Annual theater celebration features awards, speeches, songs

Matt Clemens (seen sharing a scene with Laura Griffith) received a Theatre Roundtable award for his leading role in Short North Stage's production of Sunday in the Park With George (photo by Megan Leigh)
Matt Clemens (seen sharing a scene with Laura Griffith) received a Theatre Roundtable award for his leading role in Short North Stage’s production of Sunday in the Park With George (photo by Megan Leigh)

By Richard Ades

It’s all over but the Facebook posts.

The Central Ohio Theatre Roundtable held its annual awards night Sunday at the Jewish Community Center. As in the past, the fast-paced show punctuated its presentations and speeches with songs from some of the past year’s musical productions.

The treats included Matt Clemens’s emotional rendition of Finishing the Hat from Stephen Sondheim’s Sunday in the Park With George. The number provided proof that Clemens richly deserved the award the Roundtable gave him for his leading role in the Short North Stage production.

One of the night’s most heartwarming moments came when the Central Ohio Theatre Critics Circle—representing local print, on-air and online critics—presented a citation to Short North Stage for that same production. When troupe co-founders Rich Gore and Peter Yockel came onstage to accept the award, Yockel found himself getting a little choked up. That prompted Gore to observe that he hadn’t seen his partner tear up like that since their recent wedding day.

In a conversation prior to the show, the two recalled that they were just one of many same-sex couples who’d headed to New York and queued up to get hitched in a civil ceremony on Halloween. But they stood out from the crowd, they noted, being one of the few pairs who hadn’t turned up in Halloween costumes.

Two troupes received the Roundtable’s Harold Awards for, essentially, persevering: Columbus Children’s Theatre for turning 50 and Shadowbox Live for turning 25 (as measured from the appearance of Stev Guyer and company’s earliest “rock operas”). Accepting his Harold, Guyer explained why he and his cohorts had stuck it out in a profession that kept them working longer-than-average hours for lower-than-average pay.

“It’s a calling,” he said. “It’s what you do.”

Guyer also praised Columbus theatergoers who were willing to take a chance on unknown productions—such as most of those presented by Shadowbox.

For a list of other Theatre Roundtable nominees and winners, visit www.theatre-roundtable.org/trnominations/. For a list of the Central Ohio Theatre Critics Circle’s 20th annual round of citations, which were presented at Sunday’s event, see below:

▪ To CATCO and the Columbus Museum of Art, for educating Central Ohio about the power of art and the creative challenges of artists by jointly scheduling CATCO’s area premiere of Red, John Logan’s 2010 Tony winner for best play about Rothko at a pivotal point in his career, and “Mark Rothko: The Decisive Decade,” the museum’s first major exhibit of works by the abstract master.

▪ To Short North Stage, for raising the standard in locally produced musicals with an ambitious 2013 season that culminated in the long-awaited Central Ohio premiere of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park With George, a challenging 1985 Pulitzer Prize winner that was brought to vivid life by blending local talents with such New York experts as sound designer Leon Rothenberg, a 2013 Tony Award winner, and director Sarna Lapine, niece of James Lapine.

▪ A Roy Bowen Lifetime Achievement Award to William Goldsmith for nurturing the talents and imaginations of tens of thousands of children and for writing and directing many popular stage adaptations of classic tales as youth theater director at Players Theatre Columbus in the 1970s and ’80s and, for 25 years since 1989, as artistic director of Columbus Children’s Theatre, a troupe that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2013.

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‘Gravity’ named best of 2013 by Columbus critics

 

Sandra Bullock in Gravity, which Columbus critics named the year's best film (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Sandra Bullock in Gravity, which Columbus critics named the year’s best film (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Alfonso Cuarón’s Gravity has been named Best Film in the Central Ohio Film Critics Association’s 12th annual awards, which recognize excellence in the film industry for 2013. The film also claimed two other awards. Cuarón was honored as Best Director, and Director of Photography Emmanuel Lubezki won for Best Cinematography.

