On Monday, the New York Film Critics Circle embraced Oscar frontrunner “Boyhood,” naming it Best Picture and honoring both director Richard Linklater and supporting actress Patricia Arquette as well. They lead our Oscar predictions as do the NYFCC choices for Supporting Actor (J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash“) and Animated Feature (“The Lego Movie“).
Recognition from the Circle is a big boost for Best Actor champ Timothy Spall (“Mr. Turner“). He has been fighting for the fifth slot at the Oscars for months now and this raises his profile at just the right time.
And with widespread sentiment that the Best Actress race at the Oscars is relatively weak, Marion Cotillard could well contend for either of the two films — “The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night” — for which she was feted by the Gotham critics.
Since it first handed out awards in 1935, the Circle has previewed just 31 of the 78 Oscar winners for Best Picture; it did not meet in 1962 due to the newspaper strike. However, all but eight of its honorees have gone on to at least reap a Best Picture bid.
That 40% success rate for foreseeing the Best Picture winner has held as it presaged only two — “The Hurt Locker” (2009) and “The Artist” (2011) — of the last five champs. And it did come close last year as eventual Oscar winner “12 Years a Slave” was edged out on the fifth ballot here by “American Hustle.”
The Circle has predicted about the same number of lead acting Oscar champs: 32 for Best Actor and 30 for Best Actress (plus one of each who went on to win supporting at the Oscars). However, since introducing supporting acting awards in 1969, it has only presaged 13 winners of each of these categories at the Oscars.