"Zero Dark Thirty," which has been a favorite with critics' circles, nabbed five nominations, including Best Picture, Best Director (Kathryn Bigelow), Best Actress (Jessica Chastain), and Best Original Screenplay.
The critics' top ten is quite close to the one chosen by the AFI movie jury, except that BFCA went with "The Master" over AFI's "The Dark Knight Rises." The Broadcast critics nominate six in many categories, which leaves open the question what will make the cut when five Oscars nominations are announced on January 10--the same day the BFCA winners will be announced live at a ceremony in Santa Monica.
In the best actor race, for example, LAFCA winner Joaquin Phoenix will be duking it out with Denzel Washington for the fifth slot. The SAG nominations Wednesday and Golden Globes Thursday will reflect their relative strength, as neither "The Master" nor "Flight" are robust Oscar contenders at this stage. Bradley Cooper scored two nominations, for best actor and best actor in a comedy, for "Silver Linings Playbook."
In the actress race, while "Beasts" has gained support from critics, Quvenzhané Wallis (also nominated for best young performer) has yet to win a major prize, and Naomi Watts' "The Impossible" has yet to open. Jessica Chastain leads that pack, followed by Jennifer Lawrence (who also earned a slot as best action movie actress for "Hunger Games"), as well as two French actresses vying for spots in the final Oscar five. Emannuelle Riva shared a win with Lawrence from the LAFCA, but "Rust and Bone" star Marion Cotillard has been largely ignored. Both "Amour" and "Rust and Bone" are on the BFCA foreign film list.
The only surprise on the supporting actor list is Bond villain Javier Bardem for best action movie nominee "Skyfall," which is popular among Academy voters, who tend to be snobby toward genre sequels. Judi Dench as M also landed in both supporting actress and best actress in an action movie. Also in supporting was veteran Ann Dowd of "Compliance," who is backing her own campaign and scored an NBR win. Anne Hathaway scored for Fontine in "Les Miserables," as well as action movie actress for Catwoman in "The Dark Knight Rises." Jackie Weaver of "Silver Linings" was a notable omission.
While summer hit "Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" didn't make the top ten, it did land in the best ensemble category. And while "Django Unchained" made the top ten list, it only scored one other nomination, for original screenplay. (Multiple supporting actors likely knocked each other out; I voted for Samuel L. Jackson, while others presumably went for Leonardo DiCaprio or Christoph Waltz.) Rian Johnson's "Looper" turned up in best original screenplay and best action and best sci-fi/horror movie. And while Jake Gyllenhaal didn't land in best actor, he did register in best actor in an action movie, for "End of Watch."
The BFCA included three high-profile docs passed over by the Academy doc branch for the shortlist of 15: Amy Berg's "West of Memphis," Lauren Greenfield's "Queen of Versailles," and Ken Burns' "Central Park Five."
Other dual nominees include the composer and editor of the same two movies, "Argo" and "Zero Dark Thirty," Alexandre Desplat and William Goldenberg, respectively.
Check out our TOH! roundup of all critics' winners thus far.
Complete list of nominations for the Critics' Choice Movie Awards: