Monday, February 26, 2024

The Impact NYFCC Has On The Oscar Race

Last week, the prestigious film critics group, the New York Film Critics Circle, bestowed their Best Film prize to Martin Scorsese’s “Killers Of The Flower Moon.” it marked the third time the legendary Director has had one of his films win the top award after “Goodfellas” in 1990 and “The Irishman” in 2019. This win puts Scorsese alongside Fred Zinnemann, Elia Kazan, David Lean & William Wyler with the most Best Film wins in the 88 years of the group’s longstanding history. However, many have been asking what this means for the Oscar race since the other day. How accurate is the NYFCC at telling us what will be vs. won’t be nominated for the Oscar, and can it help us understand what will win the Oscar? Next Best Picture contributor Josh Parham said on X, “I just implore everyone to remember that it’s not even December yet. Nothing is set, and there’s a lot more road to the awards season left.” It’s sound advice many should learn to adhere to as a slew of other groups are about to announce their winners in the coming days. Here’s why the NYFCC wins should be taken with a grain of salt regarding the Oscar race (or not).

Obviously, this is not an exact science. Some may feel no conclusions can be found from this information as the awards are all unplanned, and whatever goes on to win or be nominated at the Academy Awards is purely coincidental. Sure, that may be the case, but considering NYFCC’s size, legacy, and influence, plus how early they announce compared to all other groups, they do hold a lot of sway over voters who are still sorting through their screener piles trying to figure out what to prioritize when it comes time for voting and that does indeed matter.

For this analysis, we will only use data from 2011 (when the Academy expanded Best Picture to more than five nominees) to the present. Starting with Best Film, here are the NYFCC winners from the last twelve years:

2011: The Artist (Won The Oscar)
2012: Zero Dark Thirty (Nominated For The Oscar)
2013: American Hustle (Nominated For The Oscar)
2014: Boyhood (Nominated For The Oscar)
2015: Carol
2016: La La Land (Nominated For The Oscar)
2017: Lady Bird (Nominated For The Oscar)
2018: Roma (Nominated For The Oscar)
2019: The Irishman (Nominated For The Oscar)
2020: First Cow
2021: Drive My Car (Nominated For The Oscar)
2022: Tar (Nominated For The Oscar)

So, as you can see, NYFCC has had a pretty decent track record for matching its Best Film winners with eventual Best Picture nominees (“Carol” coming close in 2015 and missing still stings). Winning Best Picture, on the other hand, is something that the group has not matched with since “The Artist” in 2011. “Killers Of The Flower Moon” will undoubtedly be nominated for Best Picture, so that solid correlation between the Academy and NYFCC shall continue. While it’s certainly a threat to win the Academy’s top prize, it will definitely be a fight against the current frontrunner, “Oppenheimer.”

Speaking of “Oppenheimer,” let’s take a look at its two wins from NYFCC: Best Director for Christopher Nolan and Best Cinematography for Hoyte van Hoytema. Starting off with Director, here are the NYFCC winners over the last twelve years:

2011: Michel Hazanavicius – The Artist (Won The Oscar)
2012: Kathryn Bigelow – Zero Dark Thirty
2013: Steve McQueen – 12 Years A Slave (Nominated For The Oscar)
2014: Richard Linklater – Boyhood (Nominated For The Oscar)
2015: Todd Haynes – Carol
2016: Barry Jenkins – Moonlight (Nominated For The Oscar)
2017: Sean Baker – The Florida Project
2018: Alfonso Cuarón – Roma (Won The Oscar)
2019: Josh & Benny Safdie – Uncut Gems
2020: Chloé Zhao – Nomadland (Won The Oscar)
2021: Jane Campion – The Power Of The Dog (Won The Oscar)
2022: S. S. Rajamouli – RRR

While this doesn’t match up as well as Best Film in terms of who will be nominated for the Oscar, one thing about Nolan’s win here is very significant. Like Hazanavicius, Cuarón, Zhao, and Campion, he was considered the frontrunner for Best Director before NYFCC bestowed the award upon him. Much like those eventual Best Director winners, a sweep of the entire season looks to be in order for Nolan, who will likely continue to reap the awards of his latest critical and box office achievement.

