Seattle Film Critics Society Announces the 10 Best Films of 2023 and the Presentation of the John Hartl Pacific Northwest Spotlight Award to Lily Gladstone

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Seattle Film Critics Society (SFCS) Announces the 10 Best Films of 2023 and the Presentation of the First Annual John Hartl Pacific Northwest Spotlight Award to Lily Gladstone whose Fancy Dance Will Screen December 27 at SIFF

As part of our annual awards highlighting the best in film, Seattle Film Critics Society (SFCS) has added a new award to specifically honor the outstanding work of a person with local ties to the region. The John Hartl Pacific Northwest Spotlight award is named in honor of John Hartl, the late Seattle Times film critic whose legacy remains a beacon in the region and beyond when it comes to writing about film. The SFCS Board will present the award annually to acknowledge an exceptional body of work, rather than a single film or performance, that represents the Pacific Northwest.

This year, we will be presenting the inaugural PNW Spotlight award to Lily Gladstone (Winter in the Blood, Certain Women, The Unknown Country, Killers of the Flower Moon, Reservation Dogs, Quantum Cowboys) and showing her latest acclaimed film Fancy Dance at SIFF Cinema Uptown on December 27 at 7 p.m. Gladstone moved to Snohomish from the reservation of the Blackfeet Nation (Browning, Montana) with her family when she was in middle school and went on to attend Mountlake Terrace High School, where she began to explore acting in various local productions. Gladstone will be in attendance to receive the award and will take part in a post-film Q&A.

Tickets to the event and screening will be available at

“My husband, John Hartl, looked for excellence everywhere. He cast his net wide open when it came to all areas of the arts, including music, dance, theater and literature of every variety. He was always on the lookout for something unexpected, something that would take him somewhere he hadn’t been before,” Michael Upchurch said. “There couldn’t be a better tribute to John and the passion that he brought to the film scene in Seattle. John’s whole family and I are thrilled that the Seattle Film Critics Society will be giving this award in his name.”

“Lily Gladstone first knocked me out in Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, where she held her own in a film starring screen veterans like Michelle Williams and Laura Dern. For well over a decade now, she’s lit up screens both big and small, from Hulu’s Reservation Dogs to Martin Scorsese’s powerful Killers of the Flower Moon, all while exemplifying the rich and varied lives of Native Americans from the 1920s to the 2020s,” SFCS President Kathy Fennessy said. “We’re honored to present the very first John Hartl Pacific Northwest Spotlight Award to a performer who brings the same skill and sensitivity to her work that John brought to his, and we can’t wait to see what she does next.”

Best Films of 2023

SFCS is also announcing the first phase of our awards with the 10 Best Films of 2023 as voted on by 100% of our 37 local member critics from all the releases of the year. They are, in alphabetical order: 

  • American Fiction (dir. Cord Jefferson)
  • Barbie (dir. Greta Gerwig)
  • The Holdovers (dir. Alexander Payne)
  • Killers of the Flower Moon (dir. Martin Scorsese) 
  • May December (dir. Todd Haynes)
  • Oppenheimer (dir. Christopher Nolan)
  • Past Lives (dir. Celine Song)
  • Poor Things (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)
  • Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (dir. Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson)
  • The Zone of Interest (dir. Jonathan Glazer)

The best film of the year and the remainder of the SFCS awards will be announced January 8th.