With its one-two punch now of Best Film and Best Director wins from the first two voting bodies on the so-called critics awards circuit — the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review — Sony‘s Zero Dark Thirty directed by Kathryn Bigelow and written by Mark Boal is establishing itself as a powerful and promising early force in the race and only stands to add to the total as a tsunami of critics awards are unleashed over the next couple of weeks (including LA, Boston, etc, later this week). In many recent years critics groups have tended to follow each other like lemmings, and sometimes — especially if it is a nearly unanimous choice like Bigelow and Boal’s The Hurt Locker in 2009 (although NBR virtually ignored that one) – it can definitely have an impact on Oscar voters. Academy voters at the very least will be rushing this year to see everything they think they should see in time for the earlier voting period starting December 17 through the holidays to January 3rd. Big early wins like this won’t go unnoticed.
Related: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Debuts: Can It Overcome Controversy To Wow Oscar Voters?
Of course there can also be a great divide as we saw in 2010, when critics groups (including NYFCC and NBR) almost in lockstep chose Sony’s The Social Network right through to its victory at the Golden Globes (the HFPA often likes to go with a perceived winner). That film was then completely upended at the Producers Guild and subsequent industry awards by upstart The King’s Speech, which of course went on to win four Oscars including Best Picture and Best Director for Tom Hooper.
Related: Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond, Episode 3
Although Sony should be feeling very good about the way things are going right now, this studio which had high hopes based on that torrent of critics awards for Social Network was obviously none too happy as that season played out the way it did — especially since it looked so good in December and most of January. My guess is with that in mind they are going to grab this early momentum for Zero Dark Thirty and run with it. It recently hired Michael Kupferberg of Strategy PR as a consultant. Isn’t it ironic that again one of their major competitors is a Hooper film, Universal’s Les Miserables. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate Sony bummer if he were able to come along and again rain on the studio’s parade when the guild shows roll around? READ MORE »
The New York Film Critics Circle has named Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty its film of the year in voting going on right now in New York. The group also named Zero‘s Kathryn Bigelow its best director for the hunt-for-bin Laden war drama. In 2009, the NYFCC went with Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker as Best Film and Bigelow as Best Director — the same eventual results as the Oscars. The film’s director of photography Greig Fraser also won in today’s voting by New York-area film critics. Awards will be handed out January 7.
It’s the latest twist for Zero Dark Thirty, which has come under criticism from various groups that Bigelow and screenwriter Mark Boal were given access to classified documents by the Obama administration while making the film, which chronicles the manhunt that led to the eventual killing of Osama bin Laden in a Navy SEAL raid. Bigelow and Boal went on Nightline last week to deny they received classified info. “I certainly did a lot of homework, but I never asked for classified materials; to my knowledge, I never received any”, Boal told Martha Raddatz.
The Sony pic, starring Jessica Chastain, Chris Pratt and Joel Edgerton, will be released in U.S. theaters December 19.
Other winners today included Lincoln, which saw a Best Actor win for Daniel Day-Lewis, Supporting Actress for Sally Field, and Best Screenplay for Tony Kushner. Rachel Weiss won the Best Actress nod for The Deep Blue Sea. Michael Haneke’s Amour continued its fall hot streak with a Best Foreign Language Film win, and Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie was named Best Animated Film.
The NYFCC The critics group, which is announcing winners today via its Twitter feed, last year moved out ahead of the awards pack by doling out honors November 28, a controversial move because in the rush to come before rivals the National Board of Review and the LA Film Critics it wasn’t able to see Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, which ended up with a Best Picture Oscar nomination. Now they’ve moved back a week to today, with the National Board winners due Wednesday and the LA critics voting Sunday. Here’s the NYFCC winners as they’re announced: Read More »
The National Board of Review has weighed in and announced its vote on the year’s best picture will be announced December 5. This follows the New York Film Critics Circle declaration this week that its vote will be taken December 3. This puts the groups in the tight proximity that existed (NBR is usually first) before the NYFCC last year moved their vote to November 29 to be first, which meant the voting critics couldn’t factor Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close into the mix. Here’s the NBR’s announcement: Read More »
Last year, the New York Film Critics Circle moved out ahead of the film critics awards pack by doling out their awards on November 28. It was a controversial move, jumping the National Board Of Review and the Los … Read More »
The New York Film Critics Circle has delayed by one day the group’s annual movie awards to allow its 33 members to see David Fincher’s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo from Sony. Instead of Monday November 28 the New … Read More »
There’s new intrigue surrounding the race to be first among critics groups in announcing film awards. In a pre-emptive move that should send shudders down the spines of the National Board of Review — normally always first to announce — and the Los Angeles Film Critics — which normally gets a one-day jump on their New York counterparts — the New York Film Critics Circle has just announced that it will vote for their choices of the year’s best films on Monday, November 28, immediately after the Thanksgiving holiday. “As the nation’s pre-eminent critic’s group, we are excited about kicking off the annual end-of-year discussion with our new early voting date,” says new chairman John Anderson, who replaced Armond White as head of the group. (See the full release below.)
The surprise chess move puts the other groups racing for influence in the Oscar race in a tough position as they would likely have to advance their voting dates to pre-Thanksgiving to beat NYFCC to the punch — a tough task when studios and distributors probably haven’t screened all year-end contenders at that point, especially those with tight post-production schedules. It’s known that some of them rush contenders just to meet the early December voting date of the National Board of Review, so anything before the 28th could be stretching it.
New York critics were likely frustrated last year following the gang of groups crowning The Social Network best picture and thereby looking like they were following the pack. The National Board of Review chose the film first on December 2, and the LAFCC followed suit December 12, a day before NYFCC announced it as their choice December 13. In between all that, the Broadcast Film Critics Association announced their nominations.
It will be especially interesting to see what the National Board of Review does now. This is not a critics group but rather a “film society” that is placated by studios with special treatment because they are always first to announce. Even officials of this group have admitted to me in the past that the reason their choices get so much scrutiny in the entertainment media is because they are first. L.A.’s critics also like beating their East Coast rivals, but from what I hear have already planned to select their picks that weekend of December 10.
With lots of talk about the Oscars moving up a full month as early as 2013 (although I am told until they figure out how to do electronic voting, no decision is being made), today’s NYFCC move will only add to the discussion. Is it only a matter of time before one of these organizations announces their nominees on Halloween?
Here’s the NYCFF release that came out this morning: Read More »