Looking at Cinematography, here are the NYFCC winners over the last twelve years:

2011: The Tree Of Life (Nominated For The Oscar)
2012: Zero Dark Thirty
2013: Inside Llewyn Davis (Nominated For The Oscar)
2014: The Immigrant
2015: Carol (Nominated For The Oscar)
2016: Moonlight (Nominated For The Oscar)
2017: Mudbound (Nominated For The Oscar)
2018: Roma (Won The Oscar)
2019: Portrait Of A Lady On Fire
2020: Small Axe
2021: West Side Story (Nominated For The Oscar)
2022: Top Gun: Maverick

Excellent winners here all around, and “Oppenheimer” represents another monumental achievement from Hoye van Hoytema that rightfully earned its win from NYFCC. Still, the lack of a strong correlation with what wins the Oscar suggests that, like “Roma,” “Oppenheimer” will have to be a sweeper throughout the season if it wants to continue its path toward winning the Oscar. Otherwise, it might come close like “The Tree Of Life,” “Moonlight,” or “West Side Story” did and lose out in the end to something else. Perhaps this will be the year the Academy rewards Rodrigo Prieto for his fourth collaboration with Martin Scorsese on “Killers Of The Flower Moon” instead. Either way, Hoye van Hoytema’s win here is encouraging, but nothing should be set in stone yet.

Speaking of stone and “Killers Of The Flower Moon,” Lily Gladstone won the group’s Best Actress prize for her role as Molly Burkhart. As the heart and soul of not only the film but of the film’s awards campaign, it was a crucial win for her. It may be a sign of an incoming sweep for the season as voters look for a place to reward “Killers Of The Flower Moon,” and what better place (if it’s only going to win one Oscar) than with her? NYFCC’s Best Actress wins, however, are not the most encouraging when it comes to matching up with Best Actress Oscar wins:

2011: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady (Won The Oscar)
2012: Rachel Weisz – The Deep Blue Sea
2013: Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine (Won The Oscar)
2014: Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night (Nominated For The Oscar)
2015: Saoirse Ronan – Brooklyn (Nominated For The Oscar)
2016: Isabelle Huppert – Elle (Nominated For The Oscar)
2017: Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird (Nominated For The Oscar)
2018: Regina Hall – Support The Girls
2019: Lupita Nyong’o – Us
2020: Sidney Flanigan – Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2021: Lady Gaga – House Of Gucci
2022: Cate Blanchett – Tar (Nominated For The Oscar)

It’s been ten years since NYFCC’s Best Actress winner went on to win the Oscar. Gladstone might be able to break this streak, but at the very least, the NYFCC’s track record of their winners going to receive an Oscar nomination is pretty strong.

This year’s Best Actor winner likely tells a different story, though, as Franz Rogowski, a young German actor who has amassed a tremendous amount of critical acclaim for her performances in films such as “Transit” and “Great Freedom” won the award for his work in Ira Sach’s “Passages.” It’s a smaller film that was nominated at the Gotham Awards and feels more like a Film Independent Spirit Award nominee than an Oscar nominee, though perhaps the NYFCC win will be the start of more groups recognizing Rogowski throughout the next few weeks and increasing his chances even more.

