National Critics Laud Scorsese, ‘GoodFellas’


The violent yet highly praised Martin Scorsese film “GoodFellas” collected prizes for best picture of 1990 and best director from the National Society of Film Critics in voting on Sunday in New York. The wins give the gangland drama and Scorsese a clean sweep of the three major critics organizations’ year-end balloting.

In December, “GoodFellas” was voted best picture and Scorsese named best director by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. and the New York Film Critics Circle. But the voting by the 40-member National Society of Film Critics, which reflects reviewers from across the nation, is generally considered the most influential of the three.

The triple win by Warner Bros.’ “GoodFellas,” plus its five Golden Globe nominations, to be awarded Jan. 19, put it in a strong position for the upcoming Oscar race. In the Golden Globe competition, sometimes viewed as an Oscar indicator, “GoodFellas” faces its toughest competition from “Dances With Wolves” and “The Godfather Part III.” Neither “Dances With Wolves” nor “Godfather” won top prizes from any of the three critics’ organizations.

In the competition for best actor and actress, the critics groups have been doing flip-flops between Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro and Anjelica Huston and Joanne Woodward.

Irons was voted best actor by the national society for his role as the icy Claus Von Bulow in “Reversal of Fortune,” repeating the nod he got from the Los Angeles critics. De Niro, who was named best actor by the New York critics for his roles in “GoodFellas” and “Awakenings,” came in third in the national society’s voting. The runner-up position instead went to Danny Glover for his role in Charles Burnett’s “To Sleep With Anger.”


Huston was named best actress by the national society for her performances in “The Grifters” and “The Witches.” Again, that is a repeat of her win in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, Woodward’s role in “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge,” which won her a best actress citation from the New York critics, was given the runner-up position in the voting by the national society.

In competition for best screenplay, Los Angeles-based independent filmmaker Burnett won the prize for his comic drama set in South-Central Los Angeles.

Meeting at the Algonquin Hotel in midtown Manhattan, the national society voted a special posthumous citation to the French actress Delphine Seyrig for her performance in 1969’s “Stolen Kisses” by Francois Truffaut. The critics also re-elected film reviewer Peter Rainer of The Times’ as its chairman.

The winners and runner-ups:

* Best picture: “GoodFellas.” Runner-up, “The Grifters.”

* Best director: Martin Scorsese, “GoodFellas.” Runner-up, Stephen Frears, “The Grifters.”

* Best actor: Jeremy Irons, “Reversal of Fortune.” Runner-up, Danny Glover, “To Sleep With Anger.”

* Best Actress: Anjelica Huston, “The Grifters” and “The Witches.” Runner-up, Joanne Woodward, “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge.”

* Best supporting actor: Bruce Davison, “Longtime Companion.” Runner-up, Joe Pesci, “GoodFellas.”

* Best supporting actress: Annette Bening, “The Grifters.” Runner-up, Uma Thurman, “Where the Heart Is” and “Henry & June.”

* Best screenplay: Charles Burnett, “To Sleep With Anger.” Runner-up, Tom Stoppard, “The Russia House.”

* Best cinematography: Peter Suschitzky, “Where the Heart Is.” Runner-up, Ian Baker, “The Russia House.”

* Best foreign-language film: “Ariel” (Finland), director Aki Kaurismaki. Runner-up, “Life and Nothing But” (France), director Bertrand Tavernier.