The National Society of Film Critics, composed of approximately 60 reviewers, is considered one of the higher profile groups to bestow yearly best of honors. They did so today and it was a good day for Todd Field’s Tár.
NSFC was enthralled by the psychological profile as it won Best Film in addition to Fields for his screenplay and Cate Blanchett in the title role. In its previous 56 years, the Film recipient here has only matched the Oscar BP nine times. It is worth noting that it’s occurred 4 out of the last 7 years with 2015’s Spotlight, 2016’s Moonlight, 2019’s Parasite, and 2020’s Nomadland. 7 of the past 10 NSFC victors were at least nominated for BP from the Academy. That bodes well for Tár. At this point, it would be pretty shocking if it was left off the list of 10 on Oscar nom morning.
This group also names runners-up. For Best Film, it was Aftersun. Director Charlotte Wells came in first in her race with Park Chan-wook (Decision to Leave) in second. I’ve yet to seriously consider Aftersun as a top 10 finisher at the big dance. It’s possible, but perhaps a stretch. Only two of the NSFC winners in the previous decade took Oscar with Alfonso Cuaròn (Roma) and Chloe Zhao (Nomadland).
Blanchett’s trophy is no surprise. The other strong hopeful for Best Actress is Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All at Once. She came in second. It’s worth mentioning that Blanchett won NSFC nine years ago for Blue Jasmine before translating that to her second Oscar. A third could be in the cards.
The lead Actor award went to Colin Farrell for both After Yang and The Banshees of Inisherin. Paul Mescal (Aftersun) was runner-up. Farrell looks assured a spot in the Academy quintet (for Banshees) while Mescal is gunning for a wide open fifth spot. You have to go back to 2016 (Casey Affleck in Manchester by the Sea) to find the previous NSFC/Oscar match.
Our Supporting Actress derby (also pretty wide open) went to the soft frontrunner with Kerry Condon in Banshees. Nina Hoss (Tár) nabbed the second most votes. If there’s an unexpected performer to pop up on nomination morning, it could be Hoss (especially given the uncertainty of her category).
It was smooth sailing for Ke Huy Quan in Supporting Actor as he continued his expected coronation as the season rolls along. The Everything Everywhere All at Once standout beat Brian Tyree Henry (Causeway), who’s a bubble possibility for Oscar.
Polish pic EO is your Best Film Not in the English Language with No Bears (out of Iran) second. The latter was not submitted for the Academy’s consideration. EO also took home an unanticipated win for its Cinematography with Nope as the runner-up.
Finally, Best Nonfiction Film was All the Beauty and the Bloodshed with Descendant second. Both are expected to contend for the Documentary cut at the Oscars.
We are in the heart of awards season, folks! My final prediction for the Golden Globes are coming your way next…