National Board of Review and New York Film Critics Predictions 2021


No more pencils, no more books… it’s time for the dirty looks of the critics’ awards.

The first of the two most important precursors of the awards season will be presented – the National Board of Review on Thursday followed by New York Film Critics on Friday.

After a pandemic year that brought unclear precursors and different eligibility timelines, the two groups, in addition to the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, which will announce on December 12, all come from a year when their top picks of movies failed to garner almost any Oscar love – “Da 5 Bloods” (NBR), “First Cow” (NYFCC) and “Small Ax” (LAFCA). In the case of the latter two, it was the first time in their history that their selection for best film did not get a single Oscar name.

So who will be their darling this year?

NYFCC loves rich, deep storytelling (i.e. ‘Carol’ by Todd Haynes) and rarely falls in love with the alleged Academy favorite, illustrated by matching them once in the past decade (that is, ie “The Artist” by Michel Hazanavicius). This bodes well for two Netflix feature films, “The Power of the Dog” by Jane Campion and “The Lost Daughter” by Maggie Gyllenhaal.

The group were also influenced by their more recent screenings, as evidenced by their 2013 pick of David O. Russell’s “American Hustle,” which they watched the day before the vote. This could come in handy for Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” and Guillermo del Toro’s “Nightmare Alley”, both just before the deadline.

The early days of precursors can be deceptive. For example, before “The Shape of Water” won the best picture award, but it was missing from NBR’s top ten list and was also omitted from several groups, leaving many to think that it was ‘a DOA for the Academy. None of the “Lord of the Rings” movies have ever made a respective NBR roster either. Pundits can also be fooled into thinking that actors like Regina Hall (“Support the Girls”) and Rachel Weisz (“The Deep Blue Sea”) are in the running before being ignored anywhere else. I suspect that Oscar favorite “Belfast” by Kenneth Branagh will be missing from both bodies this week, which will certainly spark a discussion with headlines asking, “Is that dead?” Spoiler alert, this is not the case.

Some races need clarity, like the supporting actor, who still lacks an agreed-upon favorite even though ‘Belfast’ men Jamie Dornan and Ciaran Hinds could easily fill that space. The Supporting Actress is the most competitive acting race, bringing 20 women to the table, but it could be a moment for Kirsten Dunst (“The Power of the Dog”) or Aunjanue Ellis (“King Richard”) to assert. their place. It will be interesting to see if any of the groups are interested in Rita Moreno’s charms from “West Side Story” as well.

The National Board of Review has generally fallen for Warner Bros. and Clint Eastwood films (don’t think they’ll go for “Cry Macho,” but a top 10 isn’t out of the question). This could be a strong launch for Denis Villeneuve as “Dune” has further built up some serious momentum in recent weeks. The main actor categories, filled with movie stars like Andrew Garfield from “Tick, Tick… ​​Boom!” and Kristen Stewart of “Spencer” are hoping for some good kicks off, not only for campaign purposes, but Oscar ratings as well.

Lady Gaga’s work in “House of Gucci” is on the table – given that NBR awarded her for “A Star is Born,” they should have no qualms about revisiting the well.

Below are the predictions for the two critical groups in all of their categories:

National Review Commission:

Best film : “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Alternative: “West Side Story” (20th century studios)

Director: Denis Villeneuve, “Dune” (Warner Bros)
Alternate: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix)

Actor: Andrew Garfield, “Tic, Tic … Boom!” (Netflix)
Alternate: Peter Dinklage, “Cyrano” (MGM / United Artists Releasing)

Actress: Lady Gaga, “House of Gucci” (MGM / United Artists Releasing)
Alternate: Olivia Colman, “The Lost Girl” (Netflix)

Supporting actor: Troy Kotsur, “CODA” (Apple Original Films)
Alternate: JK Simmons, “Being the Ricardos” (Amazon)

Supporting actress: Aunjanue Ellis, “King Richard” (Warner Bros)
Alternate: Ann Dowd, “Mass” (Bleecker Street)

Original scenario: “Liquorice Pizza” (MGM / United Artists Releasing) – Paul Thomas Anderson
Alternate: “Come on, come on” (A24) – Mike Mills

