The Critics’ Choice Awards are renowned as one of the best barometers for predicting the Oscars. Over their 23-year history these prizes bestowed by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. (BFCA) have previewed 14 Best Picture Oscar winners as well as 18 Best Director, 16 Best Actor, 13 Best Actress, 13 Supporting Actor and 16 Supporting Actress champs.
Last year, this group of journos foresaw the outcome in all of those Academy Awards races. The Critic’s Choice winners were revealed on Jan. 11, which was one day before Oscar nominations voting closes. “The Shape of Water” took the top prize here and Guillermo del Toro had a chance to practice the acceptance speech he would give at the Oscars. Likewise for the four acting winners: Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”), Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell (“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) and Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”).
In 2017, the Critics’ Choice Awards were handed out on Dec. 11. That early date could have worked against these prizes as a 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.
In early 2017, “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 2015 and 2016 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 2015, the Critics’ Choice champ was Richard Linklater (“Boyhood”) while in 2016 it was George Miller (“Mad Max: Fury Road”).