New York Film Critics Circle Awards: Oscar preview?

The New York Film Critics Circle just showered “Carolwith four awards, including Best Picture. So, does that make it the new frontrunner at the Oscars? Not so fast. Remember, “Boyhood” was the big winner here last year, taking Best Picture, Director (Richard Linklater) and Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette); only Arquette went on to claim an Oscar. And the Gotham critics snubbed “Birdman,” which swept the Oscars (Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay and Cinematography). 

New York Film Critics Circle Awards: ‘Carol’ wins 4 including Best Picture;
Michael Keaton (‘Spotlight’) & Saoirse Ronan (‘Brooklyn’) take top acting honors

Turns out that in the 79-year history of the Circle (there was a newspaper strike in 1962), only 31 of its picks for best pic went to win at the Oscars. That works out to an preview rate of just 39%. The most recent of these was “The Artist” in 2011 while the first was “The Life of Emile Zola” (1937).

1940s (5 Oscar winners)
“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)

1950s (7 Oscar winners)
“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)

1960s (6 Oscar winners)
“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)

1970s (3 Oscar winners)
“Annie Hall” (1977), “The Deer Hunter” (1978), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979)

1980s (3 Oscar winners)
“Ordinary People” (1980), “Gandhi” (1982), “Terms of Endearment” (1983)

1990s (2 Oscar winners)
“The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), “Schindler’s List” (1993)

2000s (3 Oscar winners)
“The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003), “No Country for Old Men” (2007), “The Hurt Locker” (2009)

The good news for “Carol” is that since the Circle was formed in 1935, only eight of their top winners 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). 

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Arquette was the 14th Supporting Actress winner at the NYFCC to repeat at the Oscars since the Circle added these awards for featured performances in 1969. It predicted just one winner in this category in the 1970s, five in the 1980s, two in the 1990s and four in the 2000s and two so far this decade. Likewise, J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) was just the 14th winner of the Supporting Actor award to also claim an Oscar. The Circle predicted four Oscar winners in the 1970s, two in the 1980s, and then three apiece in the 1990s and 2000s and two so far this decade. In both instances, that works out to 31% accuracy. 

While last year’s NYFCC choice for Best Actress (Marion Cotillard) did reap an Oscar bid for one of her two cited films (“Two Days, One Night”), its Best Actor winner (Timothy Spall, “Mr. Turner”) was snubbed by the Oscars.

In 2013, “Carol” star Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) became the 30th Best Actress winner at the NYFCC to go on to repeat at the Oscars (in addition, Peggy Ashcroft won this award but the Supporting Actress Oscar for “A Passage to India” in 1984).That works out to 38% accuracy. 

In its first half decade, the Circle foresaw two of the five Best Actress Oscar winners (their two-time honoree Greta Garbo was not among these). In the 1940s, it went only two for ten. Among those snubbed by the academy was Deborah Kerr, who picked up the first of her eventual three NYFCC awards in 1947 but never won any of her six Oscar bids.) It foresaw seven champs in the 1950s, four in each of the 1960s and 1970s, three in the 1980s and four again in the 1990s. While it predicted the Oscar winner just twice in the 2000s, it has done it twice already in the last five years. 

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In 2012, Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”) was the most recent of the 32 Best Actor winner at the NYFCC to go on to repeat at the Oscars (in addition, Barry Fitzgerald won this award but the Supporting Actor Oscar for “Going My Way” in 1944). That works out to 40% accuracy. 

After its first six winners were snubbed beginning in 1935, the Circle had a good run at forecasting Oscar winners: seven in the 1940s (including Fitzgerald), four in the 1950s, five in each of the 1960s and 1970s, and four in the 1980s.) After previewing only three of the Oscar winners in each of the 1990s and 2000s, it has gone two for five so far this decade. 

Michel Hazanavicius, who helmed “The Artist,” was the most recent of the 26 Best Director winners here to add an Oscar to their mantle. That works out to 33% accuracy. After getting it right the first time out with John Ford (“The Informer”), the Circle went 0 for 3 for the rest of the decade. It predicted seven Oscar winners in the 1940s (including two more for Ford), four in each of the 1950s and 1960s, just one in the 1970s (Woody Allen for “Annie Hall”), none in the 1980s, one again (Jonathan Demme for “Silence of the Lambs”) in the 1990s and six in the 2000s.  

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