The Dublin Film Critics Circle, representing Ireland’s professional film critics, voted far and wide; some 47 films received votes in the poll for the film of the year. The DFCC has announced the winners of its awards for 2023. For the second year running, following the success of An Cailín Ciúin in 2022, a debut film has taken the top prize.
Celine Song’s Past Lives, a delicate drama largely set in contemporary New York, comfortably won film of the year. Song, a filmmaker with Korean, Canadian and US connections, also won best director. Premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January, Past Lives finds a young woman reuniting awkwardly with a man she hasn’t seen since they parted in Seoul as children.
Celine Song, writer and director of Past Lives, said “Thank you so much to The Dublin Film Critics Circle for these incredible honors — it means the world to me for my first feature film to be named Best Film and Best Director of the year. As someone who grew up admiring Irish cinema and literature, I had such a special time introducing Past Lives to the Irish audience at the Galway Film Fleadh this year. It’s been so meaningful to see the way the film has resonated with Irish audiences. I have a piece of my heart in Ireland. Thank you — I’m so incredibly touched and honored.”
Justine Triet’s Anatomy of a Fall, winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes, was runner-up in best film. Both parts of the inescapable Barbenheimer portmanteau that dominated the summer box office registered among the critics’ 10 favourite films. Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer was at number three. Greta Gerwig’s Barbie, the highest-grossing film ever at the Irish box office, came in at number seven.
Cillian Murphy, the current slight favourite for best actor at the Academy Awards, secured the corresponding award from the Dublin critics for his performance as J Robert Oppenheimer in Nolan’s sprawling biopic. Franz Rogowski, the German star of Ira Sachs’s savage drama Passages, was the runner up in that race. Also scoring multiple votes were Bradley Cooper for Maestro, Joaquin Phoenix for the divisive Beau is Afraid and Denis Ménochet for the French drama The Beasts.
The running favourite for best actress at the Oscars also triumphed with the DFCC. Lily Gladstone took the prize for her turn as a misused Native American woman in Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Carey Mulligan was runner-up for playing wife to Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein in Maestro.
Six of the top 10 best documentaries were from Irish directors. An impressive result. Laura McGann’s The Deepest Breath, following the perilous sport of free-diving, was at number one. Also registering were Joe Lee’s 406 Days, Garry Keane and Stephen Gerard Kelly’s In the Shadow of Beirut, Margo Harkin’s Stolen, Ken Wardrop’s So This is Christmas and Ollie Aslin and Gary Lennon’s I Dream in Photos.
Robert Higgins and Patrick McGivney’s Lakelands, starring Éanna Hardwicke as a GAA player coping with a head injury, was the overall winner of best Irish film.
The DFCC acknowledged two outstanding breakthroughs. Orén Kinlan, who plays the errant son to Eve Hewson’s harried mum in John Carney’s Flora and Son, was the Irish winner. Raine Allen-Miller, director of the delightful British romantic comedy Rye Lane, took the international gong.
Formed in 2006, the DFCC, whose president is Tara Brady of The Irish Times, hands out yearly awards as well as prizes for the finest work at the Dublin International Film Festival. The first winner of the annual Best Film was Brokeback Mountain seventeen years ago.
- Past Lives
- Anatomy of a Fall
- Killers of the Flower Moon
- May December
- Close/EO (Tie)
- Eight Mountains/Passages (Tie)
- Celine Song, Past Lives
- Justine Triet, Anatomy of a Fall
- Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer
- Martin Scorsese, Killers of the Flower Moon
- Todd Field, Tár
- Alice Diop, Saint Omer
- Greta Gerwig, Barbie
- Lukas Dhont, Close
- Jerzy Skolimowski, EO
- Bradley Cooper, Maestro
- Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer
- Franz Rogowski, Passages
- Bradley Cooper, Maestro
- Joaquin Phoenix, Beau is Afraid
- Denis Ménochet, The Beasts
- Luca Marinelli, The Eight Mountains
- Barry Keoghan, Saltburn
- Milo Machado Graner, Anatomy of a Fall
- Chares Melton, May December
- Ryan Gosling, Barbie
- Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon
- Carey Mulligan, Maestro
- Cate Blanchett, Tár
- Sandra Muller, Anatomy of a Fall
- Julianne Moore, May December
- Natalie Portman, May December
- Tilda Swinton, Eternal Daughter
- Annette Bening, Nyad
- Adèle Exarchopoulos, Passages
- Sydney Sweeney, Reality
- The Deepest Breath
- 406 Days
- Still: A Michael J. Fox Movie
- Kokomo City
- In the Shadow of Beirut
- So This is Christmas
- Little Richard: I Am Everything
- I Dream in Photos
- Smoke Sauna Sisterhood
BEST IRISH FILM
- The Deepest Breath
- My Sailor, My Love
- Justine Triet, Arthur Harari, Anatomy of a Fall
- Isabel Peña, Rodrigo Sorogoyen, The Beasts
- Samy Burch, May December
- Aki Kaurismäki, Fallen Leaves
- Paul Schrader, Master Gardener
- Rodrigo Prieto, Killers of the Flower Moon
- Hoyte van Hoytema, Oppenheimer
- Mark Jenkin, Enys Men
- Ruben Impens, Eight Mountains
- Thomas Favel, Return to Seoul
Raine Allen-Miller, Rye Lane
Orén Kinlan, Flora and Son