Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Venice Review: Tom McCarthy's 'Spotlight' With Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber & Stanley Tucci Venice Review: Tom McCarthy's 'Spotlight' With Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber & Stanley Tucci Watch: Amazing First Trailer For Yorgos Lanthimos' 'The Lobster' With Colin Farrell & Rachel Weisz Watch: Amazing First Trailer For Yorgos Lanthimos' 'The Lobster' With Colin Farrell & Rachel Weisz Venice Review: Cary Joji Fukunaga's 'Beasts Of No Nation' Starring Idris Elba Venice Review: Cary Joji Fukunaga's 'Beasts Of No Nation' Starring Idris Elba The 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival The 20 Most Anticipated Films Of The 2015 Toronto International Film Festival On The Rise 2015: 20 Screenwriters To Watch On The Rise 2015: 20 Screenwriters To Watch Review: Netflix's 'Narcos' Starring Wagner Moura And Boyd Holbrook Review: Netflix's 'Narcos' Starring Wagner Moura And Boyd Holbrook Joaquin Phoenix Says He Doesn’t Think Making A Blockbuster Would Be "Fulfilling," Calls Chris Pine "F*cking Genius" Joaquin Phoenix Says He Doesn’t Think Making A Blockbuster Would Be "Fulfilling," Calls Chris Pine "F*cking Genius" Watch: Chloe Moretz Fights The Others In First Trailer For 'The 5th Wave' Watch: Chloe Moretz Fights The Others In First Trailer For 'The 5th Wave' James Bond Author Says Idris Elba Is "Too Street" To Play 007, And Bond Is "Weak" In 'Skyfall' James Bond Author Says Idris Elba Is "Too Street" To Play 007, And Bond Is "Weak" In 'Skyfall' Cary Fukunaga Says He "Wasn't Involved" With 'True Detective' Season 2, Explains His Departure From 'It' Cary Fukunaga Says He "Wasn't Involved" With 'True Detective' Season 2, Explains His Departure From 'It' Andrew Garfield Talks “The Pressure To Get It Right” for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Films & If He'll Do Another Franchise Andrew Garfield Talks “The Pressure To Get It Right” for ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ Films & If He'll Do Another Franchise Fall 2015 TV Preview: Our 25 Most Anticipated Shows Fall 2015 TV Preview: Our 25 Most Anticipated Shows 'Batman v Superman' And Why Early Screening Reports Need To Be Taken With A Grain Of Kryptonite 'Batman v Superman' And Why Early Screening Reports Need To Be Taken With A Grain Of Kryptonite Looks Like That Black-And-White Version Of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Isn't Getting A Blu-Ray Release After All Looks Like That Black-And-White Version Of 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Isn't Getting A Blu-Ray Release After All The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 20 Best Documentaries Of 2015 So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Sci-Fi Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Animated Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 50 Best Films Of The Decade So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far 17 Copycat Films Spawned From Quentin Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction' 17 Copycat Films Spawned From Quentin Tarantino's 'Pulp Fiction'

Oscars: 'Zero Dark Thirty' Isn't The Frontrunner Yet & More Observations After The NYFCC & NBR Awards

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist December 6, 2012 at 9:59AM

Are you a fan of hearing that people have won things? Then you're in luck, because between now and the end of February, you'll struggle to go 24 hours without some kind of awards news. After the Gothams and the Independent Spirit nominations last week, the first major salvos of the awards season were fired this week, with the New York Film Critics' Circle giving out their prizes on Monday, and the National Board of Review awarding theirs yesterday.
3
Oscars NBR NYFCC

Are you a fan of hearing that people have won things? Then you're in luck, because between now and the end of February, you'll struggle to go 24 hours without some kind of awards news. After the Gothams and the Independent Spirit nominations last week, the first major salvos of the awards season were fired this week, with the New York Film Critics' Circle giving out their prizes on Monday, and the National Board of Review awarding theirs yesterday.

Neither are necessarily the most reliable of prognosticators -- like all critic's groups, NYFCC can lean artier or more esoteric than the Academy, while the NBR, like the Golden Globes, are mostly intended to seek attention and to rub shoulders with movie stars. But it does indicate a certain amount about where things are heading at this stage, with Oscar ballots two weeks away from going out, and most of this year's films out in the marketplace, or close to it. Below are the most crucial things we've learned from the awards so far.

Amour
1. It's going to be a broad, diverse field.
It took the NYFCC five hours to get through their voting this year, against three last year, and generally less in prior years. This suggests that the debate was more heated than ever, and backs up something that's becoming increasingly clear about this field; there's very little consensus, and a wide range of players in contention. Some have suggested that there could only be six or seven Best Picture nominees, but we feel the exact opposite is true; we're expecting nine or ten (and to be honest, expect that to be the case in most years, at least until the rules change). And while "Amour" in Foreign Language, Anne Hathaway as Best Supporting Actress, and Daniel Day-Lewis as Best Actor are seemingly frontrunners, a lot of room remains for upsets to that lineup. All of the major films have pros and cons behind them, and this year lacks the kind of popular favorite present in the past two years in "The Artist" and "The King's Speech." Expect to be guessing about many of the categories right up until Oscar night.

Zero Dark Thirty Chris Pratt Joel Edgerton
2. No, "Zero Dark Thirty" isn't a frontrunner just yet.
Learning that Kathryn Bigelow's "Zero Dark Thirty" won Director and Feature at the NBR and the NYFCC (picking up Best Actress at the former as well) would make many (including some hasty, shifting-with-the-wind Oscar bloggers) suggest that the Bin Laden movie is now the presumptive frontrunner. We'd disagree. There's no denying that "Zero Dark Thirty" is in a very strong position; it's assured of a nomination, and it'll certainly challenge for Best Picture and many other awards. But neither the NYFCC and the NBR are great precursors for this category; the former matched the Academy four out of the last ten years ("The Artist," "The Hurt Locker," "No Country For Old Men," and "Return of the King"), the NBR only twice ('No Country' and "Slumdog Millionaire"). This could, of course, be an outlying year -- 'ZDT' has as good a chance as anything. But it is a procedural, a film for the brain, not the heart, and it remains to be seen how the audience -- both within the Academy and on a broader scale -- respond to it. Whereas more naturally crowd-pleasing films, in particular the going-down-like-gangbusters "Les Miserables," was never going to be something that did well with the NYFCC. "Zero Dark Thirty" has the traction right now; but don't forget the last film to win both was "The Social Network," another fearsomely smart, somewhat chilly movie that took home all kinds of guild awards, only to beaten by a Tom Hooper movie...

This article is related to: Awards, Zero Dark Thirty, The Master, Life Of Pi, Rachel Weisz, Matthew McConaughey


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates