Jean-Luc Godard's 'Goodbye to Language' Named Best Film by National Society of Film Critics

'Goodbye to Language,' Jean-Luc Godard (Competition)
Courtesy of Festival de Cannes

Nouveau Vague pioneer Godard, who makes his seventh appearance in Cannes competition with Goodbye to Language, has long since abandoned traditional narrative structure or the facade of appealing to a paying audience in favor of his deconstructive cinematic games. His latest (shot in 3D no less) is certain to delight, confuse and enrage in equal measure. (Sales: Wild Bunch)

The group also voted acting honors to Timothy Spall and Marion Cotillard

The National Society of Film Critics, the last major critics group to announce its awards for 2014's movies, has named Jean-Luc Godard's Goodbye to Language the best film of the year.

Godard's 3D essay of a film narrowly beat out Boyhood for the top prize, but the group gave its best director honors to Boyhood's Richard Linklater.

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The awards for best actor and actress went to Timothy Spall, who plays the painter J.M.W. Turner in Mr. Turner, and Marion Cotillard, for her performances in both Two Days, One Night and The immigrant.  J.K. Simmons was named best supporting actor for his tyrannical music teacher in Whiplash, while Patricia Arquette was hailed as best supporting actress for her much-married mom in Boyhood.

Wes Anderson was voted the award for best screenplay for The Grand Budapest Hotel; the cinematography award went to Dick Pope for Mr. Turner; and Laura Poitras' Citizenfour was singled out as best non-fiction film.

The group also voted two Film Heritage Awards: to Ron Magliozzi, associate curator, and Peter Williamson, film conservation manager, of the Museum of Modern Art, for identifying and assembling the earliest surviving footage of what would have been the first feature film to star a black cast, the 1913 Lime Kiln Field Day, starring Bert Williams; and to Ron Hutchinson, co-founder and director of The Vitaphone Project, which since 1991 has collected and restored countless original soundtrack discs for early sound short films and features, including the recent Warner Bros. restoration of William A. Seiter’s 1929 Why Be Good?

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The Society, made up of film critics from around the nation, met Saturday at the Elinor Bunim Monroe Center at Lincoln Center in New York to vote its awards. The Society does not hold an awards ceremony but will send scrolls to the winners. Fifty-nine members were eligible to vote, although a few disqualified themselves if they hadn't seen every film. A weighted ballot was used.

The meeting was dedicated to Jay Carr and Charles Champlin, two members of the society who died in 2014.

A complete list of the winners and runners-up follows.


*1. Goodbye to Language 25 (Jean-Luc Godard)

2. Boyhood 24 (Richard Linklater)

3. Birdman 10 (Alejandro G. Iñárritu)

3. Mr. Turner 10 (Mike Leigh)



*1. Richard Linklater 36 (Boyhood)

2. Jean-Luc Godard 17  (Goodbye to Language)

3. Mike Leigh 12 (Mr. Turner)



*1. Citizenfour 56 (Laura Poitras)

2. National Gallery 19 (Frederick Wiseman)

3. The Overnighters 17 (Jesse Moss)



*1. The Grand Budapest Hotel 24 (Wes Anderson)

2. Inherent Vice 15 (Paul Thomas Anderson)

2. Birdman 15 (four co-writers)



*1. Mr. Turner 33 (Dick Pope)

2. The Immigrant 27 (Darius Khondji)

3. Goodbye to Language 9 (Fabrice Aragno)



*1.Timothy Spall 31 (Mr. Turner)

2. Tom Hardy 10 (Locke)

3. Joaquin Phoenix 9  (Inherent Vice)

3. Ralph Fiennes 9 (The Grand Budapest Hotel)



*1. Marion Cotillard  80 (Two Days, One Night; The Immigrant)

2.  Julianne Moore 35 (Still Alice)

3. Scarlett Johansson 21 (Lucy; Under the Skin)



*1. J.K. Simmons 24  (Whiplash)

2. Mark Ruffalo 21 (Foxcatcher)

3. Edward Norton 16 (Birdman)



*1. Patricia Arquette 26 (Boyhood)

2. Agata Kulesza 18 (Ida)

3. Rene Russo 9 (Nightcrawler)