“The Irishman” is dancing a jig over its awards competition so far this season. The three-hour-plus film is also a much-discussed topic on social media lately, thanks to its arrival on Netflix the day before Thanksgiving. Now that Martin Scorsese‘s decades-spanning organized-crime epic earned the Best Picture blessing of both the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review, it has been widening its lead in our Gold Derby Oscar odds during the first week of December, with 13.13% backing it.
Thanks to that attention, the truth-based story of hitman Frank Sheeran’s ties to mob kingpins and labor leader Jimmy Hoffa that stars such Marty regulars as Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel as well as Scorsese first-timer Al Pacino is ahead of the pack. Let’s see what happens this Sunday, December 8, when the Los Angeles Film Critics Association chimes in with their award picks.
While the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is the Big Kahuna of film honors, it’s also quite an achievement to win over professional critics who give out prizes as well. Among the most esteemed is the New York Film Critic Circle, which announced their picks on December 4. The group has been handing out trophies since 1935 when they presented “The Informer” with their Best Picture title while “Mutiny on the Bounty” would sail on to claim Oscar’s top prize.
Meanwhile, its West Coast counterpart — the Los Angeles Film Critics Association — came into existence 40 years later in 1975, when its Best Picture voting ended in a tie between “Dog Day Afternoon” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” the eventual Oscar winner. Both groups regularly stray from what the more tradition-bound academy deems most worthy of a statuette each year.
Judging from what the groups have picked since 1975 as the best movie of the year, the L.A. opinion-makers have agreed with the academy’s pick just 11 times including its first year above: “Annie Hall” (1977), “Network” and Oscar winner “Rocky” (1976, tied), “Kramer vs. Kramer” (1979), “Terms of Endearment” (1983), “Amadeus” (1984), “Unforgiven” (1992), “Schindler’s List,” (1993), “The Hurt Locker” (2009), “Spotlight” (2015) and “Moonlight” (2016).
Meanwhile, its East Coast counterpart has agreed with the Academy Awards pick during the same period of time only 10 times: “Annie Hall,” “The Deer Hunter (1979),” “Kramer vs. Kramer,” “Ordinary People” (1980), “Gandhi” (1982), “Terms of Endearment,” “The Silence of the Lambs” (1991), “Schindler’s List,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” (2003) and “The Artist” (2012).
The two groups do seem to have their own aesthetic criteria in judging their choices. During the current decade, the New York crew went for “The Social Network,” “Zero Dark Thirty,” “American Hustle,” “Boyhood,” “Carol,” “La La Land” and “Lady Bird.” The left coasters, however, chose “The Descendents,” “Amour,” “Gravity” and “Her” in a tie, “Moonlight” and “Call Me by Your Name.” They did both agree on “Roma” last year, taking a detour from the eventual Oscar winner “Green Book.” They could mirror one another again with “The Irishman.”
What does this all mean? Reviewers only hold so much sway when it comes to influencing the Academy Awards. And the bicoastal coterie of critics often disagree on their decision for their top title each year, perhaps the better to distinguish their tastes from the crowd. Check out the combined user odds for the Los Angeles film critics group and predict what you think they might go for. Right now, the South Korean film “Parasite” is in the lead for Best Picture with 15/8 odds with “Marriage Story” second and “The Irishman” in third.
Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.