candidacy from sight. She also just beat Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, and Michelle Williams on the LA Weekly/Village Voice film poll, and the film beat A Prophet, Inception, and True Grit.

Granted, the London critics only put Another Year in the Attenborough Award (British film of the year category), while Tom Hooper's film got both an Attenborough and an international film of the year nom.

However, Another Year got more noms for acting than Hooper's film. 2002's supporting Ocar winner Jim Broadbent is up for British actor of the year, and both Manville and Ruth Sheen (who plays Broadbent's conspicuously happily married wife) vie for British actress of the year.

Another Year's David Bradley and Peter Wight (playing Manville's character's equally sadly sodden loser suitor) are likewise 40% of the candidates for British supporting actor. Hooper's British director of the year rival Mike Leigh is a genius at making ensembles come to life, at once, in an utterly convincing simulacrum of spontaneity.

To stand out in this ensemble, as Manville does, she must really be doing something distinctive. Oscar gods: Check out what that something is before you cast your vote.


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