The winners of the 78th annual New York Film Critics Circle Awards will be announced on Dec. 3. Among the leading contenders, Daniel Day-Lewis ("Lincoln") has been a particular favorite of the NYFCC with three wins: "My Left Foot" (1989), "Gangs of New York" (2002) and "There Will Be Blood" (2007). He won Oscars for the first and last of these films.
Last year, the NYFCC was so determined to get ahead of the other film awards that it unveiled its winners on Nov. 28. "The Artist" won both Best Picture and Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius) at these kudos before taking both these prizes at the Oscars. Meryl Streep won her fourth Best Actress prize from the Gotham critics for her portayal of British PM Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady" and went on to claim her third Oscar for the role.
Brad Pitt was cited as Best Actor by the NYFCC for his work in both "Moneyball" and "The Tree of Life." And Jessica Chastain was named Supporting Actress for three films: "The Help," "Take Shelter" and "The Tree of Life." Pitt reaped an Oscar bid for "Moneyball" while Chastain was recognized for "The Help." Other NYFCC winners that also contended at the Oscars were scripters Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin ("Moneyball") and lenser Emmanuel Lubezki ("The Tree of Life").
Albert Brooks won over the NYFCC with his featured role in "Drive" but was snubbed by academy voters.
Two years ago, the NYFCC waited until Dec. 13, the day after winners were announced by the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. Both groups went with "The Social Network" for Best Picture and its helmer, David Fincher, as Best Director. They also agreed on Colin Firth ("The King's Speech") as Best Actor. Firth prevailed at the Oscars as did his film and its helmer Tom Hooper.
In 2010, the Gotham group went with "The Kids Are All Right" players Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actor respectively while Melissa Leo ("The Fighter") won Best Supporting Actress. Only Leo triumphed at the Oscars. The NYFCC love for "Kids" extended to the Screenplay award which was shared by director Lisa Cholodenko and Stuart Blumberg. They edged out, among others, L.A. champ Aaron Sorkin ("The Social Network") and runner-up David Seidler ("The King's Speech"), who both went on to win Oscars.
In 2009, both groups chose "The Hurt Locker" as the Best Picture and its helmer Kathryn Bigelow as Best Director. And both went with eventual Oscar champs Mo'Nique ("Precious") and Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds") for the supporting awards. Both of the NYFCC winners of the top acting awards -- George Clooney ("Up in the Air") and Streep ("Julie & Julia") -- vied for Oscars.
New York and L.A. critics don't always select the same film, though. In 2008, the Gothamites chose "Milk" while the west was won over by "Wall-E." In 2007, NYFCC opted for "No Country for Old Men" and LAFCA pumped up "There Will Be Blood." And in 2006, the top film for New Yorkers was "United 93" while the L.A. critics penned a love note to "Letters from Iwo Jima."
"Milk" did not win best picture with the NYFCC till ballot four with 29 points. "Rachel Getting Married" had 25 points while both "Happy-Go-Lucky" and eventual Oscar champ "Slumdog Millionaire" had 20 points. As Gotham critic circle member Mike D'Angelo of Esquire wrote on his Twitter stream that day: "My sense is that 'Milk' wound up as the I-can-live-with-that compromise choice for voters blocking 'Slumdog' and voters blocking 'Rachel.'"
The NYFCC has a history of such compromised decisions. In 1994, "Quiz Show" did not reap any votes during the first voting round but still won the top award after the two camps gave up their fights for "Forrest Gump" and "Pulp Fiction. And "My Left Foot" won Best Picture in 1989 after the critics couldn’t decide between "Do the Right Thing" and "Enemies, A Love Story." At least "My Left Foot" scored a few scattered points on the first ballot.