The awards season is upon us! This past week, both the New York Film Critics and the National Board of Review announced their winners, and the Los Angeles Film Critics will be following suit later today. So since we have a light weekend in new releases (Wild and Still Alice are in limited release and worth your time, while The Pyramid is in wide release and isn’t), let’s look at the first week of winners.
Its important to note that these awards are not the greatest indicators of future hardware. We really only see the consensus of a limited group of individuals, albeit knowledgeable ones. There are many critics awards this time of year (Boston and D.C. are two others for example), but NY and LA are the most well known. The National Board of Review is a non-profit that works for the betterment of self-expression in film, among other things, so their scope is a little more narrow, but still a very respected one.
Here are the winners in compirable categories. NYC = New York Critics Circle, NBR = National Board of Review
Best Film: NYC – Boyhood, NBR – A Most Violent Year
Best Director: NYC – Richard Linklater (Boyhood), NBR – Clint Eastwood (American Sniper)
Best Actor: NYC – Timothy Spall (Mr. Turner), NBR – Tie, Oscar Isaac (A Most Violent Year) & Michael Keaton (Birdman)
Best Actress: NYC – Marion Cotillard (The Immigrant & Two Days, One Night), NBR – Julianne Moore (Still Alice)
Best Supporting Actor: NYC – J.K. Simmons (Whiplash), NBR – Edward Norton (Birdman)
Best Supporting Actress: NYC – Patricia Arquette (Boyhood), NBR – Jessica Chastain (A Most Violent Year)
Best Screenplay: NYC – The Grand Budapest Hotel, NBR – The Lego Movie (Original), Inherent Vice (Adapted)
Best Animated Film: NYC – The Lego Movie, NBR – How to Train Your Dragon 2
Best Foreign Film: NYC – Ida, NBR – Wild Tales
Best Documentary: NYC – Citizenfour, NBR – Life Itself
Other Awards: NYC – Best Cinematography: Darius Khondji (The Immigrant); Best First Film: Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), NBR – Best Ensemble: Fury; Breakthrough Performance: Jack O’Connell (Starred Up & Unbroken); NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Rosewater & Selma
So…some thoughts. The NBR loses a bit of credibility in failing to pick The Lego Movie for their Best Animated Film Award. But they do tend to pick their favorites regardless, as you can see with A Most Violent Year. The films/people to really keep an eye on for future awards are Boyhood (currently my favorite pick to win Best Picture at the Oscars), J.K. Simmons, The Lego Movie, and Michael Keaton. Julianne Moore also is quickly becoming the favorite in the Best Actress Race. A new more names here will likely be seen on future awards lists, so its not like they aren’t good choices, I just don’t see them as favorites.
An interesting note is the almost complete omission of Unbroken. Many folks have had this as an Oscar favorite since day one. I have not, because I wait to see the finished product. I think it could get some nominations, and again, these awards aren’t that telling, and we also don’t get a sense of who the “finalists” were.
Where do They Come From?
- The Pyramid: Original
These ten films are the “Best of the Year,” IF THE YEAR ENDED TODAY. This weekend’s releases not included.
They are ranked based on likelihood of winning Best Picture at the Oscars, with #1 being most likely. International films not included until end of year if Oscar potential exists. Numbers in parenthesis are indicative of how many places the film moved from week to week.
DISCLAIMER: I may not personally recommend (or even like) all films on this list.