2011: Brad Pitt – Moneyball (Nominated For The Oscar) & The Tree Of Life
2012: Daniel Day-Lewis – Lincoln (Won The Oscar)
2013: Robert Redford – All Is Lost
2014: Timothy Spall – Mr. Turner (Nominated For The Oscar)
2015: Michael Keaton – Spotlight
2016: Casey Affleck – Manchester By The Sea (Won The Oscar)
2017: Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name (Nominated For The Oscar)
2018: Ethan Hawke – First Reformed
2019: Antonio Banderas – Pain And Glory (Nominated For The Oscar)
2020: Delroy Lindo – Da 5 Bloods
2021: Benedict Cumberbatch – The Power Of The Dog (Nominated For The Oscar)
2022: Colin Farrell – The Banshees Of Inisherin (Nominated For The Oscar) & After Yang

Are you starting to see a trend here? NYFCC can sometimes tell us someone might go on to be nominated for the Oscar, but rarely, unless they’re a sweeper, do their winners tend to align with the eventual Oscar winner. Let’s see how this reflects in the Supporting races, starting with Best Supporting Actress:

2011: Jessica Chastain – The Help (Nominated For The Oscar), The Tree Of Life & Take Shelter
2012: Sally Field – Lincoln (Nominated For The Oscar)
2013: Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle (Nominated For The Oscar)
2014: Patricia Arquette – Boyhood (Won The Oscar)
2015: Kristen Stewart – Clouds Of Sils Maria
2016: Michelle Williams – Manchester By The Sea (Nominated For The Oscar) & Certain Women
2017: Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip
2018: Regina King – If Beale Street Could Talk (Won The Oscar)
2019: Laura Dern – Marriage Story (Won The Oscar) & Little Women
2020: Maria Bakalova – Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Nominated For The Oscar)
2021: Kathryn Hunter – The Tragedy Of Macbeth
2022: Keke Palmer – Nope

There is definitely a strong correlation to suggest Da’Vine Joy Randolph will be nominated for her performance in “The Holdovers,” but does the same apply to a win? It’s too early to tell, but let’s look at Best Supporting Actor, where Charles Melton is putting his name forward as a possible new frontrunner hot off his back-to-back Gotham Award, and NYFCC wins in the category (something Ke Huy Quan accomplished before he went on to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor last year).

2011: Albert Brooks – Drive
2012: Matthew McConaughey – Magic Mike & Bernie
2013: Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club (Won The Oscar)
2014: J.K. Simmons – Whiplash (Won The Oscar)
2015: Mark Rylance – Bridge Of Spies (Won The Oscar)
2016: Mahershala Ali – Moonlight (Won The Oscar)
2017: Willem Dafoe – The Florida Project (Nominated For The Oscar)
2018: Richard E. Grant – Can You Ever Forgive Me? (Nominated For The Oscar)
2019: Joe Pesci – The Irishman (Nominated For The Oscar)
2020: Chadwick Boseman – Da 5 Bloods
2021: Kodi Smit-McPhee – The Power Of The Dog (Nominated For The Oscar)
2022: Ke Huy Quan – Everything Everywhere All At Once (Won The Oscar)

This is seriously looking great for Melton. He’ll likely either be the frontrunner to win the Oscar as the season progresses or, at the very least, the no. 2 to whoever the eventual winner is.

If we continue to look at “May December’s” other win for NYFCC for Best Screenplay, we’ll find one of the strongest matches yet in terms of the NYFCC winner going on to receive an Oscar nomination:

2011: Moneyball (Nominated For The Oscar)
2012: Lincoln (Nominated For The Oscar)
2013: American Hustle (Nominated For The Oscar)
2014: The Grand Budapest Hotel (Nominated For The Oscar)
2015: Carol (Nominated For The Oscar)
2016: Manchester By The Sea (Won The Oscar)
2017: Phantom Thread
2018: First Reformed (Nominated For The Oscar)
2019: Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (Nominated For The Oscar)
2020: Never Rarely Sometimes Always
2021: Licorice Pizza (Nominated For The Oscar)
2022: The Banshees Of Inisherin (Nominated For The Oscar)

While not the best at helping us determine what will win the Oscar, the chances of Samy Burch receiving a Best Original Screenplay nomination for “May December” are looking better as the days roll on. Let’s see if this momentum can be kept up over the next few weeks.

