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The 2023 Gold Digger Mid-Year Award Winners

Happy August, everyone! For many years, now, I’ve been a friend and supporter of filmmaker Patrick Gratton, and from time to time will participate in film-related projects and gatherings he organizes. One of his most popular events is the Gold Digger Awards, where several film awards season writers and columnists come together to vote on what they believe are the best cinematic achievements of a given window of time.

I had the honor of being invited to participate in the mid-year edition of the Gold Digger Awards this time around, which means we got to vote on the releases between January to June of this year (so no voting on Barbenheimer, sorry). The results were published earlier this week along with the following announcement:

After a month of voting and deliberating, we’re thrilled to announce that our panel of over forty critics and cinephiles have selected Celine Song’s Past Lives, recently available to rent or buy on VOD, as the Best Feature Film for the 2023 Gold Diggers Mid-Year Awards.  The tender romantic drama, centered around Nora, a Korean-American immigrant, and her lifelong romantic pulls between her husband Arthur and Jung her childhood crush, took home four prizes. This includes Best Feature Film, Best Directorial Debut, Best Screenplay, and the Best Leading Actor prize for Teo Yoo for his performance as Jung.

When selecting our malleable voting body, The Gold Diggers prides itself on grouping together a subset of distinct figures and voices within the world of film criticism. Meaning that our voters are easily dividing themselves into factions rallying around individual films. Not to toot our own horn, but we find it refreshing that we have a Feature Film Roster that ranges from the ultraviolence of Chad Stahelski’s John Wick: Chapter 4 to the somnolescence of Albert Serra’s Queer Cold War thriller Pacifiction.

Focus Features

The full list of winners is as follows:

Best Feature Film: Past Lives

Best Directing: Wes Anderson, Asteroid City

Best Film Not In the English Language: Joyland (Pakistan / USA)

Best Animated Film: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Best Non-Fiction Film: De Humani Corporis Fabrica

Best Directorial Debut: Celine Song, Past Lives

Best Ensemble Film: Asteroid City

Best Leading Actress: Virginie Efira, Other People’s Children

Best Leading Actor: Teo Yoo, Past Lives

Best Supporting Actress: Rachel McAdams, Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.

Best Supporting Actor: Glenn Howerton, BlackBerry

Best Acting Newcomer: Andrew Barth Feldman, No Hard Feelings

Best Screenplay: Celine Song, Past Lives

Best Cinematography: Robert Yeoman, Asteroid City

Best Editing: Daniel Garber, How to Blow Up a Pipeline

Best Production Design: Adam Stockhausen, Asteroid City

Best Costume Design: Milena Canonero, Asteroid City

Best Makeup & Hair Styling: Claire Burgess, Julie Dartnell, and Julia Vernon, Asteroid City

Best Visual Effects: Mike Lasker, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Best Sound Mixing: **TIE** De Humani Corporis Fabrica and John Wick: Chapter 4

Best Sound Editing: Geoffrey G. Rubay, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Best Original Score: Daniel Pemberton, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Best Use of Music: Will-o’-the-Wisp

Though I can’t share exactly who I voted for on my own ballot, I will say that many of the winners here lined up with my own choices and I am overall extremely pleased with the results.

What do you think of these winners from the first half of the year? Let us know in the comments.


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Written by Robert Hamer

Formerly an associate writer for recently-retired Award Circuit, Robert Hamer is a military veteran who now spends his time obsessing over movies and pop politics.

He is returning to film and awards season commentary to return to a sense of normalcy in these plague-ridden times of rising fascism and late-stage capitalist dystopia. Join him, won't you, in these somewhat unorthodox attempts at cinematic therapy?

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