The National Society of Film Critics named Waltz With Bashir, an animated fable of the 1982 Lenanon war, its Best Film of 2008. Critics including our own J. Hoberman (“a documentary that seems only possible, not to mention bearable, as an animated feature”) praised the film highly, though its chances of ascending from this honor to Best Picture Oscar contention are about as good as those of past NSFC winners American Splendor, Yi Yi, and Out of Sight. Bashir‘s win obviated the Critics’ Best Foreign Film award.
As with the New York Film Critics, Happy-Go-Lucky‘s director Mike Leigh and actress Sally Hawkins were also honored. (NSFC also cited Leigh for his script and Eddie Marsan as Best Supporting Actor.) New York Critics laureates Sean Penn (Milk), Anthony Dod Mantle (cinematography, Slumdog Millionaire), and the documentary Man on Wire also repeated here. Longtime Fassbinder collaborator Hanna Schygulla won Best Supporting Actress for the Turkish-German film The Edge of Heaven and Ken Jacobs’ Razzle Dazzle was named Best Experimental Film.