The Critics’ Choice Awards, which will be handed out on Jan. 11, are renowned as one of the best barometers for predicting the Oscars. These awards bestowed by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. (BFCA) have previewed 13 of the most recent 22 Best Picture Oscar winners as well as 17 Best Director, 15 Best Actor, 12 Best Actress, 12 Supporting Actor and 15 Supporting Actress champs.
This year’s slate of contenders is led by “The Shape of Water,” which reaped a whopping 14 nominations, including Best Picture. Four of its rivals for that top prize earned eight bids apiece: “Call Me,” “Dunkirk,” “The Post,” and “Lady Bird.” All of those contend for directing and writing, save for “Dunkirk” in the latter due to its limited dialogue. Two other Best Picture nominees — “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” and “Get Out” — also compete for their directing and writing.
This year’s ceremony is one day before Oscar nominations voting closes. Last year, the Critics’ Choice Awards were handed out on Dec. 11. That early date could have worked against these prizes as a predictions precursor. “La La Land” won a whopping eight Critics’ Choice Awards, including Best Picture where it contended against seven of its eight Oscar rivals (only “HIdden Figures” was missing). “La La Land” repeated at the Oscars for Director (Damien Chazelle) as well as cinematography, production design, score and song. While Emma Stone lost here to Natalie Portman (“Jackie”), she bested her at the Oscars.
Eventual Oscar champs Casey Affleck (“Manchester by the Sea”) and Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) solidified their frontrunner status in the lead and supporting acting races with wins here as did featured player Viola Davis (“Fences”) on the distaff side.
With many of the Critics’ Choice Awards categories having six slots, they have an edge at foreseeing the eventual five Oscar nominees. Last year, it predicted all five of the directing contenders and 17 of the 20 acting nominees.
In 2015 these kudos forecast 30 of the 33 Oscar nominees (91%) in the top six races, missing only the “The Big Short” surge by director Adam McKay and supporting actor Christian Bale as well as the bid by “Room” helmer Lenny Abrahamson.
Of the 11 Critics’ Choice nominees for Best Picture in 2016, all but “Carol,” “Sicario” and last-minute addition “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” reaped Oscar bids for Best Picture. “Spotlight” won over the critics first before prevailing at the Oscars. All five of the Best Actor nominees at the Oscars first contended here, with Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”) winning both awards. Likewise, all five of the year’s Best Actress nominees at the Oscars first contended here, with Brie Larson (“Room”) winning both awards.
And four of the year’s six Critics’ Choice nominees for Best Supporting Actor went on to contend at the Oscars. While Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”) won this race at the Critics’ Choice, he lost the Oscar to Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”). As with the two lead races, all five of that year’s Oscar nominees for Best Supporting Actress contended first at these awards. Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”) won both prizes.
In both 2014 and 2015 the BFCA nominated just three directors who went on to be Oscar nominees and in each instance went with someone other than eventual back-to-back Oscar winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu who prevailed first for “Birdman” and then “The Revenant.” In 2014, the Critics’ Choice champ was Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”) while last year it was George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”).
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.