It’s here. While there have been a few nomination announcements already, awards season is about to ramp up in serious fashion. And by “about to,” we mean today. Working as precursors to the grand finale that is the Oscars, we’ll be hearing about more awards almost daily between now and the end of January (with a break over Christmas), starting with the National Board of Review this afternoon.
While we’re not about to preview all of them (there’s go to be at least 100 groups announcing prizes these days), we will give you a heads up on 10 of the most notable Oscar precursors, from the big three critics’ awards to the Golden Globes to the guild awards.
National Board of Review
Who are they?
The oldest critics’ group — they’ve been around since 1909 — the NBR
isn’t actually made up of critics alone. The membership is noted as a
“select group of film enthusiasts, filmmakers, professionals, academics
and student,” which often makes for eclectic winners (for better or
When do they announce? They vote on and announce the winners on December 1st (today!).
What were the big winners last year?
The NBR rather boldly went with “A Most Violent Year” for best picture, and gave its stars Oscar Issac (who tied Michael Keaton for best actor) and Jessica Chastain awards as well. While “Year” didn’t actually get any Oscar nominations, the other acting winners — Keaton, Julianne Moore and Edward Norton — all did.
What might they go for this time around?
The NBR can be pretty wacky in their choices — though that’s not
always a bad thing. For every Clint Eastwood winning Best Director for
“Invictus,” there’s an Ann Dowd winning Best Supporting Actress for
“Compliance.” Which makes them very hard to predict. Like any group this
season, “Spotlight,” “Carol” and “Beasts of No Nation” could factor in, as could the just-screened likes of “Joy,” “The Revenant” and “The Hateful Eight.”
As for acting winners, we’ll bet — with very little confidence — that Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence, Mark Rylance and Kate Winslet will be
their quartet. But with NBR, you never know.
New York Film Critics Circle
Who are they?
Around since 1935, the NYFCC is made up of New York-based film critics.
When do they announce? They vote on and announce the winners on December 2nd.
What were the big winners last year?
The NYFCC kicked off the critics’ awards season support for Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood,” giving it best film, best director and best supporting actress (to eventual Oscar winner Patricia Arquette). Timothy Spall, Marion Cotillard and J.K. Simmons (who would also win an Oscar) won the other acting awards.
What might they go for this time around?
It’s hard to imagine “Spotlight” and “Carol” not being major players
here, but watch out for “The Revenant,” “Anomalisa,” “45 Years,” “Steve Jobs” and “Joy,” which just screened this week (the group gave David O. Russell’s “American Hustle” the top prize two years ago right after it screened). The acting races are tough calls for such an early announcement, but at this point, Michael Fassbender, Brie Larson, Michael Keaton and Rooney Mara (who could win for lead or supporting, depending on where they decide her “Carol” performance belongs) seem like the safest bets.
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
Who are they? Founded in 1975, the LAFCA — made up, as one would guess, of L.A.-based critics — have tended to be a little more highbrow in their choices relative to the NYFCC and NBR. Consider the stretch from 2009-2011 when Yolande Moreau (“Seraphine”), Kim Hye-ja (“Mother”) and Yoon Jeong-hee (“Poetry”) won Best Actress.
When do they announce? They vote on and announce the winners on December 6th.
What were the big winners last year? “Boyhood” ruled again with four wins for best film, best director, best actress (Arquette moving up to the lead category here) and best editing (Sandra Adair). They also went with J.K. Simmons, but looked outside the box in the other two acting categories — Tom Hardy for “Locke” and Agata Kulesza for “Ida.”
What might they go for this time around? The mix will probably be similar to the various films noted with respect to the NYFCC, with “Carol” and “Spotlight” again frontrunners. But watch out for some shockers. Like Géza Röhrig (“Son of Saul”) for best actor perhaps? Or maybe Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”) for best actress?
Who are they? Since 2000, the American Film Institute has released top 10 lists of the best in film and television in a given year.
When do they announce? December 16th.
What were the big winners last year? There’s never really a “big winner” at the AFI Awards because they don’t select one from their top 10 list (and simply order the results alphabetically). Last year, “American Sniper,” “Birdman,” “Boyhood,” “Foxcatcher,” “The Imitation Game,” “Interstellar,” “Into The Woods,” “Nightcrawler,” “Selma,” “Unbroken” and “Whiplash” made the list (which was actually a “top 11” due to a tie).
What might they go for this time around? “Bridge of Spies,” “Carol,” “The Revenant,” “Room” and “Spotlight” are almost certainly going to make the cut.
Screen Actors Guild Awards
Who are they? The Screen Actors Guild is a labor union representing over 160,000 film and television actors, and since 1994 they’ve been voting on annual awards for acting in film and television. They have a very wide voting base compared to the Globes or Oscars.
When do they announce? On December 9, we’ll get the nominations and then the winners come January 30.
What were the big winners last year? The SAG Awards celebrated their 21st anniversary last year by offering the same four winners that Oscar did — Redmayne, Moore, Simmons and Arquette. Eventual best picture Oscar winner “Birdman” won best cast.
What might they go for this time around? Whatever the nominees end up being, expect Oscar to look fairly similar. Last year, SAG went 18 out of 20 in predicting Oscar’s acting categories. Surefire bets at this point seem like Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Matt Damon, Brie Larson, Cate Blanchett, Saoirse Ronan, Mark Rylance, Sylvester Stallone, Michael Keaton, Rooney Mara, Alicia Vikander, Kate Winslet and Jane Fonda. And we’d be surprised if “Spotlight,” “Steve Jobs” and “The Martian” weren’t in the best cast mix.
Golden Globe Awards
Who are they? The unofficial second fiddle of awards season to the Oscars, at least in terms of general anticipation and viewership, the Golden Globes come to us via the rather strange Hollywood Foreign Press Association, an organization of journalists and photographers that report on the entertainment industry activity and interests in the United States for information outlets predominantly outside the U.S. In their 73rd year, only about 90 people decide on the Golden Globes.
When do they announce? Nominations on December 10, winners a month later on January 10th.
What were the big winners last year? “Boyhood” and “The Grand Budapest Hotel” split the best picture prizes, with Redmayne, Moore, Simmons and Arquette all winning here, too. Michael Keaton and Amy Adams won in the comedy/musical acting categories.
What might they go for this time around? We’ll have full predictions in every category up early next week — so hold on until then.
Critics Choice Awards
Who are they? Formerly known as the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, these are the newest of the major precursors, and are voted on by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. They have a seemingly endless array of categories, including Best Family Film, Best Action Film and Best Young Performer. And they tend to be more mainstream than most critics’ awards, and very good Oscar predictors as well.
When do they announce? Nominations announced on December 14 and winners on January 17.
What were the big winners last year? Remember the part about how they’re good Oscar predictors? Last year, 17 of 20 folks nominated for acting Oscars were nominated here first. However, they also went with “Boyhood” for best picture and best director (which the Oscars ultimately did not).
What might they go for this time around? “Brooklyn,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Carol,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Room” and “Spotlight” seem like very likely nominees for Best Picture, with the remaining three slots bigger question marks. “Anomalisa,” “Beasts of No Nation,” “Black Mass,” “The Danish Girl,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Inside Out,” “Joy,” “Mad Max: Fury Road,” “Steve Jobs” and maybe even “Tangerine” seem like the ones battling out for those slots. Last year, “Gone Girl,” “Nightcrawler” and “Unbroken” got Best Picture nods here and not at the Oscars.
Producers Guild Awards
Who are they? The Producers Guild of America established these awards back in 1990, and in the 25 years since, the winners have corresponded with the Oscar for Best Picture all but six times (“The Crying Game,” “Apollo 13,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “Moulin Rouge!,” “Brokeback Mountain” and “Little Miss Sunshine” were the odd folks out).
When do they announce? Nominations out January 4, winners on January 23.
What were the big winners last year? The sea change from “Boyhood” to “Birdman” started here when the film won top honors. Though “The LEGO Movie” and “Life Itself” — which won the animated and documentary awards at the PGAs — both weren’t even nominated for Oscars.
What might they go for this time around? Let’s just make a full-on prediction for the PGA Awards’ ten nominees of its top award: “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “Carol,” “Creed,” “The Hateful Eight,” “Joy,” “The Martian,” “The Revenant,” “Room” and “Spotlight.” Then again, January 4 is still more than a month away.
Directors Guild Awards
Who are they? The Directors Guild of America have been handing out these awards for 67 years. Only seven times since the DGA Awards’ inception has the DGA Award winner not won the Academy Award for Best Director.
When do they announce? Nominations are out January 12, and winners on February 6.
What were the big winners last year? Alejandro González Iñárritu won here just as he did at the Oscars, and the nominees went for four for five, with Clint Eastwood making the cut here and Bennett Miller getting in at the Oscars.
What might they go for this time around? Alejandro González Iñárritu is looking pretty solid to get back-to-back nominations, alongside Tom McCarthy and Ridley Scott (who has never won a DGA Award despite a trio of nominations). The other two slots are much less certain, with Quentin Tarantino, David O. Russell, Todd Haynes, Steven Spielberg, George Miller and Lenny Abrahamson all very much in the running.
Who are they? Handed out since 1948 by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, these are basically the UK equivalent of the Oscars, except unlike most national awards, films from any country are eligible. They usually look very much like the Oscars, except with British films tending to do a bit better overall here.
When do they announce? BAFTA will announce their nominations on January 8, and the winners on February 14.
What were the big winners last year? “Boyhood” and Richard Linklater had their final big win here, though all four BAFTA acting winners — Redmayne, Moore, Simmons and Arquette — won here shortly before winning Oscars.
What might they go for this time around? British titles “Brooklyn” and “The Danish Girl” could potentially be big fixtures here, though American favorites “Carol,” “The Martian” “The Revenant” and “Spotlight” seem like heavier favorites.
Peter Knegt is Indiewire’s Contributing Editor and awards columnist. Follow him on Twitter.