What do the New York Online Film Critics Awards tell us about the Oscars?

Like the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Online have chosen “Zero Dark Thirty” as Best Picture. (Read full report here.)

This film from Kathryn Bigelow is certainly the darling of the critics who live on the East Coast while the LA-based scribes snubbed this film in favor of “Amour” and “The Master.” 

Here’s what the NYFCO tells us about the Oscar race:

BEST PICTURE: Zero Dark Thirty
The NYFCO is a relatively new group. Since forming in 2003, only two of their picks — “Slumdog Millionaire” (2008) and “The Artist” (2011) — have repeated at the Oscars. Another two of their Best Picture winners — “The Squid and the Whale” (2005) and “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly” (tied with “There Will Be Blood” (2007) — didn’t get nominated for the Oscar.

At this point, “Zero Dark Thirty” is a certain Best Picture nominee, but is it Academy-friendly enough to win, especially with “Lincoln” and “Les Miserables” in the running?


BEST DIRECTOR: Kathryn Bigelow, “Zero Dark Thirty”
While Bigelow is a front-runner, there’s a big difference between being the critics’ choice and winning over the Academy. Remember David Fincher — he won every award under the sun for “The Social Network,” but lost the DGA and the Oscar to Tom Hooper (“The King’s Speech”). The same thing could happen to Bigelow this year.

BEST ACTOR: Daniel Day Lewis, “Lincoln
 Day-Lewis continues his dominance of the Best Actor race. Day-Lewis’ biggest competition, Hugh Jackman (“Les Miserables”) has yet to win any precursors. The BFCA and SAG will prove more telling than the Golden Globes this year.

BEST ACTRESS: Emmanuelle Riva, “Amour”
In the year of the battling ingénues, this 85-year-old French actress could pose a threat to Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”). Only two women – Sophia Loren in “Two Woman” (1961) and Marion Cotillard in “La Vie en Rose” (2007) – have won Best Actress for foreign language films. And the only Best Actress champ over 80 was Jessica Tandy in “Driving Miss Daisy” (1989). While Riva’s chances look slim, if voters are looking for an alternative, she is it.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Tommy Lee Jones, “Lincoln”
Jones won this category for “The Fugitive” (1993). Since a front-runner has yet to emerge in this category, Jones could very well repeat.

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables
Hathaway takes her first award of the season. Despite being bested by Sally Field (“Lincoln”), Ann Dowd (“Compliance”) and Amy Adams (“The Master”) at NYFCC, NBR, and LAFCA respectively, the award is still Hathaway’s to lose at this point.

BEST SCREENPLAY: Mark Boal, “Zero Dark Thirty”
Boal won the Original Screenplay Oscar in 2009 for “The Hurt Locker,” a similar Iraq War drama, so voters may use this as an opportunity to reward Paul Thomas Anderson (“The Master”), Quentin Tarantino (“Django Unchained”) or Wes Anderson (“Moonrise Kingdom”) since none seem likely to win Best Director.

This race is getting crowded. With awards for “The Master,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “Skyfall,” and now “Life of Pi,” a consensus has yet to form. All four are likely nominees and strong contenders for the win.

Argo” is a likely Best Ensemble nominee at SAG, which makes it a strong Best Picture contender. It will face competition from the likes of “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables,” and “Silver Linings Playbook.”

BREAKTHROUGH PERFORMANCE: Quvenzhane Wallis, “Beasts of the Southern Wild
Another Breakthrough Performance award for Wallis bodes well for her Best Actress campaign.

This was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Oscars last year, so this win does nothing to slow “Frankenweenie” down.

BEST DOCUMENTARY: “The Central Park Five”
Since it didn’t make the Academy’s shortlist, this award will have zero impact on the Oscar race.

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