The New York Film Critics Circle have had their say, handing out three awards for “Zero Dark Thirty” and three for “Lincoln.” Here’s what we’ve learned about the Oscars from this first batch of precursor prizes.
BEST PICTURE: "Zero Dark Thirty"
“Zero Dark Thirty” is now a surefire Best Picture nominee, especially with the expanded field. Since the Circle was formed in 1935, only eight of their top picks have not been nominated for Best Picture: “Day for Night” (1973), “Amarcord” (1974), “The Player” (1992), “Leaving Las Vegas” (1995), “Topsy-Turvy” (1999), “Mulholland Drive” (2001), “Far from Heaven” (2002), and “United 93” (2006).
Thirty-one of the NYFCC Best Picture winners repeated at the Oscars: “The Life of Emile Zola” (1937), “Going My Way” (1944), “The Lost Weekend” (1945), “The Best Years of Our Lives” (1946), “Gentleman’s Agreement” (1947), “All the King’s Men” (1949), “All About Eve” (1950), “From Here to Eternity” (1953), “On the Waterfront” (1954), “Marty” (1955), “Around the World in 80 Days” (1956), “The Bridge on the River Kwai” (1957), “Ben-Hur” (1959), “The Apartment” (1960), “West Side Story” (1961), “Tom Jones” (1963), “My Fair Lady” (1964), “A Man for All Seasons” (1966), “In the Heat of the Night” (1967), “Annie Hall” (1977), “The Deer Hunter” (1978), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), “Ordinary People” (1980), “Gandhi” (1982), “Terms of Endearment” (1983), “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), “Schindler’s List” (1993), “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), “No Country for Old Men” (2007), “The Hurt Locker” (2009), and “The Artist” (2011).
Does this stat make “Zero Dark Thirty” the new frontrunner? This win certainly helps boost its chances.
BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Unlike in 2009, this NYFCC win doesn’t make Bigelow the Oscar front-runner, but it does confirm her as a likely Best Director nominee.
BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Lincoln”
Day-Lewis is on track to become the first three-time Best Actor champ at the Oscars. Of course, there’s still a chance that some critics groups may award Joaquin Phoenix for “The Master,” whether he likes it or not.
Day-Lewis’ chief competition for the Oscar could be Hugh Jackman in “Les Miserables.” While Jackman isn’t likely to win critics awards, he is a threat at SAG and BFCA. The two won’t compete against each other at the Golden Globes, so look for Day-Lewis to take that award as well.
BEST ACTRESS: Rachel Weisz, “The Deep Blue Sea”
The biggest surprise of the day came in this category. After Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) tied on third ballot, the group opted for this out-of-left-field choice. This early award certainly puts the 2005 Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner for “The Constant Gardener” (2005) into the mix, but other groups will have to follow suit in order to make her a real contender.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Matthew McConaughey, "Bernie," “Magic Mike”
McConaughey had a stellar year so look for his name to keep popping up in the weeks to come. But beware: past Supporting Actor contenders such as Albert Brooks in “Drive” and Bill Murray in “Rushmore” dominated the critics awards but came up short on Oscar nomination day.
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Sally Field, “Lincoln”
Field is now the chief competition for Anne Hathaway ("Les Miserables"). As often happens in this category, one contender (Hathaway) could win at the Golden Globes, SAG, and BFCA, while the other (Field) could collect the lion’s share of critics awards.
BEST SCREENPLAY: Tony Kushner, “Lincoln”
The Tony and Emmy champ ("Angels in America") takes the lead in the Adapted Screenplay race. However, because the NYFCC only gives one award for Screenplay, we don’t know anything new about the Original Screenplay race.
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Greig Fraiser, “Zero Dark Thirty”
The NYFCC champ usually reaps an Oscar bid if not the win.
BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM: "Amour"
As expected, Michael Haneke’s Cannes champ took the Foreign Language film prize. Will Oscar voters also go for its grim realism over the heartwarming “The Intouchables”?
BEST ANIMATED FILM: "Frankenweenie"
No award for Pixar this year, as NYFCC went with Tim Burton’s film instead. The Animated Feature race has a new frontrunner.
BEST DOCUMENTARY: "The Central Park Five"
This film did not make the semi-finalist list at the Oscars; however "How to Survive a Plague," which won Best First Feature, did make the cut with the Documentary Branch.
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Oscar Nominations: New York state resident Tim Kressner (gufa54) won $1,000 for reaping the highest percentage (78%) when predicting Academy Award noms. Watch our video chat with him here and learn his strategy for making picks. See the leaderboard here. See Kressner's predix here.
Golden Globes (Film): Mario Gomez, a med studen in Mexico, won our contest with the highest percentage of correct picks (86%) and highest point score (2,693). See our video chat with him here. Two other contestants also scored 86%: lulo1989 and eastwest. Tom O'Neil reaped best Experts' score. David Schnelwar had top score among our Editors. See the leaderboard here to see if you made the top tier.
Critics Choice Nominations: Bryce H scored an impressive 83% when sizing up 20 categories. That was one percentage point ahead of our smartest Editor, Daniel Montgomery. Our top Expert was also one of our Editors, Paul Sheehan, who reaped 74%. To see how you performed, check out our leaderboard plus the score section of your account page.
Golden Globe (Film) Nominations: Jonathan was our top User, reaping a staggering 86% when forecasting the lineup of 10 categories. That put him six percentage points ahead of our best Expert -- Scott Mantz (Access Hollywood) -- and eight ahead of our leading Editor, Daniel Montogomery. Did you made the cut on the leaderboard score breakdown?
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award Winners: Christian aced all rivals, scoring 82%. That was almost 20 percentage points ahead of our top Expert (Edward Douglas of ComingSoon ) and Editor (Matt Noble), both of whom earned scores of 64%. Christian foresaw that surprise screenplay win for "Before Midnight." See leaderboard.