The New York Film Critics Circle is so determined to be one of the first groups to weigh in with its picks for the best of the year that the date of its decision-making keeps getting advanced. But how much influence does it have on the last group to be heard from — the motion picture academy which will reveal the Oscar winners 67 days from now on Feb. 9, 2020? Let’s take a look back at the last eight years of the NYFCC picks and see how well (or not), these early kudos previewed the Academy Awards.
Last year, “Roma” swept the New York Film Critics Circle Awards, winning Best Picture and both Best Director and Best Cinematography for multi-hyphenate Alfonso Cuaron. While he won both those individual races at the Oscars, his film lost the big prize to “Green Book,” which had been snubbed by the NYFCC. Four-time Academy Awards winner “Bohemian Rhapsody” was also completely overlooked by these New York-based scribes.
Conversely, Gotham critics picks Regina Hall (“Support the Girls”) and Ethan Hawke (“First Reformed”) were not nominated by the academy for their leading roles. The NYFCC winner for Best Supporting Actress, Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”), did pick up an Oscars and her male counterpart, Richard E. Grant (“Can You Ever Forgive Me”), reaped a Best Supporting Actor bid.
While the NYFCC winner for Best Foreign Language Film, “Cold War,” did contend at the Oscars, it lost to “Roma.” Likewise for the New Yorkers pick for Best Documentary Feature, “Minding the Gap,” which was bested by “Free Solo.” The NYFCC did preview the Best Animated Feature win for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.”
In 2017, Greta Gerwig‘s solo directorial debut “Lady Bird” was named Best Picture by the NYFCC while its star, Saoirse Ronan, took home the Best Actress award. The film fell short at the Oscars, losing Best Picture to “The Shape of Water,” which had been overlooked here. Also MIA from the NYFCC line-up was “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” which won Oscars for leading lady Frances McDormand and supporting player Sam Rockwell.
Sean Baker won Best Director from the NYFCC for “The Florida Project”; he was snubbed by the academy. However, that film’s Willem Dafoe did see his Supporting Actor win from the New York critics lead to an Oscar nomination. Likewise for Best Actor winner Timothee Chalamet (“Call Me By Your Name”) who lost the Oscar to Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”).”Girls Trip” scene stealer Tiffany Haddish won the Supporting Actress award but was spurned by the actors branch of the academy.
Robin Campillo‘s “BPM (Beats Per Minute)” was named Best Foreign Language Film but was not among the five Oscar finalists. Likewise for Gallic documentarian Agnes Varda, who won the Non-Fiction Film award for “Faces Places,” her entertaining travelogue in which she and JR visit French villages and towns. Pixar’s “Coco” claimed the Animated Feature award here before claiming the Oscar too.
And Rachel Morrison won the Best Cinematography award for her bravura work with light and images on “Mudbound” and became the first female lenser to reap an Oscar nomination; she lost that race to Roger Deakins (“Blade Runner 2049”) who finally prevailed on his 14th bid.
In 2016, “La La Land” was named Best Picture by the New York Film Critics Circle. That was its only prize from the Gotham scribes, who also showered love on two other strong Oscar contenders, “Manchester by the Sea” and “Moonlight.” Casey Affleck won Best Actor for his sensitive portrayal of a grieving brother in “Manchester by the Sea” and Director Kenneth Lonergan claimed Best Screenplay; they both repeated at the Oscars. Michelle Williams was named Best Supporting Actress winner for her work in both the low-profile “Certain Women” and “Manchester by the Sea”; she was Oscar-nominated for the latter.
Barry Jenkins won Best Director for “Moonlight,” which he co-wrote as well; he won the Adapted Screenplay Oscar. Mahershala Ali won Best Supporting Actor for his scene-stealing performance in the film as a kindly drug dealer; he repeated at the Oscars. And James Laxton won Best Cinematography for his bravura work with light and images; he was nominated at the Oscars.
Gallic star Isabelle Huppert was feted as Best Actress for two films: “Elle” and “Things to Come.” She contended at the Oscars for the former.
In 2015, the big winner with the NYFCC was the period romance “Carol,” which four awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Todd Haynes), Screenplay (Phyllis Nagy) and Cinematography (Ed Lachman). Both the film and director were snubbed at the Oscars. While Michael Keaton won Best Actor here for “Spotlight,” the studio campaigned him in supporting at the Oscars where he was snubbed. “Brooklyn” ingenue Saoirse Ronan won Best Actress and did go on to reap an Oscar bid. “Bridge of Spies” scene-stealer Mark Rylance was named Best Supporting Actor and went on to repeat at the Oscars. Kristen Stewart, who won over the critics with her featured role in the Gallic import “Clouds of Sils Maria,” was overlooked by the academy.
In 2014, “Boyhood” won Best Picture, Director (Richard Linklater) and Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette); only Arquette went on to win an Oscar. And the Gotham critics completely shut out “Birdman,” which was Oscar’s big winner taking home four awards (Best Picture, Director, Original Screenplay and Cinematography). The NYFCC choice for Best Actress (Marion Cotillard) did reap an Oscar bid for one of her two cited films (“Two Days, One Night”), Best Actor winner (Timothy Spall, “Mr. Turner”) was snubbed by the Oscars, and Best Supporting Actor champ J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”) prevailed at the Oscars as well.
In 2013, “American Hustle” claimed three prizes from the Circle — taking home Best Picture, Supporting Actress (Jennifer Lawrence) and Screenplay — while Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) was named Best Director; all contended but lost at the Oscars. The other acting awards went to two eventual Oscar champs — lead Cate Blanchett (“Blue Jasmine”) and supporting player Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”) — and Robert Redford (“All is Lost”) who was snubbed by the academy.
In 2012, the NYFCC went with “Zero Dark Thirty” for Best Picture and Director (Kathryn Bigelow). While the film went on to lose the the top Oscar race to “Argo,” Bigelow was snubbed by the directors branch of the academy (the Oscar went to “Life of PI” helmer Ang Lee.) Daniel Day-Lewis (“Lincoln”) began his march to a third Oscar with a win from the NYFCC. However, two of the other NYFCC acting champs didn’t even reap Oscar bids — Best Actress Rachel Weisz (“The Deep Blue Sea”) and Best Supporting Actor Matthew McConaughey (“Bernie” & “Magic Mike”) — while Best Supporting Actress winner Sally Field (“Lincoln”) lost her quest for a third Oscar to Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”).
And in 2011, the NYFCC named “The Artist” both Best Picture and Best Director (Michel Hazanavicius) and the academy did likewise. Meryl Streep won her fourth Best Actress prize from the Gotham critics for her portayal of British PM Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady” before claiming her third Oscar for the role. Brad Pitt was cited as Best Actor by the NYFCC for his work in both “Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life” and Jessica Chastain was named Best Supporting Actress for three films: “The Help,” “Take Shelter” and “The Tree of Life.” Pitt reaped an Oscar bid for “Moneyball” while Chastain was recognized for “The Help.” Albert Brooks won over the NYFCC with his featured role in “Drive” but was snubbed by Oscar voters.
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 13.