Mon. May 25th, 2020

What the National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Told Us About the Oscar Race

It’s December 1st and we’ve just barely carved into the first helpings of the first critics’ awards, mainly two of the oldest organizations in the business – the National Board of Review and the New York Film Critics Circle.

After big Gotham Award wins for Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird and Get Out and Independent Spirit Awards nominations for the same films (plus The Florida Project) we saw this week those same films hit big with NBR and NYFCC too.

Just as we entered awards season without a Best Picture frontrunner, these first three groups split Best Picture between three films: Call Me By Your Name, The Post, and Lady Bird. While CMBYN and Lady Bird were kind of expected, the NBR win for The Post could be giving us a clue. Or at least setting up the season for a real old school vs new school showdown. Now, obviously The Post was not eligible for The Gotham Awards but they’re still important to include as they’ve given us our last four Best Picture Oscar winners in a row. Between the Gothams and the Independent Spirit Awards (who repeated those Gotham wins for the last four years as well), independent film has really pushed its way to the big kids’ table (which is why I find Dunkirk predictions hard to swallow).

The directing prizes also split. Even if you add Jordan Peele’s Gotham win (for Breakthrough Director for Get Out) it’s still a three-way. Same goes for Actor. Although, Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) won two Breakthroughs and a Best Actor win, putting him in a very good position if he can maintain more lead wins than breakthrough.

Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) has two wins, pushing her status up even in the face of the most-awarded actress of all time, Meryl Streep (The Post). This could be our Best Actress face-off.

The supporting categories (which Gotham doesn’t have) told us A LOT. Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) took both wins so far and we might be looking at another Mahershala Ali-type domination. Supporting Actress gave us the most exciting win so far, Tiffany Haddish for Girls Trip from the New York Film Critics. It’s a good example of backing up chatter and talk when a critics’ group starts to volley around a name that should be considered but rarely is for the Oscars as they did with Haddish. But to put their money where their mouth is and give her an award opens up the path for her, legitimizing it if you will.

Elsewhere were surprise wins for Phantom Thread‘s screenplay, which certainly boosts its chances in one of the most competitive races of the season.

Documentaries are already all over the map but Coco looks to be securing its position right off the bat.

Official December Oscar predictions from the Gold Rush Gang and myself will be out a bit later than usual, after the Los Angeles Film Critics Association announces their winners on December 3 and before the Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations are announced on the 11th and 13th.

2017-2018 AWARDS TRACKER – The Critics Gotham Awards (IFP) National Board of Review (NBR) New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC)
Director Greta Gerwig – LADY BIRD Sean Baker – THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Lead Actor James Franco – THE DISASTER ARTIST Tom Hanks – THE POST Timothée Chalamet – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Lead Actress Saoirse Ronan – LADY BIRD Meryl Streep – THE POST Saoirse Ronan – LADY BIRD
Supporting Actor Willem Dafoe – THE FLORIDA PROJECT Willem Dafoe – THE FLORIDA PROJECT
Supporting Actress Laurie Metcalf – LADY BIRD Tiffany Haddish – GIRLS TRIP
Breakthrough Actor
Breakthrough Actor
Breakthrough Actress
Breakthrough Non-Gender Timothée Chalamet – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME Timothée Chalamet – CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Ensemble / Cast MUDBOUND GET OUT
Adapted Screenplay THE DISASTER ARTIST
Original Screenplay PHANTOM THREAD
Animated Film COCO COCO
Foreign Language Film FOXTROT BPM

Keep an eye out for the return of the Awards Tracker for both Critics and Industry next week.

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