JenniferLawrence-AmericanHustleThe New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) sure made a statement today as they chose their favorite films and performances from 2013.  They of course offered up a few surprises along the way.

Steve McQueen becomes the first Black filmmaker to win Best Director for his slavery epic 12 Years a Slave.  McQueen has put himself in a prime position to make history with the Academy Awards if he’s nominated and wins in the category.

Robert Redford just scored his first big win of the season for his work in J.C. Chandor’s All is Lost over formidable contenders Chiwetel Ejiofor and Matthew McConaughey.  Redford, who is believed to have been vulnerable for an Oscar omission over the past few weeks, just placed himself in a great position for Oscar recognition.  Not since 2004 has the Best Actor winner missed out on an Oscar nomination (Paul Giamatti).  Before that was David Thewlis in 1993 for Naked.

Cate Blanchett won her first New York Film Critics prize after being the runner-up in 2007 for Todd Haynes’ I’m Not There.  Starring in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine, the Oscar-winning actress seemed like a sure bet with the 78-year-old critics group.  She’s still not a runaway in the category with contenders like Sandra Bullock and Emma Thompson close on her heels.

In the Supporting categories, NYFCC turned some heads.  Jared Leto won Best Supporting Actor for his work in Dallas Buyers Club while Jennifer Lawrence edged out Lupita Nyong’o and June Squibb for Supporting Actress in David O. Russell’s American Hustle.  The Twittersphere erupted when Russell’s film won Best Screenplay for scribes Russell and Eric Singer but most of all, when the film won Best Picture.

The Wind RisesIn the Animated Feature category, they passed over the juggernauts Frozen and Monsters University in favor of Hayao Miyazaki’s final film, The Wind Rises.  Could sentiment played into them choosing the Japanese animator’s final film that played at the New York Film Festival earlier this year?  This is the third time that Miyazaki has been rewarded by the East Coast crowd.  He won for Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Ryan Coogler picked up an award for Best First Feature for Fruitvale Station, which will surely not be his last throughout the awards season.

Sarah Polley‘s passionate and beautiful Stories We Tell was chosen as the Best Non-Fiction Film beating out films like The Square and 20 Feet from Stardom.  Just minutes before the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the shortlist for the Documentary contenders which included Polley’s film.

France’s Blue is the Warmest Color catapulted over films like The Past, Wadjda, and The Hunt to win Best Foreign Film.  The Abdellatif Kechiche directed film is not eligible for Foreign Language Film at the Oscars because France did not submit it.  The European country submitted Renoir.

The full list of winners are below.  Tomorrow, the National Board of Review will weigh in with their selections of 2013 film year.  Predictions for those will be up later today.

Best Picture – American Hustle

Best Director – Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor – Robert Redford for All is Lost

Best Actress – Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actor – Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club

Best Supporting Actress – Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle

Best Screenplay – American Hustle (David O. Russell and Eric Singer)

Best Cinematographer – Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis

Best Animated Feature – The Wind Rises

Best Non-Fiction Film – Stories We Tell

Best Foreign Film – Blue is the Warmest Color

Best First Film – Fruitvale Station

Special Award – Frederick Wiseman

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Clayton Davis
Clayton Davis--prolific writer and autism awareness advocate of Puerto Rican and Black descent, known for his relentless passion, dedication, and unique aptitude. Over the course of a decade, he has been criticizing both film and television extensively. To date, he has been either featured or quoted in an array of prominent outlets, including but not limited to The New York Times, CNN.com, Variety, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, FOX 5, Bloomberg Television, AOL, Huffington Post, Bloomberg Radio, The Wrap, Slash Film, and the Hollywood Reporter. Growing up in the Bronx, Clayton’s avid interest in the movie world began the moment he first watched "Dead Poets Society” at just five years of age. While he struggled in English class all throughout grade school, he dived head first into writing, ultimately taking those insufficiencies and transforming them into ardent writings pertaining to all things film, television, and most importantly, the Academy Awards. In addition to crafting a collection of short stories that give a voice to films that haven’t made it to the silver screen, Clayton currently serves as the Founding Editor of AwardsCircuit.com. He also holds active voting membership at various esteemed organizations, such as the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Broadcast Television Journalists Association, African-American Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, Black Reel Awards, and International Press Academy. Furthermore, Clayton obtained his B.A. degree in American Studies and Communications.