The New York Film Critics Circle announced its winners on Friday morning – and they were wowed by Japanese cinema, Italian accents and a western.
One of the first groups of critics to weigh in on awards season, the East Coast organization which includes more than 50 journalists from publications such as Time, Vanity Fair and Variety, named Ryûsuke Hamaguchi’s “Drive My Car” the best film of 2021. The photo distributed by Sideshow and Janus Films, which represents Japan for the international feature film category at the Oscars, was quite shocking, given that the electorate was clearly in love with Netflix’s “The Power of the Dog,” which won three major awards – most movies.
NYFCC’s Best Picture winner generally had a strong correlation with the Oscar’s Best Picture category. Since the expansion to nominees in 2009, only “Carol” (2015) and “First Cow” from last year (2020) have not been recognized. The latter was the first film to win New York’s top prize and failed to win a single Oscar name. This bodes well not only for the international feature film, but also for the adapted script, and now for the image and the director. There is also a supporting vocal pocket for its lead actor Hidetoshi Nishijima, which could be a spoiler entry down the line.
Lady Gaga asserted her status in the Best Actress category by earning her first mention of the awards season for Ridley Scott’s “House of Gucci”. Despite mixed reviews, box office returns have been favorable for the film, and an expected Oscar nomination for arguably the world’s greatest artist will not only improve the film’s chances in other Oscar categories, but will likely help Oscar overall ratings as well. However, Gaga faces stiff competition from Nicole Kidman as Lucille Ball (“Being the Ricardos”) and Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana (“Spencer”). NYFCC’s last three selections – Sidney Flanigan for “Never Rarely Sometimes Always” (2020), Lupita Nyong’o for “Us” (2019) and Regina Hall for “Support the Girls” (2018) – not all of them were. recognized by the Academy. . The last winner who tied AMPAS was Cate Blanchett in “Blue Jasmine” (2013).
“The Power of the Dog” was the first film recognized by the group, scoring several major victories over the morning. Jane Campion was named best director for the Netflix drama about a rancher, Phil Burbank (Benedict Cumberbatch), battling his demons in 1920s Montana. Cumberbatch, meanwhile, won the lead actor award and Kodi Smit. -McPhee was named Best Supporting Actor. Cumberbatch, who received an Oscar nomination for “The Imitation Game” (2014), is at the heart of a best actor race that includes NBR winner Will Smith (“King Richard”). Five of the last 10 NYFCC caps have been recognized by the Academy, with only two corresponding winners in that time – Daniel Day-Lewis for “Lincoln” (2012) and Casey Affleck for “Manchester by the Sea” (2016).
Smit-McPhee plays Peter, a young man who stays at Phil’s ranch and enters into a complicated relationship with him. The Australian actor, who made his debut alongside Viggo Mortensen in “The Road” (2009), could land a spot in the supporting actor category at the Oscars which seems wide open, aside from the men from “Belfast” – Jamie Dornan and Ciarán, winner of the NBR. Hinds – who are shoo-ins. Only three NYFCC Supporting Actor winners have missed Oscar nominations in the past decade – Albert Brooks for “Drive” (2011), Matthew McConaughey for “Bernie” and “Magic Mike” (2012) and Chadwick Boseman for “Da 5 Bloods” (2020).
After being named Best Director by NBR, Paul Thomas Anderson added a Best Screenplay trophy to the honors list for “Licorice Pizza”. This is his second NYFCC Screenplay Award, after winning for “Phantom Thread” (2017), for which he received a surprise Oscar nominee.
As a witch, contortionist Kathryn Hunter surprisingly landed Best Supporting Actress for her turn in “The Tragedy of Macbeth” from Apple Original Films / A24. An adaptation of William Shakespeare’s famous play “Macbeth”, the film stars Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand. Hunter’s odds have increased dramatically in what is by far the most competitive field of supporting actresses over the past 30 years. Contestants also include Rita Moreno (“West Side Story”), Caitriona Balfe (“Belfast”) and Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”). The New York Film Critics Circle is known for throwing passion behind particular performers (like Tiffany Haddish for “Girls Trip” and Patricia Clarkson for “Far From Heaven”), which did not translate into Oscar recognition. .
The hilarious “The Mitchells vs. the Machines” by director Mike Rianda and co-director Jeff Rowe took home the award for best animated feature. Released on Netflix and produced by Phil Lord and Chris Miller, who were shockingly snubbed for “The Lego Movie” (2014), but received the winning buyout for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” (2018), seem to have another strong blow to gold.
In a year rich in monochrome cinema, the East Coast group chose color with Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” winning the Cinematography Award for Janusz Kamiński. This is Kamiński’s second prize after winning another Spielberg film, “Schindler’s List” (1993).
Two Neon contenders, “The Worst Person In The World” by Joachim Trier and “Run Away” by Jonas Poher Rasmussen, won awards for foreign language films and non-fiction films, respectively. It couldn’t have come at a better time, as the Oscar list voting begins exactly one week from today, December 10.
Last year, NYFCC selected “First Cow,” a beloved independent drama directed by Kelly Reichardt, as Best Picture, although it failed to win any Oscar names. Chloe Zhao was named best director for “Nomadland”, one of the many awards she won on her way to the Oscars.
This week, the National Board of Review named “Licorice Pizza,” Anderson’s coming-of-age drama set in the 1970s, as the best film of the year. And Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” has received rave reviews, leading some pundits to predict he will be the new last-minute front-runner in the Oscar race next March.
Three special awards were also presented on Friday to Maya Cade for her creation of the Black Film Archive, NYFCC general manager Marshall Fine, and a posthumous citation for Sundance and Participant director Diane Weyermann.
Here is the full list of NYFCC winners:
Best film: “Drive My Car” (Sideshow and Janus Films)
Best director: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Best actor: Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Best actress: Lady Gaga, “House of Gucci” (MGM / United Artists Releasing)
Best Supporting Actor: Kodi Smit-McPhee, “Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Best Supporting Actress: Kathryn Hunter, “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple Original Films / A24)
Best scenario: Paul Thomas Anderson, “Licorice Pizza” (MGM / United Artists Releasing)
Best Animated Feature: “The Mitchells Against the Machines” (Netflix)
Best photography: Janusz Kaminski, “West Side Story” (20th century studios)
Best first film: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Lost Girl” (Netflix)
Best Foreign Language Film: “The worst person in the world” (Norway)
Best Non-Fiction Film: “Flee” (Neon)
Special price: Maya Cade for the creation of the Black Film Archive
Special price: Diane Weyermann, posthumously awarded for her support of making bold and impactful films at Sundance and Participant
Special price: Marshall Fine for his years of service as General Manager of NYFCC and decades in the New York film scene