Continuing a disturbing trend of voting for a movie most members likely watched THIS WEEK, the New York Film Critics Circle on Tuesday selected David O. Russell’s upcoming American Hustle as the Best Picture of 2013. Not "The Best Picture of 2013 That We Happened to Screen Recently." The best picture of the entire year.
I’m not trying to say that Russell’s movie isn’t worthy - full disclosure: I haven’t seen it yet. Few outside of the privileged critics groups and guilds have. For all we know, it really is the best movie released this year. But man, wouldn’t that be coincidental? Last year, the NYFCC selected Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty as its Best Picture … after screening it essentially at the last minute before their annual voting process.
A trend? Possibly. The group did go with the overwhelming favorite The Artist in 2010, so the group doesn’t ALWAYS vote on the last movie they happened to see. It’s just happened the last two years. Very strange.
Here’s the latest trailer for Russell’s drama, which is based on a true-life con scam aimed at taking down corrupt politicians. It looks like a ton of fast and loose fun:
Elsewhere, NYFCC went with: 12 Years a Slave filmmaker Steve McQueen in its Best Director category; Cate Blanchett (Blue Jasmine) for Best Actress; and Robert Redford (All Is Lost) for Best Actor. You can see the full list of award winners on the organization's official website.
Of this year’s selections, NYFCC Chairman Joshua Rothkopf said:
I'm very happy with the work we've done today. The complexion of our group guarantees some surprises, but we always vote from our hearts. It was an extremely strong year for American movies."
On that, we can agree. The NYFCC is just one of a handful of notable critic communities that belly up to the pre-Oscar bar to belch up their collective opinion. Monday night, also in New York, the Gotham Independent Film Awards handed out their year-end distinctions, choosing to go with Inside Llewyn Davis as its Best Picture winner (they don’t have a Directory category.). Matthew McConaughey won Best Actor for Dallas Buyers Club, while Brie Larson of the excellent Short Term 12 won Best Actress.
Several more groups are expected to weigh in before year’s end, including groups in Los Angeles (and every other major U.S. city), online groups, and the Broadcast Film Critics Association. It’s borderline exhausting … in a good way, right?