What do Critics’ Choice Awards mean for Oscars?

The Critics’ Choice Awards are one of the best barometers for predicting the Oscars. Over their 19-year history, these awards bestowed by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. have previewed 12 Best Picture Oscar winners as well as 13 Best Actor, 10 Best Actress, 10 Supporting Actor, and 12 Supporting Actress champs. (See full list of winners here)

And with many of the categories at these kudos having six slots, they do well at foreseeing the eventual five Oscar nominees. This year, they previewed 26 of the 33 Oscar nominees in the top six categories; last year, they went 28 of the 34, in 2012 it was 29 out of 34.

Below, an analysis of this year’s BFCA winners and nominations for these top six awards, including handicapping the likelihood of these prizes previewing the eventual winners slate at the Oscars. (Oscar nominees are in bold with the BFCA winner in gold as well.)  And see full report on winners here

BEST PICTURE
“Birdman”
“Boyhood”
“Gone Girl”
“The Grand Budapest Hotel”
“The Imitation Game”
“Nightcrawler”
“Selma”
“The Theory of Everything”
“Unbroken”
“Whiplash”

The BFCA lineup included seven of the eight Best Picture contenders, missing “American Sniper.” “Boyhood” continued it sweep across the major critics’ groups. With members casting their ballots after Sunday’s Globes, we might have seen an upset here by “Grand Budapest,” which had to settle for Best Comedy. 

Last year, the BFCA previewed eight of the nine Oscar nominees for Best Picture: “American Hustle” “Captain Phillips,” “Dallas Buyers Club,” “Gravity,” “Her,” “Nebraska,” “12 Years a Slave” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”The BFCA snubbed “Philomena” in favor of “Inside Llewyn Davis” and “Saving Mr. Banks.” After being snubbed by the three major print critics awards — the Gotham and LA groups and the national society — “12 Years a Slave,” which had won over many regional critics, picked up this prize before going on to take the Oscar. 

In 2012, the BFCA foresaw eight of the the nine Best Picture nominees: “Argo,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Django Unchained,” “Les Miserables,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln,” Silver Linings Playbook,” “Zero Dark Thirty.” They opted for “The Master” and “Moonrise Kingdom” over eventual Oscar contender “Amour.” Both the BFCA and the Oscars went with “Argo.” 
 

BEST DIRECTOR
Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Ava DuVernay, “Selma”
David Fincher,  “Gone Girl”
Alejandro G. Inarritu, “Birdman”
Angelina Jolie, “Unbroken”
Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

The BFCA snubbed Oscar and DGA nominee Morten Tyldum (“The Imitation Game”) and Oscar contender Bennett Miller, whose film reaped just two bids here. Linklater has claimed the lion’s share of critics awards and is the clear frontrunner for the Oscar. 

Last year, the BFCA foresaw four of the Best Director Oscar nominees — Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”), Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”), David O. Russell (“American Hustle”) and Martin Scorsese (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) — but opted for Paul Greengrass (“Captain Phillips”) and Spike Jonze (“Her”) over eventual Oscar nominee Alexander Payne (“Nebraska”). Cuaron won both races. 

In 2012, the BFCA presaged three of the Best Director Oscar nominees: Ang Lee (“Life of Pi”); David O. Russell (“Silver Linings Playbook”); Steven Spielberg (“Lincoln”). Snubbed Ben Affleck won the Critics’ Choice award while Lee took home the Oscar.
 

BEST ACTOR
Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”
Ralph Fiennes , “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Jake Gyllenhaal, “Nightcrawler”
Michael Keaton, “Birdman”
David Oyelowo, “Selma”
Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”

The BFCA gave short shrift to Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper”) and Steve Carell (“Foxcatcher”). Keaton staunched the threat from his British Oscar rivals with a win here and another solid acceptance speech. 

Last year, the Critics’ Choice awards foresaw four of the five Oscar nominees: Christian Bale (“American Hustle“), Bruce Dern (“Nebraska“) Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave“) and Matthew McConaughey (“Dallas Buyers Club“). However it went with Tom Hanks (“Captain Phillips“) and Robert Redford (“All is Lost“) over the late-breaking Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Wolf of Wall Street”). McConaughey won both prizes. 

In 2012, the BFCA foresaw all five of the the eventual Best Actor nominees — Bradley Cooper (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”), Hugh Jackman (“Les Miserables”), Joaquin Phoenix (“The Master”) and Denzel Washington (“Flight”) — with Day-Lewis winning both awards. 
 

BEST ACTRESS
Jennifer Aniston, “Cake”
Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”
Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”
Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”
Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”
Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”

With six nominees, the BFCA foresaw the five Oscar finalists; Aniston may well have just missed a nomination there. 

Moore continues on a victory tour that should end onstage at the Dolby. 

