The kick-off of the 2014/2015 awards season begins this Monday, December 1st with the announcement of the New York Film Critics Circle winners. One of the oldest organizations to give out awards, every year seems to have a controversy or a kerfuffle of some kind. Whether it’s heated argument and debate or the leaking of voting totals (as Lou Lumenick did last year) that have both resulted in one or more members getting the boot, they’re always a fun and exciting affair. The National Board of Review (which reveal on Tuesday the 2nd, predictions up tomorrow) always used to be the first to go but a few years ago New York decided it wanted to be the guy who posts “First!” in the comments section of a breaking news story and get their awards out before anyone else.
This is both a blessing and a curse as I see it. Being the first means you get to set the mark. You can have winners that are expected and begin their race towards Oscar or you can make a left-field choice that creates a path for someone new. The multiple voting rounds that New York employs can also give surprise winners. You can have two frontrunners in a category that seem almost dead-locked, with factions on either side unwilling to budge. That opens the door for a third choice to come in and steal the crown. Looking at last year, critic Lou Lumenick was kicked out for revealing vote totals, which goes against the group’s bylaws. But in doing so he showed us that the multiple voting rounds can be complicated and topsy-turvy. While 12 Years a Slave seemed like an early round lock for Best Picture, it took three rounds and nearly five hours for the tables to turn and for American Hustle to eek out a win. That film had also been the last for the group to see before voting.
Looking at the predictions from the Gold Rush Gang, Boyhood is the clear favorite with all 10 members predicting it to win here. Seems like an easy choice as it’s still the highest rated narrative feature of 2014. Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor are also across the board locks with Julianne Moore in Still Alice and J.K. Simmons in Whiplash looking to begin their rule of this awards season. Moore has won virtually every critic and industry award available in her career but two are still just out of reach for her; the NYFCC and the Oscar. That should all change this year. Best Actor is a near lock with our group for Michael Keaton in Birdman, with just one vote going to David Oyelowo in Selma from GRG member Jason. Same goes for Richard Linklater in Director where he has 9/10 votes, with Peter selecting Birdman‘s Alejandro G. Iñárritu to prevail. Best Supporting Actress looks like an exciting race with Boyhood’s Patricia Arquette snagging five votes, Jessica Chastain in A Most Violent Year getting four and 2014’s Gold Rush Contest champion Matt L. going outside the box and choosing Meryl Streep in Into the Woods to win here. A risky choice? Maybe it’s shrewd one since the NYFCC loooves Streep. She has five previous wins and 10 mentions from the group.
The Screenplay category also looks ripe for either an upset or at least for an exciting choice. With votes scattered among our group to Selma, Boyhood, Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel it’s anyone’s game. Budapest‘s writer/director Wes Anderson has never won here at NYFCC but he’s gotten close. Moonrise Kingdom and The Royal Tenenbaums came in 2nd place and Rushmore in 3rd. Could this be his year?
Check out all of the Gold Rush Gang predictions below and don’t forget to join this year’s Gold Rush Contest and have a chance to be in next year’s Gold Rush Gang, the best and only real-time Oscar predictors on the web.