The Critics Choose Their Buffet

The Broadcast Film Critics Association announced their nominees for the Critics Choice Awards today, with the show itself airing January 13. Unlike some precursors, it truly can be a window of what’s to come with Oscar nods… with a significant caveat.

This particular awards ceremony lists six to seven performers and directors in those races. Therefore we know one or two nominees won’t make the cut for the gold statue. As for Best Picture, they do name ten and that’s the highest number the Academy can honor. Critics Choice has a large number of categories, but we shall focus on the top six in today’s analysis and use the last three ceremonies for historical context.

Best Picture

Nominees: BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, The Favourite, First Man, Green Book, If Beale Street Could Talk, Mary Poppins Returns, Roma, A Star Is Born, Vice

In 2015, all eight Oscar nominated films were named here. In 2016, it was eight of the nine Academy honorees named, with Hidden Figures missing the Critics cut. Last year, it was 8/9 again with Phantom Thread as the outlier.

The 10 nominees this year exactly match my current top 10 Oscar possibilities. These selections serve as potential bad news for titles such as Can You Ever Forgive Me?, Eighth Grade, First Reformed, Crazy Rich Asians and Widows. If any of them make it in, First Man is likely the most vulnerable.

Best Director

Nominees: Damien Chazelle (First Man), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Alfonso Cuaron (Roma), Peter Farrelly (Green Book), Yorgos Lanthimos (The Favourite), Spike Lee (BlacKkKlansman), Adam McKay (Vice)

Three and five and four. Those are the respective number of nominated directors here from 2014-2016 that made the Academy cut.

The story here is the surprising omission of Barry Jenkins for If Beale Street Could Talk. Whether that is a sign of something to come is questionable. Chazelle, Farrelly, and McKay might have helped themselves a bit today.

Best Actor

Nominees: Christian Bale (Vice), Bradley Cooper (A Star Is Born), Willem Dafoe (At Eternity’s Gate), Ryan Gosling (First Man), Ethan Hawke (First Reformed), Rami Malek (Bohemian Rhapsody), Viggo Mortensen (Green Book)

2015 saw a five for five match while the last two years have seen four Critics nominees receive Oscar love. As in the previous two races, First Man got a boost yet again for the box office disappointment that had previously underwhelmed in precursors. This list not including Robert Redford’s work in The Old Man & The Gun could mean the end of the road for his potential inclusion.

Best Actress

Nominees: Yalitza Aparicio (Roma), Emily Blunt (Mary Poppins Returns), Glenn Close (The Wife), Toni Collette (Hereditary), Olivia Colman (The Favourite), Lady Gaga (A Star Is Born), Melissa McCarthy (Can You Ever Forgive Me?)

Simple math here. Over the past three years, the five women listed for the Best Actress Oscar have all been mentioned here. By the way, the three winners match as well.

This year is crowded for Best Actress (more so than Actor). Today’s nominations could be best news for Viola Davis (Widows), Nicole Kidman (Destroyer), Julia Roberts (Ben Is Back), Saoirse Ronan (Mary Queen of Scots), and Rosamund Pike (A Private War).

As for actual nominees, Aparicio and Collette helped their momentum to potentially dislodge one or two of the others.

Best Supporting Actor

Nominees: Mahershala Ali (Green Book), Timothee Chalamet (Beautiful Boy), Adam Driver (BlacKkKlansman), Sam Elliot (A Star Is Born), Michael B. Jordan (Black Panther)

Unlike the last race, 2015 and 2016 saw four Critics recipients here get Academy attention. Last year, it was three. While Jordan helped himself, we could still see Sam Rockwell (Vice) or possibly Nicholas Hoult (The Favourite) in the mix.

Best Supporting Actress

Nominees: Amy Adams (Vice), Claire Foy (First Man), Nicole Kidman (Boy Erased), Regina King (If Beale Street Could Talk), Emma Stone (The Favourite), Rachel Weisz (The Favourite)

Five for five match three years ago and four for five the last two years. Right now, these six women are my top six Oscar contenders. If there’s a name not here that could sneak in for Academy voters, perhaps it’s Natalie Portman in Vox Lux, though it’s weak limited release debut over the past weekend doesn’t help at all.

It never lets up this time of year with Awards prognosticating. SAG nods will be unveiled Wednesday. I’ll have predictions up in short order with reaction up soon after!

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