Probably the biggest mistakes I saw being made yesterday, whether on a blog or on Twitter, were observers who read too much into the National Board of Review’s choices and omissions. The National Board of Review are a great group to push through either obscure and/or borderline contenders. Because they’ve been around so long they have an air of importance about them but no one really knows who they are and, since a lot of students vote on the award, it skews younger. This is, perhaps, why they have a pretty good track record pushing through nominees but not so much when it comes to matching the Academy’s tastes.
The New York Film Critics, on the other hand, skew older. To become a critic writing in New York one assumes you have some credentials under your belt. You are ostensibly a published writer and you’ve likely finished college and long since been there, done that. That makes the New York critics’ tastes, to my mind, somewhat more akin to Oscar voters. The Los Angeles critics are a more rowdy, rebellious bunch. To date, they haven’t ever awarded the Coen brothers Best Picture. One of their members, Glenn Whipp, pointed this out to me the other day. It almost invalidates them completely, doesn’t it?