Buzz is a funny thing. Just because Oscar pundits think they know the buzz before the buzz starts, there’s no mistaking it once it gets here. Right now, the movie that has all of the buzz is Zero Dark Thirty, right behind it is Lincoln. Both films won three awards at the New York Film critics today. Steven Spielberg has never won the New York Film Critics award, not for Schindler’s List, not for Saving Private Ryan and not for Lincoln. However, there was a record broken today — no Spielberg film until now has ever won more than a single NYFCC acting award (Ralph Fiennes for Schindler’s), nor screenplay. Schindler’s List won three categories — Picture, Supporting Actor and Cinematography. Saving Private Ryan won a single award for Picture. So, even without winning Picture and Director, Lincoln’s wins at the New York Film Critics are something to pay attention to. Lincoln and Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. Without the white noise at play, I would say the race feels like its down to those two right now. When two strong movies duke it out for the big win, either the awards at the Oscars end up splitting up, or a third movie swoops in and steals their thunder. We don’t know what will happen yet but right now we have to go with what we know today. A little bit later, we will post our National Board of Review preview and put back up our contest. But for now, let’s look at a couple of things. First, how often do Picture and Director winners at the NYFCC go on to win Best Picture and Director at the Oscars? Here is a handy chart. While it hasn’t happened SO MUCH in history, it’s happened more recently than it used to, which would bode well for Bigelow. The Chart – New York Film Critics NYFCC Director, NYFCC Picture | Oscar – Best Picture *Also nominated for best picture +won Oscar Director 2012 Kathryn Bigelow Zero Dark Thirty 2011 Michel Hazanavicius+ The Artist+ The Artist 2010 David Fincher The Social Network* The King’s Speech 2009 Kathryn Bigelow+ The Hurt Locker The Hurt Locker 2008 Mike Leigh, HGL Milk* Slumdog Millionaire 2007 Joel and Ethan Coen+ No Country for Old Men+ No Country 2006 Martin Scorsese+ United 93 The Departed 2005 Ang Lee+ Brokeback Mountain* Crash 2004 Clint Eastwood+ Sideways* Million Dollar Baby 2003 Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation Return of the King Return of the King 2002 Todd Haynes Far From Heaven Chicago 2001 Robert Altman, Gosford Park Mulholland Drive A Beautiful Mind 2000 Steven Soderbergh, Traffic+ Traffic* Gladiator 1999 Mike Leigh Topsy-Turvy American Beauty 1998 Terrence Malick, Thin Red Line Saving Private Ryan* Shakespeare in Love 1997 Curtis Hanson L.A. Confidential* Titanic 1996 Lars Von Trier, Breaking the Waves Fargo* The English Patient 1995 Ang Lee, Sense and Sensibility Leaving Las Vegas Braveheart 1994 Quentin Tarantino Quiz Show* Forrest Gump 1993 Jane Campion, The Piano Schindler’s List+ Schindler’s List 1992 Robert Altman The Player Unforgiven 1991 Jonathan Demme The Silence of the Lambs+ Silence of the Lambs 1990 Martin Scorsese Goodfellas* Dances With Wolves 1989 Paul Mazursky (Enemies A Love Story My Left Foot* Driving Miss Daisy 1988 Chris Menges (A World Apart) The Accidental Tourist* Rain Man 1987 James L. Brooks (Broadcast News) Broadcast News* The Last Emperor 1986 Woody Allen Hannah and Her Sisters* Platoon 1985 John Huston Prizzi’s Honor* Out of Africa 1984 David Lean Passage to India* Amadeus 1983 Terms of Endearment+ Terms of Endearment+ Terms of Endearment 1982 Sydney Pollack, Tootsie Gandhi Gandhi 1981 Sydney Lumet, Prince of the City Reds* Chariots of Fire 1980 Jonathan Demme, Melvin and Howard Ordinary People+ Ordinary People 1979 Woody Allen, Manhattan Kramer Vs. Kramer+ Kramer Vs. Kramer 1978 Terrence Malick, Days of Heaven The Deer Hunter+ The Deer Hunter 1977 Woody Allen+ Annie Hall+ Annie Hall 1976 Alan J. Pakula All the President’s Men* Rocky 1975 Robert Altman Nashville* One Flew Over/Cukoo’s Nest 1974 Federico