This morning, the New York Film Critics announced that they’re moving up their voting date to November 28, before the National Board of Review announces and becoming the first major critics groups to announce their choices. This could have been done for two reasons. The first is that they want to put distance between themselves and the other award announcements. This, because they can no longer tolerate being one more member of the orgy. It could also be because they want to be first. I doubt that’s the reason. I think they are trying to create distance.
Let’s face it. No critics group with any self-respect wants to be associated with the ongoing circus of the awards race. They are all jointly horrified as to what it’s become. If they are somehow forced to write about it they must do so with either mild apathy or bemusement. Writing about the Oscars is itself judged fairly harshly by many film critics. Why, because to them it’s not about the films it’s about the contest, the sport, the competition, the money, the publicity. It’s about everything it shouldn’t be about. It has been polluted.
Writing a blog about the Oscars is sort of like being known as the girl who works the red light district. Everyone wants to know you but no one wants to admit they know you. Perhaps I’m overstating things. Either way, not a lot has changed. The fact remains that the film critics who take film criticism seriously do not take the Oscar race seriously.
The move to November 28 would be more suspect if it were any group BUT the NYFCC. While I don’t believe any group that hands out awards is immune to the inherent corruption that goes on in any sort of ceremony that requires voting, winners and losers — the NYFCC does try to maintain their integrity, as in, they want to sit as far across the room from Oscar as they possibly can. Here are the main reasons and let’s ruminate on the repercussions of this move:
1. It’s about the movies, stupid, not about the awards
It’s hard not to take them at their word when they say they are voting for the films and performers they thought were the best of the year. Full stop. It’s always hard to reach a consensus, though, ain’t it? Their press release mentions Oscar, just as it also mentions the need to disassociate from Oscar.