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With the Oscars still several months away, we’re looking for any hint that a certain film might now be in pole position to claim the main prizes at the ceremony come February. On Wednesday afternoon, the New York Film Critics Circle gave us four very good reasons to believe that Carol has just become an early frontrunner in awards season, as the romantic drama picked up Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematographer and Best Screenplay at the ceremony.

What’s even more remarkable about Carol’s success is that neither of its leading actresses – Rooney Mara or Cate Blanchett – were rewarded for their towering performances, even though there has already been widespread chatter that the duo’s portrayals have been the best of the year. Instead, Phyllis Nagy, who wrote the screenplay for Carol, adapting it from Patricia Highsmith’s book The Price Of Salt, took home a gong for her enrapturing, slow-building script. She was soon joined by Edward Lachman, who picked up the Best Cinematographer accolade for his sumptuous work behind the camera, which managed to make 1950s New York seem both nostalgically alluring but still cold and heartless.

Clearly the NYFCC were enamored with Carol’s stylistic choices that took place behind the camera, because next up was revered filmmaker Todd Haynes, who collected the Best Director award for his masterfully controlled and always beautifully captivating direction. Carol’s perfect Wednesday was then rounded off when it won the Best Picture at the 2015 New York Film Critics Circle Awards, as well.

Basically, what these accolades prove is that, if you haven’t yet, you really need to get your tuchus down to your local multiplex to watch Carol, especially since, while the NYFCC don’t seem to think so, it includes two of the finest performances of the year.
Rooney Mara and Cate Blanchett were overlooked in the Best Actress category in favor of Brooklyn’s Saoirse Ronan, whose work is, admittedly, just as exemplary as theirs, while Spotlight’s Michael Keaton took home Best Actor, and Clouds Of Sils Maria’s Kristen Stewart and Bridge Of Spies’ Mark Rylance claimed the Best Supporting Actress and Actor prizes.

But does this mean that Carol is now the Oscar front-runner? Not really. In fact in the last ten years, the NYFCC has only successfully predicted three Best Picture winners, in the shape of The Artist, The Hurt Locker, and No Country For Old Men.

In fact, even though they were overlooked, I’d still say that both Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are the frontrunners for the Best Actress and Supporting Actress Academy Award. But Saoirse Ronan’s recognition proves that she’ll be a sturdy adversary, while you also shouldn’t rule out The Danish Girl’s Alicia Vikander (in Supporting) and Room’s Brie Larson (in Actress). Either way, it doesn’t really matter who wins because they were all fucking magnificent.

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