Now we come down to the three other film categories: Animation, Non-Fiction, and Foreign Language Film. Starting off with Best Animated Film, the NYFCC did not give out an award in 2011, so we’ll look at their winners from 2012 to the present:

2012: Frankenweenie (Nominated For The Oscar)
2013: The Wind Rises (Nominated For The Oscar)
2014: The Lego Movie
2015: Inside Out (Won The Oscar)
2016: Zootopia (Won The Oscar)
2017: Coco (Won The Oscar)
2018: Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (Won The Oscar)
2019: I Lost My Body (Nominated For The Oscar)
2020: Wolfwalkers (Nominated For The Oscar)
2021: The Mitchells vs. The Machines (Nominated For The Oscar)
2022: Marcel The Shell With Shoes On (Nominated For The Oscar)

Almost a flawless track record (How “The Lego Movie” missed an Oscar nomination in 2014, I’ll never know), Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Boy And The Heron” is positioned to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. If it goes on to sweep the rest of the season, it will then win the Oscar, as well as the other winners from NYFCC did on their marches toward the Academy Awards.

This year’s Best Foreign Language Film winner “Anatomy Of A Fall” is not France’s selection for Best International Feature Film at the Academy Awards this year, so it’s out of the running to win that Oscar, but let’s look and see if any of the NYFCC winners received additional Oscar nominations on top of Best International Feature Film…

2011: A Separation (Won The Oscar And Was Nominated For Another Oscar)
2012: Amour (Won The Oscar And Was Nominated For Other Oscars)
2013: Blue Is The Warmest Color
2014: Ida (Won The Oscar And Was Nominated For Another Oscar)
2015: Timbuktu (Nominated For The Oscar)
2016: Toni Erdmann (Nominated For The Oscar)
2017: BPM (Beats Per Minute)
2018: Cold War (Nominated For Other Oscars)
2019: Parasite (Won And Was Nominated For Other Oscars)
2020: Bacurau
2021: The Worst Person In The World (Nominated For Another Oscar)
2022: EO (Nominated For The Oscar)

If I were NEON, I wouldn’t sweat yet. A Best Picture nomination may still take a lot of work to obtain. Still, an additional nomination or two for the brilliant screenplay and/or Sandra Huller’s astonishing lead performance is certainly on the table and likely to stay in the conversation all season long.

And finally, we come to Best Non-Fiction Film, which went to iconic documentarian filmmaker Frederick Wiseman’s four-hour-long “Menus-Plaisirs — Les Troisgros.” An Honorary Academy Award winner from 2016, his films have yet ever to go on to be nominated for Best Documentary Feature. Let’s see what NYFCC’s winners tell us regarding Wiseman’s chances this year…

2011: Cave Of Forgotten Dreams
2012: The Central Park Five
2013: Stories We Tell
2014: Citizenfour (Won The Oscar)
2015: In Jackson Heights
2016: O.J.: Made in America (Won The Oscar)
2017: Faces Places (Nominated For The Oscar)
2018: Minding The Gap (Nominated For The Oscar)
2019: Honeyland (Nominated For The Oscar)
2020: Time (Nominated For The Oscar)
2021: Flee (Nominated For The Oscar)
2022: All the Beauty And The Bloodshed (Nominated For The Oscar)

Could this finally be Wiseman’s year to have one of his films nominated? NYFCC has matched having their winners go on to receive an Oscar nomination every year since, ironically, the last time Wiseman won the award from NYFCC for “In Jackson Heights.” Will bad luck fall upon the 93-year-old Director twice, or will the now more international than ever makeup of the Academy finally honor him with his first competitive Oscar nomination?

And that does it for all the NYFCC categories with corresponding Oscar categories. As you can see, NYFCC can help someone get nominated more often than win the Oscar, but sometimes the two do line up. Do you think any of their winners this year will go on to receive an Oscar nomination or win? Please let us know in the comments section below or on our Twitter account and check out the Next Best Picture team’s latest Oscar predictions here.

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Matt Neglia
Matt Neglia
Obsessed about the Oscars, Criterion Collection and all things film 24/7. Critics Choice Member.

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