“American Hustle,” directed by David O. Russell, received the top honor for Best Picture by the New York Film Critics Circle yesterday.
“12 Years a Slave” director Steve McQueen was named Best Director.
Thesp veterans Cate Blanchett and Robert Redford were chosen as best actors for their performances in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” and J.C. Chandor’s “All Is Lost,” respectively.
I am putting my money on Blanchett showing up to pick up her paper scroll trophy, while Allen will probably be a no-show. But this event is always full of surprises and Allen, a critic’s darling, may actually think enough of the NYFFC to make an appearance.
A Special Award was also given to legendary filmmaker, Frederick Wiseman.
The awards will be handed out during their annual untelevised, unedited and usually expletive-laden ceremony, which takes place Monday, January 6, 2014 at The Edison Ballroom.
NYFCC Chairman, Time Out New York’s Joshua Rothko said, “I’m very happy with the work we’ve done today. The complexion of our group guarantees some surprises, but we always vote from our hearts. It was an extremely strong year for American movies.”
Founded in 1935, the New York Film Critics Circle is the oldest critics’ group in the country. The circle’s membership includes critics from dwindling daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines and online publications.
Their press release says: “Every year the organization meets in New York to vote on awards for the calendar year’s films. The Circle’s awards are often viewed as harbingers of the Oscar nominations. The Circle’s awards are also viewed — perhaps more accurately — as a principled alternative to the Oscars, honoring aesthetic merit in a forum that is immune to commercial and political pressures.”
The NYFCC , a body of journalists, do not vote for the Oscars and their choices don’t always mirror the selections by the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences. Last year they chose “Zero Dark Thirty” as Best Film, while the Oscar went to “Argo.”
But the NYFCC choices often withstand the scrutiny of time. In 1942, Orson Welles’ classic “Citizen Kane” was nominated for nine Academy Awards but only received an Oscar for best screenplay. Often considered by filmmakers and critics to be the finest film ever made, “Citizen Kane” was chosen Best Feature that year by the New York Film Critics. The Best Picture Oscar that year went to John Ford’s “How Green is My Valley.”
Their voting today must have been lively, since one of their members told me only last week he didn’t like “12 Years a Slave” because he thought it was too grim.
The gala should also be spirited with witty award recipients like Cate Blanchett and the unfiltered and very funny Jennifer Lawrence to give speeches where they get a chance to rib the press for a change.
Here is the full list of winners:
Best Picture: “American Hustle”
Best Director: Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Best Screenplay: Eric Singer & David O. Russell, “American Hustle”
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Best Actor: Robert Redford, “All Is Lost”
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Blue is the Warmest Color”
Best Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Best Nonfiction Film: “Stories We Tell”
Best First Film: Ryan Coogler, “Fruitvale Station”
Best Animated Film: “The Wind Rises”
Special Award: Frederick Wiseman