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Awards Season

Could Film Critics Pave the Way to 2018 Oscar Glory?

Could Film Critics Pave the Way to 2018 Oscar Glory?
Photo Source: “The Florida Project”: A24

The Academy Awards are thought of as the film industry’s top honor, and definitely its most recognizable. And Oscar is far from the only statue handed out at the beginning of each calendar year; Film Independent, the Hollywood Foreign Press, and all of Hollywood’s major guilds each hand out accolades of their own.

But what do those outside the Hollywood sphere think of this year’s greatest films? The favorites among critics, many of whom organize themselves into groups boasting their own honors, may hold sway in establishing one contender over another. While the critical darlings don’t always take home the gold, this year’s Oscar-nominated actors and filmmakers who earned precursor awards could be entering the race with an edge over the competition. Let’s take a look at the film critics’ associations across North America to see what trends appear.

READ: Which Movie Genres Perform Best at the Oscars?

When it came to picking the year’s best film, most of the 2018 Oscar nominees got attention from film critic groups. Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” (A24), nominated for a sole Academy Award with Willem Dafoe’s supporting performance, won Best Film from the Toronto Film Critics Association, New York Film Critics Online, and San Francisco Film Critics Circle. Greta Gerwig’s “Lady Bird” (A24) and Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” (Universal Pictures) were standouts across the board, with “Lady Bird” winning Best Film from the New York Film Critics Circle, Chicago Film Critics Association, Houston Film Critics Society, and National Society of Film Critics; “Get Out” took top honors at Seattle Film Critics Society, Washington D.C. Area Critics Association, and Austin Film Critics Association. Both are Oscar-nominated for Best Picture and in directing and original screenplay categories.

Luca Guadagnino’s Best Picture nominee “Call Me by Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics) also proved a critical favorite, taking Best Film from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. Larger productions “Dunkirk” (Warner Bros.) and “The Phantom Thread” (Focus Features) both contenders for picture and director, were not forgotten; the latter received Best Film from the Boston Critics Association.

In the Best Director category an opposite trend emerges, with the majority of awards going to two clear frontrunners: Christopher Nolan for “Dunkirk” and Guillermo del Toro for “The Shape of Water” (Fox Searchlight Pictures). Nolan received awards from the critics in Seattle, Washington D.C, and Chicago, while del Toro won awards for his direction in Austin, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Gerwig won numerous awards for her directorial debut, with recognition from the critics associations of Toronto, Houston, Georgia, Vancouver, and the National Society of Film Critics; if she takes the award, she will be only the second woman in history to do so.

For a round-up of the most established critics’ associations and their picks for the best films and performances of 2017, see below. And mark your calendars for March 4, when the 90th Academy Awards will bring this film awards season to a rousing conclusion.

READ: Inside Every Recent Oscar Best Picture Winner

Austin Film Critics Association
Founded in 2005, the Austin Film Critics Association is comprised of 20 film critics who regularly review movies for national television stations, daily newspapers, weekly alternatives, local radio, monthly magazines, and websites.
Best Picture: “Get Out”
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Best Actor: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me by Your Name”
Best Actress: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Boston Society of Film Critics
The Boston Society of Film Critics was formed in 1981 to make Boston’s unique critical perspective heard, only awarding films that have a theatrical release in Boston.
Best Picture: “Phantom Thread”
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”
Best Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

Chicago Film Critics Association
Founded in 1990, The Chicago Film Critics Association boasts the only film festival entirely programmed by a critics’ group.
Best Picture: “Lady Bird”
Best Director: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Best Actor: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

Houston Film Critics Society
Founded in 2007, the Houston Film Critics Society, along with its annual awards, works within the Houston area, serving the local community.
Best Picture: “Lady Bird”
Best Director: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Best Actor: James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA)
Comprised of Los Angeles-based professional film critics and founded in 1975, this group is also known for including a Career Achievement Award and New Generation Award.
Best Picture: “Call Me By Your Name”
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape Of Water” and Luca Guadagnino, “Call Me By Your Name”
Best Actor: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”

National Society of Film Critics
The membership of this organization includes critics from across the United States, responsible for sending the official critic delegate to the National Film Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.
Best Picture: “Lady Bird”
Best Director: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Best Actor: Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”
Best Actress: Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water” and “Maudie”

New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC)
The New York Film Critics Circle Awards are the oldest given by film critics in the country, considered a significant harbinger of the Academy Awards.
Best Picture: “Lady Bird”
Best Director: Sean Baker, “The Florida Project”
Best Actor: Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

New York Film Critics Online
Founded in 2005, this organization is comprised of solely internet, NYC-based critics of film.
Best Picture: “The Florida Project” and “Mudbound”
Best Director: Dee Rees, “Mudbound”
Best Actor: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Best Actress: Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”

Seattle Film Critics Society
Newly founded in 2016, The Seattle Film Critics Society supports local efforts in critically engaging cinematic arts and represent print, radio, television, and online critics based in Seattle and throughout Washington.
Best Picture: “Get Out”
Best Director: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

San Francisco Film Critics Circle
This org is comprised of local Bay Area publications’ critics and was founded in 2002.
Best Picture: “The Florida Project”
Best Director: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Best Actor: Andy Serkis, “War for the Planet of the Apes”
Best Actress: Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”

Toronto Film Critics Association
Established in 1997, the Toronto Film Critics Association is affiliated with the International Federation of Film Critics (FIPRESCI). Its Toronto-based journalists and broadcasters comprise the membership also present the Clyde Gilmour Award to a Canadian who has enriched the understanding of film in Canada.
Best Picture: “The Florida Project”
Best Director: Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Best Actress: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association
Founded in 2002 and comprised of over 50 professional D.C.-based film critics, this org works to advocate freedom of expression in film and film criticism.
Best Picture: “Get Out”
Best Director: Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Best Actor: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Best Actress: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Vancouver Film Critics Circle
The Vancouver Film Critics Circle was founded in 2000 in order to help promote Canadian films and the British Columbia film and television industry. In their honors they include both international and Canada-specific categories.
Best Picture: “Lady Bird”
Best Director: Paul Thomas Anderson, “Phantom Thread”
Best Actor: Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”

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