The awards race is in full swing this week. In New York Monday night The Gothams Awards will name winners, and Tuesday the Indie Spirits will make public their nominations and the New York Film Critics Circle will vote their winners. They're announcing them via Twitter, having pushed back by one day their scheduled November 28 voting in order to see David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" on Monday. (Indiewire assesses these awards here.)
Controversially, the critics group moved up their voting to get ahead of the National Board of Review, but will therefore not be able to screen Stephen Daldry's "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close." Clearly, the NYFCC want to be a factor in the Oscar race–as they always have been. I will argue that critics groups have impact on building momentum around "winners" who are already inside the Academy voters sights. And in areas where the field needs narrowing such as documentary and animation, the critics can turn a marginal movie into a must-see.
But it's the actors who have the most to gain and lose here, especially the field of indie hopefuls. And the Gothams will help in that regard as well. Shine a spotlight on Albert Brooks, Amy Ryan, Christopher Plummer, Michael Shannon, Glenn Close, Felicity Jones, Ellen Barkin, Elizabeth Olsen, Kirsten Dunst or Tilda Swinton, and suddenly it's a new ball game.
Gold Derby awards pundits, including me, are predicting "The Descendants" to win the NYFCC. What's your best guess?