Suitable scenario: “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix) – Jane Campion
Alternative: “The Tragedy of Macbeth” (Apple Original Films / A24) – Joel Coen

Animated: “The Mitchells Against the Machines” (Netflix)
Substitute: “Luca” (Pixar)

Revolutionary performance: Rachel Zegler, “West Side Story” (20th century studios)
Substitute: Alana Haim, “Licorice Pizza” (MGM / United Artists Releasing)

Best First Director: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Lost Girl” (Netflix)
Alternate: Jeymes Samuel, “The Harder They Fall” (Netflix)

Best Foreign Language Film: “Flee” (Denmark)
Alternative: “Drive My Car” (Japan)

Best Documentary: “The Rescue” (National Geographic)
Alternative: “The first wave” (Neon)

Best overall: “The More They Fall” (Netflix)
Alternative: “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix)

NBR Freedom of expression: “Skip” (Netflix)
Alternative: “Don’t Look Up” (Netflix)

Top 10 films (in alphabetical order):

  • “Cruella” (Walt Disney Pictures)
  • “Dune” (Warner Bros)
  • “The More They Fall” (Netflix)
  • “The last duel” (20th century studios)
  • “The alley of nightmares” (Spotlight images)
  • “King Richard” (Warner Bros)
  • “Stillwater” (Focus Features)
  • “West Side Story” (20th century studios)

Best foreign films:

  • “El Planeta” (Utopia)
  • “A Hero” (Amazon Studios)
  • “Parallel Mothers” (Sony Pictures Classics)
  • “Titanium” (Neon)
  • “The worst person in the world” (Neon)

Best documentaries:

  • “The First Wave” (Neon)
  • “Flee” (Neon)
  • “Procession” (Netflix)
  • “Val” (Amazon Studios)
  • “The Velvet Underground” (Apple Original Films)

Best Independent Movies:

  • “The card counter” (debugging features)
  • “Go, go” (A24)
  • “CODA” (Apple Original Films)
  • “The Green Knight” (A24)
  • “The Murder of Kenneth Chamberlain” (Gravitas Ventures)
  • “The Lost Girl” (Netflix)
  • “Skip” (Netflix)
  • “Baby Shiva” (Utopia)
  • “Test Pattern” (Kino Lorber)
  • “Wild Indian” (Vertical Entertainment)

New York Film Critics’ Circle:

Best film: “Licorice Pizza” (MGM / United Artists Releasing)
Alternative: “West Side Story” (20th century studios)

Director: Jane Campion, “The Power of the Dog”
Alternate: Paul Thomas Anderson, “Licorice Pizza” (MGM / United Artists Releasing)

Actor: Simon Rex, “Red Rocket” (A24)
Substitute: Nicolas Cage, “Cochon” (Neon)

Actress: Kristen Stewart, “Spencer” (Neon / Topic Studios)
Substitute: Penélope Cruz, “Parallel mothers” (Sony Pictures Classics)

Supporting actor: Kodi Smit-McPhee, “Power of the Dog” (Netflix)
Alternate: Colman Domingo, “Zola” (A24)

Supporting actress: Rita Moreno, “West Side Story” (20th century studios)
Substitute: Ruth Negga, “Passing” (Netflix)

Scenario: “Licorice Pizza” (MGM / United Artists Releasing) – Paul Thomas Anderson
Alternative: “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix) – Jane Campion

Animation Film: “The Mitchells Against the Machines” (Netflix)
Alternative: “Flee” (Neon)

Cinematography: “The Power of the Dog” (Netflix) – Ari Wegner
Alternative: “Nightmare Alley” (Searchlight Images) – Dan Laustsen

Non-fiction film: “Faya Dayi” (Janus Films)
Alternative: “Flee” (Neon)

Foreign language film: “Drive My Car” (Sideshow / Janus Films)
Alternative: “The worst person in the world” (Neon)

Best first film: Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Lost Girl” (Netflix)
Alternate: Blerta Basholli, “Hive” (Zeitgeist Films)

Oscars 2022 predictions


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