They Shoot Oscar Prognosticators, Don’t They?
Carol and Mad Max Receive Early Oscars Boost
By J. Don Birnam
December 3, 2015
The New York Film Critics’ Circle went gaga for Carol and the National Board of Review raised some eyebrows by naming Mad Max their best of the year. Today we focus on what this means for the Oscar race and try to predict where next week’s SAG and Golden Globe nominations will push the race.
Linked are our updated power rankings for Best Picture, which shows a too-close to call race, Best Director, another one where it’s getting crowded, Best Actor, a much less exciting race so far, Best Actress, where category confusion is wreaking havoc, Best Supporting Actor, a seeming two-person showdown, and Best Supporting Actress, a wide-open, up-for-grabs contest. These are basically what we think is going to happen at SAG and Golden Globes at this point.
First Critics Push Carol and Spotlight, Punish Steve Jobs
If you follow me on Twitter, you saw the slow but sure developing at the NYFCC awards yesterday: Carol was beloved by that group, netting it four awards, including Best Picture, Director and Screenplay. Indeed, Todd Haynes became the first person to win that award from that group twice. I’ll say that I was pretty close, predicting either Carol or Spotlight to win with this group in my piece last week. I admit I did not see them crowning Michael Keaton as Best Actor for Spotlight, but their refusal to put him fraudulently in Supporting shows that they respect the movie. It is not that surprising, however, that a group of critics would go for the showier and craftier modeling of a movie like Carol. Todd Haynes could become the first openly gay individual to win an Oscar for Best Director, which would be a milestone.
Benefitting from a likely split between Carol co-leads was Saoirse Ronan for Brooklyn, as she nabbed the Best Actress trophy. Meanwhile, Kristen Stewart got a much-needed lifeline in her fledgling campaign for Best Supporting Actress - nine out of the last 10 NYFCC winners have gone on to get Oscar nominations, so she’s on her way. Finally, as expected, Mark Rylance won for his supporting turn in Bridge of Spies. The race is tight, so Rylance will have to start campaigning if he wants to have a shot.
Meanwhile, the National Board of Review spoke a day before NYFCC. They have become a somewhat poor-man’s Golden Globes if you ask me, trying to give a little bit of everything to everyone. Naming Mad Max the best film of the year was a populist choice, but at least one that is more respectable, because of the craft, than the Martian (at least if you ask me). Nevertheless, they could not resist giving Matt Damon the lead actor trophy, a curious choice to say the least. I also happily called their anointment of Sylvester Stallone in Best Supporting Actor, so it’s Rylance vs. Stallone for the win. Finally, they did go for Brie Larson in Room for Best Actress, and with her campaigning she cannot be counted out. It could be Larson vs. Ronan for the win.