It is a big factor, but let me put it this way: are you more likely to see Zero Dark Thirty in the theater because it has picked up the New York Critics' Best Picture and Best Director Awards? Even if it doesn't effect your decision either way, it will probably effect the decision of others. Does it effect the decision of the New York Critics that they are the first to award the film before it hits theaters? Probably. When Zero Dark Thirty finally gets to theaters on January 11, you can bet the critical award from the group will appear in the film's ad, thereby gaining them publicity as well. I am not criticizing the mutually beneficial arrangement which has evolved over the years, but--as savvy film goers--this is a situation of which we should be aware. I don't doubt that the film is excellent (it currently stands at a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes) but it's helpful in understanding why films get which awards when.
Daniel Day-Lewis won Best Actor for his performance in Lincoln, as well as Sally Field for her Best Supporting Actress performance and Lincoln won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. The Best Actress Award does not go to Jessica Chastain for Zero Dark Thirty, rather to Rachel Weisz for the re-make The Deep Blue Sea, also starring Tom Hiddleston (Thor, The Avengers). Matthew McConnaughey won Best Supporting Actor for his work in Bernie and Magic Mike, and he's up for an Indie Spirit Award for Killer Joe.
Amour, about Anne and George two married, retired music teachers, both in their eighties; Anne has a heart-attack and her condition strains their bond. At this point, Amour is expected to also win the Oscar for Best Foreign Film, and there is the suggestion that it could even aspire to compete overall for Best Picture. (See how this works? The names of films you haven't heard, and the acclaim being associated with them makes you want to see them and that's a good thing, because there is really no arena, or public square, of free speech still left like the movies: anything and everything an artist wants to say, can be said here, and we can support that with our vote of the American greenback when we go see it, rent it or talk about it in our social media, and we do it because of the gratifying intellectual experience and the aesthetic enjoyment cinema offers us, so much so, that we are thrilled when we hear of new films that others say we will enjoy).
Lastly, here is an interesting grid of who is expected to compete for what in Oscars 2013, and what the odds are in their favor, that you may want to check out; I know I am holding onto this list for myself: Predicted Winners Oscars 2013.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner