Utah critics pick ‘Past Lives’ as the best movie of 2023

The drama receives three awards; ‘Poor Things’ and ‘Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse’ are also multiple winners.

The intimate drama “Past Lives,” about a Korean-American playwright reuniting with the boy she once crushed on back in Korea, was named the best movie of 2023 by the Utah Film Critics Association.

Writer-director Celine Song also received top awards for her directing and her original screenplay of the semi-autobiographical movie, in voting conducted by the Utah critics’ group Saturday at the Megaplex Jordan Commons in Sandy. “Past Lives” has been a critical favorite since it premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival.

Director Yorgos Lanthimos’ surreal comedy-drama “Poor Things,” about a woman with a baby’s brain implanted in her body, was runner-up in the best picture and directing categories. Emma Stone won two awards for her portrayal of that woman: best leading performance (female) and best overall performance. The film also received an award for Robbie Ryan’s cinematography.

The award for best leading male performance went to Andrew Scott for “All of Us Strangers,” portraying a gay man who visits his childhood home and finds his long-dead parents living there.

The comedy-drama “The Holdovers” won both supporting acting categories, for Dominic Sessa as a lonely student and Da’Vine Joy Randolph as a grieving cook sharing the holidays at a ‘70s boarding school with a gruff history teacher (Paul Giamatti).

The superhero story “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse” also won multiple awards, for best animated feature and for editing.

The award for adapted screenplay went to Kelly Fremon Craig for “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.,” the movie version of Judy Blume’s classic coming-of-age novel.

Here is the full list of winners and runners-up:

Picture • “Past Lives”; runner-up: “Poor Things.”

Directing • Celine Song, “Past Lives”; runner-up: Yorgos Lanthimos, “Poor Things.”

Overall Performance • Emma Stone, “Poor Things”; runner-up: Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers.”

Lead Performance, Male • Andrew Scott, “All of Us Strangers”; runner-up: Jeffrey Wright, “American Fiction.”

Lead Performance, Female • Emma Stone, “Poor Things”; runner-up: Lily Gladstone, “Killers of the Flower Moon,” and Greta Lee, “Past Lives” (tie).

Supporting Performance, Male • Dominic Sessa, “The Holdovers”; runner-up: Charles Melton, “May December.”

Supporting Performance, Female • Da’Vine Joy Randolph, “The Holdovers”; runner-up: Sandra Hüller, “The Zone of Interest.”

Ensemble Cast • “The Iron Claw”; runner-up: “The Holdovers.”

Vice/Martin Award (given to a performance in a science fiction, fantasy or horror movie) • Iman Vellani, “The Marvels”; runner-up: Nicolas Cage, “Renfield.”

Original Screenplay • Celine Song, “Past Lives”; runner-up: Greta Gerwig & Noah Baumbach, “Barbie.”

Adapted Screenplay • Kelly Fremon Craig, “Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret.”; runners-up: Christopher Nolan, “Oppenheimer,” and Cord Jefferson, “American Fiction” (tie).

Cinematography • Robbie Ryan, “Poor Things”; runner-up: Hoyte van Hoytema, “Oppenheimer.”

Original Score • Robbie Robertson, “Killers of the Flower Moon”; runner-up: Jerskin Fendrix, “Poor Things.”

Editing • Michael Andrews, “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”; runner-up: Kevin Tent, “The Holdovers,” and Jennifer Lame, “Oppenheimer” (tie).

Visual Effects • “Godzilla Minus One”; runners-up: “The Creator” and “Poor Things” (tie).

Documentary Feature • “Still: A Michael J. Fox Story”; runner-up: “The Mission.”

Animated Feature • “Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse”; runner-up: “Robot Dreams.”

Non-English Language Feature • “The Zone of Interest”; runner-up: “Godzilla Minus One.”

Editor’s note • Sean P. Means, The Tribune’s culture and business editor, is a voting member of the Utah Film Critics Association.