Controversially, the critics group moved up their voting to get ahead of the National Board of Review, but will therefore not be able to screen Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." Clearly, the NYFCC want to be a factor in the Oscar race--as they always have been. I will argue that critics groups have impact on building momentum around "winners" who are already inside the Academy voters sights. And in areas where the field needs narrowing such as documentary and animation, the critics can turn a marginal movie into a must-see.
But it's the actors who have the most to gain and lose here, especially the field of indie hopefuls. And the Gothams will help in that regard as well. Shine a spotlight on Albert Brooks, Amy Ryan, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, Glenn Close, Felicity Jones, Ellen Barkin, Elizabeth Olsen, Kirsten Dunst or Tilda Swinton, and suddenly it's a new ball game.
Gold Derby awards pundits, including me, are predicting "The Descendants" to win the NYFCC. What's your best guess?