Tom O’Neil alerts us to the news that the NBR is fast approaching. November will be no calm before the storm as that is, nowadays, the hottest month to campaign for Oscar. Hopefully there will be no hanging chads to hang things up and the Presidential election will be out of the way and the best man will be in the White House. Before the guilds, the Globes and the Academy we get the major critics’ groups and the question of being first, going with the flow or distinguishing themselves:
Now the next question is: What will the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. do? To stay out in front of the Gothamites, they’re going to have to convene on Dec. 7 if they want to stick with powwowing, as usual, on a Sunday. Too early? Last year LAFCA voted on Sunday, Dec. 9. NYFCC on Monday, the 10th. Voting dates in 2006: Dec 10 in L.A., Dec. 11 in N.Y. In both cases, the National Board of Review stayed out in front, as usual. However, in 2005, things got tricky. NBR planned to announce winners on Dec. 7, but missed the date and ended up unveiling its choices on Dec. 12, the exact same day as NYFCC. (LAFCA got out front on the 10th.)
Those snooty members of NYFCC insist they don’t care a hoot what NBR does because it’s not a critics’ organization (call NBR an uppercrust People’s Choice Award bestowed by a small group of New York lawyers, teachers, dentists, writers, PR folk), but, in 2005, NYFCC members halted their voting periodically throughout the day to find out if results of NBR were in yet, then read off the NBR winners during their meeting. Being snobs, they didn’t want to pick the same stuff NBR did and probably would’ve changed their vote outcome just to be different, if necessary. But it wasn’t. NBR chose “Good Night, and Good Luck” for best picture. NYFCC had no problem copying what their counterpart critics in L.A. picked two days earlier: “Brokeback Mountain.”
You have to go back to Quills in 2000 to find one of the NBR’s winners that wasn’t nominated for Best Picture.¬† Oh and all Best Picture nominees but There Will Be Blood were in their top ten. The NYFCC and the NBR both went with No Country for Old Men last year, however. What will it be this year?¬† It’s early yet but unless it’s going to be The Dark Knight across the board I have a feeling we’re not heading into a sweep year but rather an all-over-the-map year where anything can happen. Of course it always feels that way in October because October is the new November.