Tomorrow, the New York Film Critics will announce their awards for 2016. As one of the earliest and oldest critics organizations, the NYFCC is one of the more influential groups, probably the most influential if you want the truth. I think it goes way back to the days when Hollywood felt inferior to New York because New York was where theater was and serious filmmakers were. Hollywood was for the frivolous and the money makers. Whatever that thing was, New York seemed to really have a hold on Oscar. But as more critics groups began to populate the awards race and as more regular folk became critics, their power was diluted. Now, there are so many critics groups it’s hard to tell any of them apart. This is likely why the NYFCC pushed its date way way up to be among the first out of the gate. Either way, their track record is pretty good — like the NBR’s is — in naming nominees. Less so for naming winners.
Their past ten Best Picture winners:
Zero Dark Thirty*
The Social Network*
The Hurt Locker+
No Country for Old Men+
So in ten years, only two of their choices did not go on to win or to be nominated. So you know we’re mostly dwelling in Oscar territory, whether they want to admit it or not. Actually, the circle is tightening. There is no longer a big difference, for better or worse, in what the Academy chooses and what the critics choose, give or take a Blind Side.
I might save my final predictions until tomorrow but I’d be really surprised if one of the two Best Picture winners wasn’t Moonlight or Manchester by the Sea. I’ll go with either Isabelle Huppert for Elle or Amy Adams for Nocturnal Animals/Arrival for Best Actress. Probably it’s going to be Casey Affleck again for Manchester. Director will either be Barry Jenkins for Moonlight, Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester or Damien Chazelle for La La Land, which could also win Best Picture.
Toni Erdmann is probably your Foreign Language winner and for doc – that’s a tough one, yet again. There are so many great options this year – and lots of choices.
But I’m more interested in how you predict – here is a quickie contest. Worth a shot!