The New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) announced today that it will reveal its yearly award winners for film on December 18, 10 days later than last year. But in a huge move, they won’t be considering any film released after December 31.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the Oscars, Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild all extended their eligibility period to February 28, 2021, and the National Board of Review, which usually beats New York by no more than a few days with their awards, are moving their voting date to January 26, 2021.
The group has also decided to freeze new membership for 2020 and all current members will remain eligible to vote whether or not their jobs were impacted due to the coronavirus.
“This is a year unlike any other in our lifetimes,” says NYFCC chair Stephanie Zacharek in a statement. “But the world of movies hasn’t stopped, and already, even in this very strange year, we’ve seen a range of films and performances that have impressed and moved us. It’s more important than ever to celebrate the way movies can connect us, and the NYFCC is looking forward to honoring the best of 2020.”
This December 31 hardline will no doubt wreak havoc on the precursor race with a handful of awards contenders utilizing the extended eligibility to come out in January and February, including Sony Classics’ French Exit, MGM’s Aretha Franklin biopic Respect and Paramount’s still untitled Billie Holiday film. Those films will be eligible for the org’s 2021 awards at the end of that calendar year. Ironically, French Exit is the Closing Night film of the New York Film Festival on October 11.
Last year’s NYFCC winners included Lupita Nyong’o (Us) for Best Actress and The Irishman for Best Picture.
Founded in 1935, the Circle’s membership includes critics from daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines, and qualifying online general-interest publications. Every year in December the organization meets in New York to vote on awards for the previous calendar year’s films.