Now that the film festival season has wrapped, Oscar parties and celebrations and tributes are in full swing, it’s approaching that time of year when the growing community of film critics to do what they do to shape and shift the Oscar race. It won’t be very different because already the critics have been attempting to shape and shift the Oscar race, but now we’ll have actual wins to back up the early praise or lack thereof.
In general, the critics will probably:
1) try to award someone they feel is being ignored for whatever reason. We call this the James Franco in Spring Breakers award. That is, when critics stand behind an unlikely nominee that helps to break up the groupthink of Oscar season but then becomes its own groupthink.
2) Try to minimize the focus on white males behind or in front of the camera. Women, people of color will be on their minds — no one in this day and age wants to get stuck with the label that they are only interested in white stories told by white men. That won’t happen this year.
3) Very likely stick to the script so far – Roma will sweep many of the top awards, but so will A Star is Born. If either of them are a miss it will be shocking.
4) What New York does will have an impact on what Los Angeles does. But after that, expect to see a bigger consensus forming around a few titles and contenders.
5) New York and the National Board of Review are different in terms of voters and what kinds of films and performers they choose. What you’re looking for are outliers and crossovers. Which group is an outlier, choosing films and actors that have zero shot in the Oscar race. Which films hit across all markers.
The National Board of Review usually names ten films of the year, and that list sits alongside the dozens of top ten lists that come out around the same time. The National Board of Review, in general, names a film for Best Picture and Best Director that needs a boost. Between 2000 and 2017, only two films named by the NBR did not go on to get a nomination for Best Picture. Quills and A Most Violent Year. However, only two films during that time won both the NBR and Best Picture: No Country for Old Men and Slumdog Millionaire.
If, say, Roma wins New York Film Critics and A Star is Born wins the National Board of Review, well, we’re not much farther along in figuring this race out than we are right now. But if, say, New York goes a different way – and picks something like, say, If Beale Street Could Talk and the NBR goes a different way and picks, say, The Mule and Clint Eastwood – well, now our race becomes something different than it is now.
The Golden Globes will announce the following week and by then, Right around that same time, the AFI will announce their top ten. There should be a better consensus forming than there is now.
The National Board of Review will announce their honorees on November 27, 2018.
Take a wild guess in the comments below before we tuck into our Thanksgiving feasts and see a movie or two this weekend.
Best Orginal Screenplay
Best Adapted Screenplay
We’ll be posting our predictions as we get closer to the announcement date.