Boyhood & Birdman Win First Wave of Awards


boyhoodnyfccYesterday, the awards season kicked off in earnest with the first wave of movie awards being announced, including the Gotham Independent Film Awards and the annual awards by the New York Film Critics Circle. 

The New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC), the organization of mostly print-based film reviewers based in New York that celebrates their 80th anniversary next year, started things off on Monday morning with their annual meeting where they picked  Boyhood as their top film of the year and its director, Richard Linklater, in that category. The film’s supporting performance by Patricia Arquette was also awarded.

The Gotham Independent Film Awards presented by IFP last night at Cipriani Wall Street, went with Alejandro Inarritu’s Birdman as their Best Feature, but they also presented the Audience Award to Linklater’s Boyhood. Michael Keaton took home the prize for Best Actor for his performance in Birdman, while Julianne Moore received the Best Actress award for her performance as a woman suffering from early-onset Alzheimer’s in Still Alice

Two of the bigger surprises out of the NYFCC selections were British actor Timothy Spall for his performance as the eclectic artist in the title of Mike Leigh’s Mr. Turner, while Marion Cotillard won Best Actress for her performances in the Dardennes’ Belgian film Two Days, One Night and James Gray’s The Immigrant. They picked J.K. Simmons from Damien Chazelle’s Whiplash for Best Supporting Actor. 

The Gotham Award for Breakthrough Actress went to Tessa Thompson from Justin Simien’s Dear White People while Breakthrough Director went to Ana Lily Amirpour for her festival favorite, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

Both groups picked Laura Poitra’s Edward Snowden doc CITIZEN FOUR  as their top documentary of the year while the New York Film Critics Circle picked The LEGO Movie for their Animated Feature and Ida for Foreign Language.  

What does this mean for the Oscar race at this point? Not a lot except that any Academy voters who have yet to see Birdman, Boyhood or for that matter, a smaller film like Mr. Turner, will make more of an effort to do so.

Film critics, especially in New York, rarely see eye-to-eye with the high profile industry veterans that vote for the Academy Awards. Over the past twenty years, only four movies that the NYFCC deemed worthy of their Best Film went on to win Best Picture at the Oscars: The ArtistThe Hurt Locker, No Country for Old Men and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. They have a much better track record in the acting categories with most of the winners at least being nominated for an Oscar, but ironically, in the year that Marion Cotillard won her Oscar for La Vie en Rose, the NYFCC went with her main competition, Julie Christie for Away from Her. This year’s NYFCC selections for Best Actor and Actress are facing tough competition in far more high profile films, including Keaton and Moore.

The National Board of Review (NBR) will announce their annual awards today, Tuesday December 2, and then on Sunday, the Los Angeles Film Critics and the New York Film Critics Online (of which’s Edward Douglas is a member) will hand out their annual awards. These are followed next week by the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) nominations on Wednesday, December 10, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) announcing this year’s Golden Globe nominations the following day on December 11. The Broadcast Film Critics (BFCA) will announce the nominations for this year’s Critics Choice awards a few days after that on December 15.