LA Weekly Film Critic Amy Nicholson Wins Best Critic at the National Arts and Entertainment Awards

Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Focus: "Only once every half-dozen years does a new actress jolt the screen like a Taser," critic Amy Nicholson wrote.
Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Focus: "Only once every half-dozen years does a new actress jolt the screen like a Taser," critic Amy Nicholson wrote.
Frank Masi

Amy Nicholson, movie critic for L.A. Weekly and Voice Media Group, won the prestigious Best Critic in Broadcast or Print, and Best Online Commentary, at the National Arts and Entertainment Awards gala thrown by the Los Angeles Press Club Sunday at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel.

Nicholson won best critic for her body of work in the past year, beating finalists from The Hollywood Reporter and Los Angeles Times. Her readable, provocative reviews included, "Fifty Shades of Grey Isn't Dirty, It's Puritanical," "American Sniper Is a Rah Rah War on Terror Fantasy," "The Man-Child Movie Trend Must End" and "Focus' Margot Robbie Will Be a Major Movie Star if She Stays Nasty." The judges wrote that Nicholson “has the gift of gab with gravitas. Her contrarian view here — so keenly observant, smart and perceptive — is delivered with so much stylish wit that she's like a stand-up critic working in front of a microphone.”

In the online-commentary category, Nicholson won for her essay "Why Renee Zellweger's Face Matters," outdoing finalists from Fusion and The Advocate. A panel of judges called it "an eye-opening reflection about a seemingly trivial subject — the latest Zellweger's [sic] plastic surgery," in which "Amy Nicholson reveals brilliantly the diktats of appearance in Hollywood."

Another big winner on Sunday was former Weekly staff writer Gendy Alimurung, awarded the top honor in the hard-fought category of Best Personality Profile in long-form. Alimurung was praised by the judges for her bio of California's most famed news photographer, "The Shot of a Lifetime: Nick Ut's Napalm Girl Helped End the Vietnam War. Today in L.A., He's Still Shooting." The panelists wrote that her in-depth profile "reveals in stunning detail the horrors and injuries, physical and mental, faced by photojournalists. Not to be missed."

Other big winners in the eighth annual NAEJ Awards award presented by the L.A. Press Club included Daniel Miller of the Los Angeles Times for Journalist of the Year, Kim Masters and Stephen Galloway of The Hollywood Reporter for Business Journalists of the Year and The Hollywood Reporter's Gary Baum for Investigative Journalist of the Year, with a nod to his probe of wealthy parents who refuse vaccines for their children, "The 'Entitled' Westsiders Behind L.A.'s Epidemic.”

In the broadcast field, a big winner was KCET, which won Best Documentary for its probe of "The Creative Economy" by Juan Devis, Matthew Crotty, Chris Metzler and Jeff Springer.

An L.A. Weekly cover: Nick Ut takes a break during the turmoil of war.
An L.A. Weekly cover: Nick Ut takes a break during the turmoil of war.

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