Not too much really. This year the award race is wide open. The New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review are the first precursors to tell us who’s ahead.
Last year, even though “12 Years a Slave” was a clear front-runner, NYFCC voted “American Hustle” best picture. The National Board of Review is notoriously unpredictable, often in favor of Clint Eastwood productions and popular end-of-the-year releases.
So these are two grain-of-salt precursors, but they did however tell us a few things about some contenders:
Boyhood – Moderately Impacted
The NYFCC win for Best Picture and a top 10 selection at the NBR, have only helped “Boyhood” cement its status as the front-runner of the season.
Birdman – Mildly Impacted
Edward Norton’s win with NBR wasn’t too unpredictable. For many people he’s second in contention to J.K. Simmons. But it’s interesting how many New York critics went into voting with claws out against “Birdman.” It may prove too divisive after all.
The Grand Budapest Hotel – Mildly Impacted
Being completely absent from the NBR wasn’t really that strange. The association has never been too fond of Wes Anderson. However, a screenplay win with the NYFCC, who combine adapted/original screenplays, gives “Budapest” an edge for many original screenplay categories to come.
Marion Cotillard, The Immigrant/ Two Days One Night – Moderately Impacted
The lead actress category is fairly stale this year. Marion Cotillard may have been a dark house before the NYFCC voted her best lead actress, but now she’s a bubble contender.
The Lego Movie – Majorly Impacted
Would the Academy vote for a commercialized film like “The Lego Movie?” We don’t know, but now we know that New York critics and the NBR would.
Ida and Wild Tales – Moderately Impacted
The foreign film categories are pretty open this year. Respective wins by the NYFCC and NBR can help give these two films an edge.
A Most Violent Year – Moderately Impacted
Again, the NBR isn’t something to boast too much about. This win will most likely help Jessica Chastain’s plea for a supporting actress nomination, and push the film to the bubble of the best picture race.
Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year – Moderately Impacted
Many people have been predicting her in 3-5 slots for the Oscar, but weren’t quite sold. Now they can feel a little better about putting her there.
Life Itself– Mildly Impacted
“Life Itself” seems like a documentary destined to be notoriously snubbed from a Documentary shortlist. An NBR win helps the film, but not by much.
American Sniper – Mildly Impacted
Again, the NBR loves Eastwood. “American Sniper’s” mixed reviews kind of determine that it won’t show up many places with critic awards. This rumored bias will mostly appear as just that, and the film may continue to go little to nowhere with awards.
Selma – Moderately Impacted
No one should move “Selma” away from their top 5 best picture predictions. But no one saw it missing NBR’s top 5, actually many predicted it would win the whole thing. It still one a Freedom of Expression award, but without any support from the NYFCC either, the movie is off to a bumpy start.