Awards season is upon us and AwardsWatch is at the forefront of expert predictions starting right here with the 79th New York Film Critics Circle. Among the oldest critics groups in the country, the NYFCC recently began trumping the National Board of Review as the first critics group out of the gate. Known for volatile and vocal infighting with their voting process, the NYFCC are often the most entertaining group as someone inevitably tweets from the discussion table how their voting is evolving, who’s fighting with whom, who’s ahead and who has no chance. It’s a nail-biter for those of us deep into awards predicting and often the jumping off point for a film or individual’s Oscar trajectory.
Although they aren’t quite the Oscar Best Picture predictors that they once were (they’ve aligned with just 3 of the last 10 Best Picture Oscar winners), they can help shape and create buzz for films or performances. Sometimes they go right for the highest rated film of the year. This year seems inevitable to pit 12 Years a Slave and Gravity against each other as each are huge critical hits. 12 Years a Slave will benefit from appearing to be the ‘important’ film of the year and Gravity is a case where a huge risk paid off critically and financially. But if we think the race is just between those two films, isn’t that the perfect opportunity for those warring factions to lose out to a surprise attack from a more consensus choice? Will we see a single film dominate like in the past with Zero Dark Thirty or The Social Network? Based on our experts’ thoughts, between being the last two films seen and that they might seem too populist, American Hustle and The Wolf of Wall Street probably won’t make much of an impact here. But, NYFCC also loves their star power at their awards so Jennifer Lawrence may just show up, especially after the debacle last year when she was thwarted from a Lead Actress win by factions that were pro-Emmanuelle Riva (and Jessica Chastain, who led in early rounds of voting), leading to a divided group “consensus” second choice win for Rachel Weisz. Or, also last year, when Hathaway haters blocked her win and gave it to Sally Field. It’s one of the most fascinating elements of the NYFCC; their volleying back and forth between embracing popular wins and fighting against frontrunners.
Best Actress, despite what our experts say, could be in for a fight. Even though we almost unanimously have chosen Cate Blanchett in Blue Jasmine to win, her performance and the film have detractors in the NYFCC. If that happens it wouldn’t be the first time Blanchett opponents have blocked her from winning. Famously, or infamously, Cameron Diaz won for There’s Something About Mary in 1998 where, according to an NYFCC member, “The highbrow joined the lowbrow to stop at the middlebrow.” How far will they go this year to block a win and who would triumph as a result? Sandra Bullock? Julie Delpy? Or possibly the most buzzed about performance of the year in newcomer and Cannes Palme d’Or winner Adèle Exarchopoulos for Blue is the Warmest Color. Now, the odds are against her in that a foreign language film performance hasn’t won in this category since Norma Aleandro for The Official Story back in 1985. But, 10 years before that the performance from a then just 19-years old (same as Adèle) Isabelle Adjani won here (and got her an Oscar nomination) for The Story of Adele H. so it’s not completely impossible. We could see a Blue vs. Blue battle for Best Actress this year. Eh, they’ll probably just give it to Meryl Streep again.
The NYFCC will announce their awards on Tuesday, December 3, 2013. Eight of the 11 Gold Rush Gang members have chosen their picks to win the NYFCC awards and here they are:
*12 Years a Slave – Evan, Richard, Kenneth, Peter, Michael, Erik, Dennis, Beth
*Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity – Evan, Richard, Kenneth, Dennis, Beth
Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave – Peter, Michael, Erik
*Her – Evan, Richard, Peter, Michael, Erik, Dennis
Before Midnight – Kenneth, Beth
*Chiwetel Ejiofor, 12 Years a Slave – Richard, Kenneth, Peter, Michael, Dennis
Robert Redford, All is Lost – Evan, Erik, Beth
*Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine – Evan, Richard, Kenneth, Peter, Michael, Dennis, Beth
Julie Delpy, Before Midnight – Erik
*Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club – Evan, Richard, Kenneth, Michael, Dennis, Beth
Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street – Peter
Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave – Erik
*Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years a Slave – Richard, Kenneth, Peter, Dennis
Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle – Evan, Beth
June Squibb, Nebraska – Michael, Erik
*The Wind Rises – Evan, Richard, Kenneth, Peter, Michael, Erik, Dennis, Beth
*Blue is the Warmest Color – Evan, Richard, Kenneth, Erik, Peter, Michael, Dennis, Beth
*The Act of Killing – Kenneth, Peter, Michael, Erik , Richard
Stories We Tell – Evan, Dennis, Beth
*Emmanuel Lubeski, Gravity – Evan, Richard, Kenneth, Michael, Gravity, Erik, Dennis, Beth
Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis – Peter
*Fruitvale Station – Richard, Peter, Michael, Erik
Wadjda – Evan, Beth, Kenneth
Tim’s Vermeer – Dennis
Come and let your voice be heard. Join the Gold Rush Contest and make your predictions now!