The New York Film Critics Circle got things started this Oscar season by becoming the first major critics group to announce their annual awards. Last year the New York critics gave their Best Film award to Michel Hazanavicius’ The Artist, paving the way for a near sweep of the precursor awards and eventually a Best Picture win. While the tastes of the critics groups and the Academy do not always align, the NYFCC awards are a good indication of where the awards might land.
Both Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln won three awards each from the New York critics. Zero Dark Thirty took the top prize along with a second Best Director award for Bigelow (the first was for 2009’s The Hurt Locker) and the Best Cinematography award for Greig Fraser. Lincoln scored acting awards for Daniel Day-Lewis and Sally Field along with Tony Kushner’s screenplay. Kathryn Bigelow’s film about the siege on Osama Bin Laden’s compound has been gradually getting more buzz since it first screened for critics and with today’s victory, it can now be considered a serious contender. It may even be in line to follow the same awards path as her previous feature, The Hurt Locker, which received very few acting precursor awards, but many for Best Director and Best Picture.
The biggest surprise of the day might have been Rachel Weisz snagging the Best Actress prize for her performance in Terence Davies’ The Deep Blue Sea. The last actress to win the NYFCC award and not receive an Oscar nomination was Sally Hawkins in 2008 and it has only happened twice since the year 2000. This does not necessarily guarantee some Oscar attention for Weisz, but it definitely makes her a name to watch.
Curiously absent from today’s awards were the big films from The Weinstein Company. The Master, Django Unchained, and Silver Linings Playbook were all films that had an opportunity to get recognized, but simply were not. Do not assume that means they are out of the Oscar race, however. Harvey Weinstein prefers to use his persuasive powers on members of the Academy, rather than small critics groups. Those films may factor into the awards race yet.
It’s tempting to use the New York Film Critics Circle Awards to gauge the mindset of the Academy and quickly declare frontrunners in several categories, but doing so would be premature. There are several other major award announcements coming in the next two weeks, so stay tuned for a much better picture of what is to come.
New York Film Critics Circle
Zero Dark Thirty
Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty
Daniel Day-Lewis, Lincoln
Rachel Weisz, The Deep Blue Sea
Best Supporting Actor
Matthew McConaughey, Bernie, Magic Mike
Best Supporting Actress
Sally Field, Lincoln
Tony Kushner, Lincoln
Best Animated Film
Best Non-Fiction Film
The Central Park Five
Best Foreign Language Film
Greig Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty
Best First Feature
David France, How to Survive a Plague
Don’t forget to check out the full precursor charts for the latest updates!