Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Oscar Wave Begins: New York Film Critics

Who are the New York Film Critics?
Critics who write and appear in various medium throughout New York, and who get together to try and agree on something one time a year, then announce it to the world. Today they announced that they have voted American Hustle as the Best Film Of the Year, along with Best Screenplay and Jennifer Lawrence receiving Best Supporting Actress. It was noted that there was a record number of good films being offered, but another important event happened as well: a rare tie-breaker. It appears there was as much support for 12 Years A Slave in the same category (Steve McQueen won for Best Director). Other notable winnings of the group went to Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club, Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine, Robert Redford for All Is Lost, Best Foreign Film went to Blue Is the Warmest Color and Best Cinematography went to Inside Llewyn Davis.
Why should we care about this?
Well, we don't necessarily have to.
12 Years A Slave
For smaller films, or smaller/lesser known actors who haven't received critical accolades, an award is an award; a second reason this is important is that American Hustle hasn't even come out yet, so being able to flaunt it has all ready won 3 awards will likely increase the traffic it gets opening day (December 25) as people are wanting to be "in the know" when it comes to potential Oscar nominees. Lastly, in Hollywood, any publicity is good publicity, but that doesn't mean it lasts. In the grand scheme, just because a film starts out strong, doesn't guarantee a strong finish (remember Zero Dark Thirty last year? It was the darling of critic circles and it hardly ended up with any Oscar noms and only won like 1 technical award; Argo didn't start out so well, but ended up with Best Picture, not that it should have; Daniel Day-Lewis started strong with awards for Lincoln, and ended strong, so it's impossible to tell).
The best way to view the various "critics circles" who will be announcing their choice for films in the upcoming months is as different cliques, and the reason there are so many different cliques is because there are so many different tastes. There have been a record number of films the last 3 years, which means that who wins what is more a matter of politics, morals and taste rather than definitive aesthetic judgment; we all ready knew that, because that's what happens every year, with every award given, but as we have noted previously, those who win awards are likely going to be the first ones hired to do upcoming films (nothing succeeds like success) so their influence, their agendas are going to be spread even more as they continue accelerating their talent and goals throughout different projects. Ultimately, that's the main reason why we should care and why this--and every other award is important: the films getting awards today, will reflect the films being made tomorrow.
Eat Your Art Out,
The Fine Art Diner