Thursday, December 4, 2014

Awards Season begins: 'Boyhood' wins in New York, 'Birdman' wins Gotham, while 'A Most Violent Year' is NBR's pick

Awards season has been brewing for a while now, but it officially kicked off on Monday when the New York Film Critics Circle announced their best films of the year. Boyhood was named the year's Best Film by critics in New York, which is quite promising for the breakout indie film. Director Richard Linklater also won Best Director for the 12-year epic and Patricia Arquette took the Best Supporting Actress award to bring Boyhood's award total to three. Timothy Spall and Marion Cotillard won Best Actor and Actress awards and JK Simmons continued his Oscar momentum with a Best Supporting Actor win. Wes Anderson won the award for Best Screenplay and The LEGO Movie and Citizenfour won their respective categories. All in all, some of these winners kept their Oscar momentum going, while others won't be in the conversation whatsoever. This is an important win for Boyhood for sure though.


The Gotham Awards took place shortly after on Monday and gave many of its awards to Birdman, the daring dramedy. Birdman took the Best Picture award, beating out other independent films like Love is Strange, Boyhood and Under the Skin. Michael Keaton and Julianne Moore won the acting awards and Tessa Thompson won Best Breakthrough actor for Dear White People. Citizenfour also won Best Documentary, which is another important win for the film. The Gotham awards are certainly less important, but the support for Birdman is there.

Finally, the National Board of Review named their top films of the year last night, with JC Chandor's A Most Violent Year coming out on top. This is a critical win for the crime drama, which many believed was slipping in the Oscar ranks. The film's star, Oscar Isaac, also took home the hardware, tying with Michael Keaton for Best Actor. Julianne Moore snagged another critical win for her performance in Still Alice and Edward Norton put himself back into the race with his Supporting Actor win last night. Jessica Chastain also took home the gold for A Most Violent Year, winning the Best Supporting Actress award.


The LEGO Movie and Inherent Vice won the screenplay awards, but the most surprising win of the night came when Clint Eastwood won Best Director for American Sniper. That could signal big things for Eastwood and his film in the future. The terrific Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself also picked up a critical Best Documentary win, which puts it right in the thick of the documentary race. How to Train Your Dragon 2 won Best Animated Feature as well, despite the overflowing love for The LEGO Movie. Lots of other films won awards last night, as the NBR practically gives every film released an award. But here's the NBR's top ten of the year:

American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Fury
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The LEGO Movie
Nightcrawler
Unbroken

The awards season is definitely heating up, and the race for Best Picture is becoming only more and more complicated. First off, Selma is noticeably missing from this early round of awards, leading me to think that it might not be the massive hit we were all expecting. Secondly, Birdman and Boyhood are definitely titles that are here to stay. They've been staples in all awards conversations thus far, so I see no reason why they won't pick up nominations at the Oscars. The National Board's picks are slightly more obscure, but it begs the questions: can The LEGO Movie sneak into the Oscar top ten? I doubt it, but wouldn't count it out entirely. All in all, more important questions will be answered on Sunday when the LA Film Critics Circle announces their picks for the year. If Boyhood picks up another win, we could be on the road to a Boyhood victory at the Dolby theatre in February.


Image Credits: Sundance, Hollywood Reporter, Wired, Deadline

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