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5 Takeaways From This Weekend’s Critics’ Awards

5 Takeaways From This Weekend's Critics' Awards

The critics’ awards kept rolling along this weekend, with Los Angeles, Boston and the New York Film Critics Online groups all announcing their annual award winners. The results were a mix of expected favorites and a few surprises. These were the five developments that stood out to us as most significant:

Boyhood” is officially the critics’ favorite.

Richard Linklater’s 12 years-in-the-making opus had a very good weekend, winning top honors with all three groups, in addition to some big wins for Linklater himself (he won multiple director and screenplay honors) and actress Patricia Arquette (who managed a major feat by winning Best Actress with the L.A. groups). Add that to a Best Film win at with the New York Film Critics Circle earlier this week and it’s pretty safe to call “Boyhood” the official critics favorite of awards season. Whether that translates into making the actress the best bet for the category in this year’s Oscar race remains to be seen, but Linklater’s film is definitely the current frontrunner in that regard. Of course, there’s still a possibility things could chance once the Golden Globes, SAGs and Critics Choice make their announcements (though we doubt they won’t follow suit).

The Grand Budapest Hotel” has a momentum we shouldn’t ignore.

Certainly an underdog going into awards season, Wes Anderson’s critical and commercial hit “The Grand Budapest Hotel” got a major boost thanks to the L.A. critics. It was a runner-up to “Boyhood” in both the Best Film, Best Director and Best Editing categories, but managed to win awards for both Best Screenplay and Best Production Design. It was nipping at the heels of Linklater and company, which in a very competitive year gives Anderson’s movie a significant boost heading into the next few weeks. Once seen as a long-shot to become Wes Anderson’s first Best Picture nomination, “Grand” all of a sudden seems like a genuine contender.

Marion Cotillard could be the fifth best actress nominee.

The Best Actress category is a confusing element of awards season so far this year, with four assumed nominees — Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike, Julianne Moore and Reese Witherspoon — and one giant question mark concerning the final slot. Marion Cotillard is one of a half dozen or so women in the mix for said slot, and she received a big boost this weekend thanks to both the Boston group and New York Film Critics Online awarding her actress honors a few days after the NYFCC did the same. And given that L.A. opted for Patricia Arquette (already on the campaign trail for a supporting role nomination at the Oscars), Cotillard is definitely the queen of options in that category so far, at least as far as critics are concerned.

J.K. Simmons vs. Edward Norton: It’s on.

The Best Supporting Actor race, meanwhile, is clearly down to two options. JK Simmons (“Whiplash”) won all three awards in that category this weekend, while Edward Norton (“Birdman”) was his runner-up. It’s hard to imagine the Oscar going to anyone aside from these two (who collectively also won with NYFCC and NBR, with Simmons winning the former and Norton the latter), and it seems that after this weekend their awards season battle has now been officially set up.

Tom Hardy and Agata Kulesza might not make the cut at the Oscars, but they still have reason to celebrate. 

The L.A. critics’ most unexpected choices came in the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress categories, respectively, as they chose two people on very few radars as far as Oscar is concerned: Tom Hardy (“Locke”) and Agata Kulesza (“Ida”) — bold moves that probably won’t do much to impact the overall state of the race, but the LAFCA definitely stirred things up by giving major kudos to two performers that few were discussing in the midst of very heated races.

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