Fellini Armacord Godfather II 1973 Francois Truffaut Day for Night The Sting 1972 Ingmar Bergman Cries and Whispers The Godfather 1971 Stanley Kubrick A Clockwork Orange* The French Connection 1970 Bob Rafelson Five Easy Pieces* Patton 1969 Costa-Gavras Z* Midnight Cowboy 1968 Paul Newman, Rachel Rachel Lion in Winter* Oliver 1967 Mike Nichols, Graduate+ In the Heat of the Night+ In the Heat of the Night 1966 Fred Zinnemann+ A Man for All Seasons* A Man for all Seasons 1965 John Schlesinger Darling* the Sound of Music 1964 Stanley Kubrick, Dr. Strangelove My Fair Lady+ My Fair Lady 1963 Tony Richardson+ Tom Jones+ Tom Jones 1962 none Lawrence of Arabia 1961 Robert Rossen, The Hustler West Side Story+ West Side Story 1960 Jack Cardiff, Sons and Lovers, Billy Wilder, The Apartment+ The Apartment+ Billy Wilder, The Apartment 1959 Fred Zinnemann, The Nun’s Story Ben Hur+ Ben Hur 1958 Stanley Kramer The Defiant Ones* Gigi 1957 David Lean+ Bridge on the River Kwai+ Bridge on the River Kwai 1956 John Huston, Moby Dick Around the World in 80 Days+ Around/World in 80 Days 1955 David Lean, Summertime Marty+ Delbert Mann, Marty 1954 Elia Kazan+ On the Waterfront+ On the Waterfront 1953 Fred Zinnemann+ From Here to Eternity+ From Here to Eternity 1952 red Zinnemann High Noon* The Greatest Show on Earth 1951 Elia Kazan Streetcar Named Desire* An American in Paris 1950 Joseph L. Mankiewicz+ All About Eve+ All About Eve 1949 Carol Reed, The Fallen Idol All the King’s Men All the King’s Men 1948 John Huston+ Treasure of the Sierra Madre* Hamlet 1947 Elia Kazan+ Gentleman’s Agreement Gentleman’s Agreement 1946 William Wyler+ The Best Years of Our Lives The Best years of Our Lives 1945 Billy Wilder+ The Lost Weekend The Lost Weekend 1944 Leo McCarey+ Going My Way Going My Way 1943 George Stevens, the More the Merrier Watch on the Rhine* Casablanca 1942 John Farrow, Wake Island In Which we Serve Mrs. Miniver 1941 John Ford, How Green was my Valley+ Citizen Kane* How Green was my Valley 1940 John Ford, Grapes of Wrath+, Long Voyage Home The Grapes of Wrath* Rebecca 1939 John Ford, Stagecoach Wuthering Heights* Gone with the Wind 1938 Alfred Hitchcock, Lady Vanishes The Citadel* You Can’t Take it With You 1937 Gregory La Cava, Tagedoor The Life of Emile Zola* The Life of Emile Zola 1936 Rouben Mamoulian, Gay Desperado Mr. Deeds Goes to Town* The Great Ziefeld 1935 John Ford+ The Informer* Mutiny on the Bounty What the previous winners, who won Picture and Director at the NYFCC and then went on to do the same at the Oscars, have in common is that they won virtually EVERYTHING (neither The Artist nor The Hurt Locker won the National Board of Review, it’s worth noting). No Country for Old Men, The Hurt Locker and The Artist WON EVERYTHING leading up to the Oscars. We will know this Sunday if Zero Dark Thirty is headed up that road if it wins, mainly, the Los Angeles Film Critics. If something else wins there, we have a real race on our hands. If Zero Dark Thirty wins, we have, possibly, a juggernaut that can’t be stopped. Some other notes of interest: Daniel Day-Lewis will likely continue his winning streak. He won, along with Tony Kushner and Sally Field. Rachel Weisz, with the critical acclaim for her performance and her comely looks, she seems like a definite possibility to break into the Best Actress race. Sally Field beating Anne Hathaway may be significant or it might not be; after all, the Academy is dominated by actors and they have different criteria for what makes a good performance. Hathaway still seems like the winner to be beat, to me, unless voters hate Les Miserables. That she didn’t win today may be an early indicator that the critics didn’t really like the film all that much. Both The Artist and The King’s Speech had early success at the NYFCC, so it’s possible Silver Linings Playbook will not be in the same spot as either of those two last year. Next up, the National Board of Review and then on the weekend, the Los Angeles Film Critics.