Last year, the Critics Choice Best Actress roster included four of the Oscar contenders — Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine“), Sandra Bullock (“Gravity“), Judi Dench (“Philomena“) and Meryl Streep (“August: Osage County“). It went with Brie Larson (“Short Term 12“) and Emma Thompson (“Saving Mr. Banks“) over eventual Oscar nominee Amy Adams (“American Hustle”). Blanchett won both races. 

In 2012, the BFCA predicted the Best Actress lineup at the Oscars — Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”), Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook), Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour), Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild) and Naomi Watts (“The Impossible”) — with Chastain winning over the critics but losing the Oscar to Lawrence. 
 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Josh Brolin, “Inherent Vice”
Robert Duvall, “The Judge”
Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”
Edward Norton, “Birdman”
Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”
J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”

All but Brolin made the cut with the academy. Simmons is steamrollering his way to the Oscars. 

Last year, four of the eventual Oscar nominees first reaped Critics’ Choice bids: Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips“), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle“) Michael Fassbender (“12 Years a Slave“) and Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club“). The BFCA went with Daniel Bruhl “(Rush“) and James Gandolfini (“Enough Said“) over Jonah Hill (“The Wolf of Wall Street”). Leto claimed both prizes. 

In 2012, the BFCA foresaw four of the five Oscar nominees — Alan Arkin (“Argo”), Robert De Niro (“Silver Linings Playbook”), Philip Seymour Hoffman (“The Master”) and Tommy Lee Jones (“Lincoln”) — but nominated Javier Bardem (“Skyfall”) and Matthew McConaughey (“Magic Mike”) over eventual Oscar winner Christoph Waltz (“Django Unchained“). The BFCA winner was Hoffman. 
 

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Jessica Chastain, “A Most Violent Year”
Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”
Emma Stone, “Birdman”
Meryl Streep, “Into the Woods”

Tilda Swinton, “Snowpiercer”

The BFCA snubbed Laura Dern (“Wild”), the fifth Oscar contender. As with Simmons, Arquette looks unstoppable, as she has all season long. 

Last year, the BFCA previewed four of the Oscar contenders: Jennifer Lawrence (“American Hustle“), Lupita Nyongo (“12 Years a Slave“), Julia Roberts (“August: Osage County“) and June Squibb (“Nebraska“). However, it nominated Scarlett Johansson (“Her“) and Oprah Winfrey (“The Butler“) over Oscar contender Sally Hawkins (“Blue Jasmine”). Nyongo won both awards. 

In 2012, the BFCA got four of the eventual Oscar nominees — Amy Adams (“The Master”);  Sally Field (“Lincoln”); Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”); Helen Hunt (“The Sessions”) — but went with Judi Dench (“Skyfall”) and Ann Dowd (“Compliance”) over eventual Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver (“Silver Linings Playbook”). Hathway won over both the BFCA and the academy. 

4 thoughts on “What do Critics’ Choice Awards mean for Oscars?

  1. Well there is no reason for anyone to bother watching the Oscars everyone knows how it wil turn out. Keaton and Moore will get their life achievement awards and young people will stop watching like they have before because it’s not about the best performance it is about whether you are middle aged and have been passed over too many times. So Eddie Redmayne will lose because he is only 32 and the Academy presumes they can reward him later because as we all know the Academy knows exactly how long as their nominees are going to live. Wit each passing year (with a one or two year exception now and then) the Academy gives out its Life Achievement awards and becomes less relevant.

  2. Bella, normally I would agree with the ridiculousness of “lifetime achievement” awards over awarding the actual best performance of the year. I thought Michael Keaton was extraordinary, though. Redmayne nailed the physicality of his role, but he picture faltered halfway through and lost direction. Keaton carried his film with a ride range of emotions from beginning to end. All my opinion, of course, but I’ll be happy to see Keaton win.

  3. Um..Moore has been getting universally praised w/ many saying it’s her best. Granted, many are also saying the movie itself is ranging from Lifetime movie esque to simple, direct and very good (so the consensus on the movie is it’s good enough) but Moore is the entire core of the movie! Not at all uncommon for best actors to get the only nod (over their movie). Sorry but Moore was flawless. Opinions and just that. They’ll always be people who say she did better work and/or was overlooked downright for other/better performances. Regardless, she’s having a Sandra Bullock kind of zenith now and as Peter Trevers from Rolling Stone said “you bet your a*s she’s overdue and 100% worthy of this damn award for THIS role”! lol

  4. I wish Cumberbatch won, but it seems (unless PGA and DGA change the cards on the table) they’re going either for Keaton (as good as Cumberbatch, I wouldn’t complain if he won, even if by heart I would have gone for BC) or Redmayne, which nailed the physicality of his role but it all stopped there, honestly the dialogues were horrible and the movie is sugar-coated and doesn’t develop properly. We’ll see.

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