Previewing the New York Film Critics Circle

The precursor award season is about to kick off on Monday with the New York Film Critics naming their best of the year.  This is when all the speculation, hope, and despair is laid to rest for many contenders and films but as performances like Tommy Lee Jones in In the Valley of Elah or films like The Blind Side and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close will tell you, it’s not over until the President and guest read your name off the teleprompter.

This month brings the following announcement schedule:

  • Monday, 12/3 – New York Film Critics
  • Wednesday, 12/5 – National Board of Review
  • Friday, 12/7 – Los Angeles Film Critics
  • Sunday, 12/9 – New York Film Critics Online & Boston Film Critics
  • Tuesday, 12/11 – Broadcast Film Critics Association Announces Nominees!!!
  • Wednesday, 12/12 – Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations
  • Thursday, 12/13 – Golden Globe Award Nominations

Those are the biggies listed above and give or take National Society of Film Critics and/or AFI if they announce this month.  Oscar Predictions are in process of being updated since the migration to a private server but I’ll weigh in on my thoughts on the Oscar Circuit article later this weekend.

At this time last year, many pundits including myself already felt that Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist would likely eat up the awards season and go all the way.  This year, very reminiscent of the 2000-2001 awards season when Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic, and Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon battled it out all season even on Oscar night, looks to be following suit.

The NYFCC awarded the following last year:


 Last year’s winner…Will NYFCC choose the Oscar winner again?

Best Picture

  1. The Artist
  2. Melancholia
  3. Hugo

Best Actor

  1. Brad Pitt – The Tree of Life, Moneyball
  2. Michael Fassbender – Shame
  3. Jean Dujardin – The Artist

Best Actress

  1. Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady
  2. Michelle Williams – My Week with Marilyn
  3. Kirsten Dunst – Melancholia

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Albert Brooks – Drive
  2. Christopher Plummer – Beginners
  3. Viggo Mortensen – A Dangerous Method

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Jessica Chastain – The Help, Take Shelter, The Tree of Life
  2. Carey Mulligan – Shame
  3. Vanessa Redgrave – Coriolanus

Best Director

  1. Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist
  2. Martin Scorsese – Hugo
  3. Lars Von Trier – Melancholia

Best Screenplay

  1. Moneyball – Aaron Sorkin, Steven Zailian
  2. Midnight in Paris – Woody Allen
  3. The Descendants – Alexander Payne, Jim Rash, Nat Faxon

Best Cinematographer

  1. The Tree of Life – Emmanuel Lubezski
  2. Hugo – Robert Richardson
  3. Melancholia – Manuel Alberto Claro

The group had an Oscar winner mentioned in every major category with the exception of Supporting Actress that went to Octavia Spencer in The Help.  Assuming they follow the same idea this year, Monday could be incredibly telling of the Oscar ceremony.

You would think being an East Coaster, I’d feel some type of leg up and feel intuitive with the critics’ group but sadly do not.  Lincoln was the secret screening of the New York Film Festival (as was Hugo last year) so I suspect a few mentions for the film in some categories even if it is runner-ups.  I’ve heard many pundits, unfairly I might add, say the reason Tom Hooper’s Les Miserables was so well-received at the premiere screening was because we are a “theater-loving” city.  My response is did that help films like The Phantom of the Opera or Nine?  If a movie is good, it’s good, and Les Miserables is VERY good.  The group does love their smaller, indie-hits which bodes well for films like The Perks of Being a Wallflower or Arbitrage, both from Summit Entertainment and both first time directors.  Perhaps even Focus Features’ Moonrise Kingdom can surprise.

What film needs a boost from the group?  Believe it or not, Ben Affleck’s Argo needs a good kick in the right direction at least for the conversation on winning Best Picture.  Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master has ridden the line between pundits feeling it’s a nominee or a forgotten gem.  A win would only near-solidify its chances at a nomination.

In the acting categories, it’s time to see if the presumed frontrunners are in fact that, frontrunners.  If the “buzz” is correct then either Daniel Day-Lewis or Joaquin Phoenix should win Lead Actor with no problem.  I wouldn’t be surprised to hear someone like Bradley Cooper for Silver Linings Playbook or Jean-Louis Tringnant for Amour showing up.  The former has all the makings of a NYFCC winner.  Who would be great choices?  Logan Lerman in The Perks of Being a Wallflower or even Richard Gere in Arbitrage, two terrific performances that will be rolled over this season by “bigger” stars and louder films, could get a nice consolation notice here.  On the Supporting front, I feel Philip Seymour Hoffman has that all sewn up with New York as a lead performance in supporting.  They do often align with what audiences are championing so maybe that works out for an actor like John Goodman, who had a great year in Argo, Flight, and Trouble with the Curve.  What if Matthew McConaughey stripped his way into contention and Magic Mike sticks out to critics?  Could McConaughey jump into the race?  They do like literary adaptations which could push someone like Garrett Hedlund in On the Road.  I’m crossing my fingers of a “resurrection” campaign for Dwight Henry, who still stands as one of the year’s finest breakthroughs in Beasts of the Southern Wild.  While I think Anne Hathaway is winning the Oscar in a walk, NYFCC might look elsewhere for a fine performance.  Could Doona Bae land on the radar for Cloud Atlas?  They may go for the brave work of Helen Hunt in Ben Lewin’s The Sessions I suspect.

This is shooting into the dark.  Your guess is as good as mine.  Take a look below, include your predictions in the comment section and welcome to the Precursor Season.

New York Film Critics Predictions

Best Picture

  1. Les Miserables
  2. Lincoln
  3. The Master

Best Actor

  1.  Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln
  2. Joaquin Phoenix in The Master
  3. Hugh Jackman in Les Miserables

Best Actress

  1. Emmanuelle Riva in Amour
  2. Quvenzhane Wallis – Beasts of the Southern Wild
  3. Jennifer Lawrence in Silver Linings Playbook

Best Supporting Actor

  1. Philip Seymour Hoffman in The Master
  2. John Goodman in Argo, Flight, and Trouble with the Curve
  3. Matthew McConaughey in Magic Mike

Best Supporting Actress

  1. Helen Hunt in The Sessions
  2. Anne Hathaway in Les Miserables
  3. Ann Dowd in Compliance

Best Director

  1. Tom Hooper in Les Miserables
  2. Steven Spielberg in Lincoln
  3. Wes Anderson in Moonrise Kingdom

Best Screenplay

  1. Mark Boal for Zero Dark Thirty
  2. David O. Russell for Silver Linings Playbook
  3. Wes Anderson for Moonrise Kingdom

Best Cinematographer

  1. Claudio Miranda for Life of Pi
  2. Mihai Malamaire Jr. for The Master
  3. Seamus McGarvey for Anna Karenina

Best Foreign Language Film

  1. Amour
  2. Barbara
  3. Holy Motors

Best Non-Fiction Film

  1. Searching for Sugar Man
  2. West of Memphis
  3. The Central Park Five

Best Animated Film

  1. Wreck-It Ralph
  2. Frankenweenie
  3. ParaNorman

Best First Film

  1. Stephen Chbosky for The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  2. Nicholas Jarecki for Arbitrage
  3. Adam Leon for Gimme the Loot

Comment and discuss!