Columbus-area critics recognized these screen performers: Best Actor Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave); Best Actress and Breakthrough Film Artist Adèle Exarchopolous [Blue Is the Warmest Color (La vie d’Adèle)]; Best Supporting Actor James Franco (Spring Breakers); Best Supporting Actress Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle); and Actor of the Year Matthew McConaughey for his exemplary body of work in Dallas Buyers Club, Mud and The Wolf of Wall Street.

Other winners include: American Hustle for Best Ensemble; The Wolf of Wall Street‘s Terence Winter for Best Adapted Screenplay; Her’s Spike Jonze for Best Original Screenplay and Arcade Fire for Best Score; Best Documentary The Act of Killing; Best Foreign Language Film and Best Animated Film The Wind Rises (Kaze tachinu); and Short Term 12 as Best Overlooked Film.

Repeat COFCA winners include: Jennifer Lawrence (2012 Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook); Matthrew McConaughey (2012 Actor of the Year for Bernie, Killer Joe, Magic Mike and The Paperboy); James Franco (2010 Best Actor for 127 Hours); and Emmanuel Lubezki (2011 Best Cinematography for The Tree of Life).

Founded in 2002, the Central Ohio Film Critics Association is composed of film critics based in Columbus, Ohio, and the surrounding areas. Its membership consists of 20 print, radio, television and Internet critics. COFCA’s official website at http://www.cofca.org/contains links to member reviews and past award winners.

Winners were announced at a private party on Thursday, Jan. 2.

Complete list of awards:

Best Film
1. Gravity
2. Her
3. American Hustle
4. Frances Ha
5. The Wolf of Wall Street
6. 12 Years a Slave
7. Inside Llewyn Davis
8. Before Midnight
9. Upstream Color
10. Nebraska

Best Director
-Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
-Runner-up: Spike Jonze, Her

Best Actor
-Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave
-Runner-up: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Actress
-Adèle Exarchopolous, Blue Is the Warmest Color (La vie d’Adèle)
-Runner-up: Brie Larson, Short Term 12

Best Supporting Actor
-James Franco, Spring Breakers
-Runner-up: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress
-Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
-Runner-up: Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave

Best Ensemble
American Hustle
-Runner-up: The Wolf of Wall Street

Actor of the Year (for an exemplary body of work)
-Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club, Mud and The Wolf of Wall Street
-Runner-up: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

Breakthrough Film Artist
-Adèle Exarchopolous, Blue Is the Warmest Color (La vie d’Adèle) (for acting)
-Runner-up: Brie Larson, Don Jon, Short Term 12 and The Spectacular Now (for acting)

Best Cinematography
-Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity
-Runner-up: Hoyte Van Hoytema, Her

Best Adapted Screenplay
-Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street
-Runner-up: John Ridley, 12 Years a Slave

Best Original Screenplay
-Spike Jonze, Her
-Runner-up: Destin Daniel Cretton, Short Term 12

Best Score
-Arcade Fire, Her
-Runner-up: Steven Price, Gravity

Best Documentary
The Act of Killing
-Runner-up: Stories We Tell

Best Foreign Language Film
The Wind Rises (Kaze tachinu)
-Runner-up: Blue Is the Warmest Color (La vie d’Adèle)

Best Animated Film
The Wind Rises (Kaze tachinu)
-Runner-up: Frozen

Best Overlooked Film
Short Term 12
-Runner-up: Mud

COFCA offers its congratulations to the winners.

Previous Best Film winners:

2002: Punch-Drunk Love
2003: Lost in Translation
2004: Million Dollar Baby
2005: A History of Violence
2006: Children of Men
2007: No Country for Old Men
2008: WALL•E
2009: Up in the Air
2010: Inception
2011: Drive
2012: Moonrise Kingdom

For more information about the Central Ohio Film Critics Association, please visit http://www.cofca.org/or e-mail info@cofca.org.