Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Cahiers du Cinema's Top 10 Movies of 2014: 'Goodbye to Language,' 'Under the Skin,' 'Love Is Strange' Cahiers du Cinema's Top 10 Movies of 2014: 'Goodbye to Language,' 'Under the Skin,' 'Love Is Strange' Daily Reads: The Epic Uncool of Philip Seymour Hoffman's Career, How Scarlett Johansson Subverts Her Good Looks and More Daily Reads: The Epic Uncool of Philip Seymour Hoffman's Career, How Scarlett Johansson Subverts Her Good Looks and More 'The End of the Tour' Sundance Reviews: Jason Segel Impresses as David Foster Wallace 'The End of the Tour' Sundance Reviews: Jason Segel Impresses as David Foster Wallace Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' Why the Unanimous Praise for 'Boyhood' Is Bad for Film Criticism — and for 'Boyhood' 'Girls' Outrage Tracker: Season 4, Episode 1, 'Iowa' 'Girls' Outrage Tracker: Season 4, Episode 1, 'Iowa' Now Streaming: 'The Interview' and Other Movies That Didn't Get Us Threatened Now Streaming: 'The Interview' and Other Movies That Didn't Get Us Threatened 'Strange Magic' Reviews: Yup, That's Late Period George Lucas, All Right 'Strange Magic' Reviews: Yup, That's Late Period George Lucas, All Right 'Going Clear' Sundance Reviews: A Scorching Takedown of Scientology 'Going Clear' Sundance Reviews: A Scorching Takedown of Scientology Not at Sundance? Watch 14 Festival Films Via Sundance's #ArtistServices Not at Sundance? Watch 14 Festival Films Via Sundance's #ArtistServices David Bordwell Shows How Aspect Ratios Matter David Bordwell Shows How Aspect Ratios Matter Love or Hate 'American Sniper,' We're Brought Together By Its Bad Fake Baby Love or Hate 'American Sniper,' We're Brought Together By Its Bad Fake Baby 'Girls' Outrage Tracker: Season 4, Episode 2, 'Triggering' 'Girls' Outrage Tracker: Season 4, Episode 2, 'Triggering' The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" The Scrambled Sexuality of 'Frozen's "Let It Go" Meet the Indiewire | Sundance Institute Ebert Film Criticism Fellows, 2015 Meet the Indiewire | Sundance Institute Ebert Film Criticism Fellows, 2015 Daily Reads: Movie Monsters That Look Like Genitalia, Why It Feels Like There's Too Much TV and More Daily Reads: Movie Monsters That Look Like Genitalia, Why It Feels Like There's Too Much TV and More 'Disney Deaths' and 'Big Hero 6': How Children's Stories Process Loss 'Disney Deaths' and 'Big Hero 6': How Children's Stories Process Loss 'Dope' Sundance Reviews: A Smart, High-Energy Comedy 'Dope' Sundance Reviews: A Smart, High-Energy Comedy How Kids Change the Way Critics Watch Movies, Why It's Hard to Fight for Gender Equality in Hollywood and More How Kids Change the Way Critics Watch Movies, Why It's Hard to Fight for Gender Equality in Hollywood and More 'Z for Zachariah' Sundance Reviews: M for Mixed 'Z for Zachariah' Sundance Reviews: M for Mixed First Reviews of Johnny Depp's 'Mortdecai': Scraping Bottom With a Waxed Moustache First Reviews of Johnny Depp's 'Mortdecai': Scraping Bottom With a Waxed Moustache

'American Hustle' Wins New York Film Critics Circle's Best Picture, But It Was a Close One

Photo of Sam Adams By Sam Adams | Criticwire December 3, 2013 at 10:28PM

Critic David Edelstein says '12 Years a Slave' just missed Best Picture, to the "visible dismay" of some members.
12
Hustle

American Hustle emerged triumphant at the New York Film Critics Circle today, taking awards for Best Picture, Screenplay and Supporting Actress for Jennifer Lawrence. But according to NYFCC member David Edelstein, the vote was a close one. As he told his colleague Jesse David Fox at Vulture:

[T]he final vote for Best Picture resulted in a rare tie-breaker. NYFCC by-laws prevent the actual numbers from being released, but Edelstein said there was a strong American Hustle camp and a strong 12 Years a Slave camp (reflected in McQueen's best director win), and that the vote was remarkably close, with some members expressing "visible dismay" when the final number was tallied. (For his part, Edelstein was "dismayed at the ease with which Cate Blanchett’s phony baloney performance [in Blue Jasmine] was recognized.”) 

Usually coming out of the gate in first place (not counting the nebulous National Board of Review), the NYFCC tends to set the table for the critics awards that follow, making every one of their winners a must-see. Apart from Lawrence in American Hustle -- an award that Fox slyly notes may be attributed more to Lawrence's white-hot likability on the talk-show circuit -- there are no major surprises here, but if there were any doubt that Hustle was in the hunt, that's over now. 

(Update: Edelstein reached out on Facebook to dispute Fox's implication: "The line about Jennifer Lawrence winning for being "likable" on the talk show circuit is complete nonsense. Say what you will about the NYFCC --and if you're me, you can say plenty -- the members take their responsibilities seriously. And chief among those responsibilities is to recognize great work in any genre and by A-listers, B-listers, or Non-Letter-listers.")

The New York Post's Lou Lumenick posted his own ballot-by-ballot account of the voting procedure to Twitlonger, including the Circle's rules that the proxy ballots of critic not present drop out if a winner is not declared on the first vote, and that, once the balloting shifts to a weighted system where each critic votes for three films, the winner must not only get the most points but must also appear on a majority of ballots. According to an anonymous account relayed to Hollywood Elsewhere, "30 or 31" members were present, with the rest voting by proxy; Lumenick says 30, with 7 proxies. The National Society of Film Critics, which I belong to, uses a similar system, and I can say from experience that both rules can have an enormous impact on the eventual winners. (The Circle at least drops the latter requirement in later rounds; the NSFC keeps voting, and voting, until it's met.)

In particular, Lumenick says that by the fifth ballot for Best Picture, a number of members had left; with only 26 of the NYFCC's 38 members remaining, American Hustle prevailed over 12 Years a Slave, 14-12. A win is a win, and there's no reason the close vote should taint that, but it certainly indicates 12 Years has plenty of life left in it.

Update: Here's what J. Hoberman says will likely be his final ballot for the NYFCC, as he's shifting to covering home video for the New York Times in January. Since every category went to at least a second ballot, Hoberman's proxy would not have factored in any of the eventual winners, but apart from The Wind Rises, it seems he didn't vote for them anyway.

The New York Film Critics Circle Awards for 2013

Best Picture: American Hustle

Best Director: Steve McQueen, 12 Years a Slave

Best Actor: Robert Redford, All Is Lost

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine

Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle

Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club

Best Foreign-Language Film: Blue Is the Warmest Color

Best Animated Film: The Wind Rises

Best Screenplay: American Hustle

Special Award: Frederick Wiseman

Best Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, Inside Llewyn Davis

Best First Film: Fruitvale Station

Best Nonfiction Film: Stories We Tell

This article is related to: From the Wire, Best of 2013


E-Mail Updates