As will doubtless happen many times between now and the National Society of Film Critics’ season-ending vote on January 3, Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” took home the top prize from the New York Film Critics Circle today, winning Best Picture, Best Director and Best Supporting Actress for Patricia Arquette. (Lorelei Linklater can’t get no love?) But move past that headline, and the NYFCC’s votes branched out in some surprising directions, indicating that the year’s overall winners are anything but settled.
If we’re totting up overall wins, the second-place finisher is James Gray’s “The Immigrant,” a movie that hasn’t been abandoned by Harvey Weinstein so much as stabbed and left to bleed out in a dark alley. While members of the Los Angeles Film Critics received hard copies of several other Weinstein Company titles, they only got a viewing link to Gray’s beautifully photographed film. As Flavorwire’s Jason Bailey pointed out, the movie doesn’t even appear on Weinstein’s “For Your Consideration” page, which includes such non-starters as “Begin Again” and “The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby.” Even so, the NYFCC awarded it with Best Actress for Marion Cotillard (shared with her work in the Dardennes’ “Two Days, One Night) and Best Cinematography for Darius Khondji.
Charting their own course is something that critics, at their best, do, and while the NYFCC’s awards included their fair share of foregone conclusions — set aside a dollar for every foreign film award “Ida” doesn’t win, and you’ll might have enough to buy yourself a hot dog — it broke with the expected by giving Best Actor to “Mr. Turner’s” Timothy Spall, who’s largely been counted out as the heat dwindled after Cannes, and screenplay to Wes Anderson’s “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” They also gave Best First Feature to Jennifer Kent’s “The Babadook,” a movie that’s become a must-see based almost entirely on ecstatic reviews and enthusiastic word of mouth — without stars or a “name” director, no tricky narrative conceit, or a giant marketing campaign. Almost anywhere you turn, you can see someone arguing that critics don’t matter anymore, but movies like “The Babadook” and “The Immigrant” show they do — or at least, given the right circumstances, they can.
The New York Film Critics’ Circle 2014 Awards
Best Film: “Boyhood”
Best Director: Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”
Best Screenplay: “The Grand Budapest Hotel”
Best Actress: Marion Cotillard, “The Immigrant” and “Two Days, One Night”
Best Actor: Timothy Spall, “Mr. Turner”
Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”
Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”
Best Cinematography: Darius Khondji, “The Immigrant”
Best Non-fiction Film: “Citizenfour”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Ida”
Best Animated Feature: “The Lego Movie”
Best First Feature: Jennifer Kent, “The Babadook”
Special Award: Adrienne Mancia