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Awards Calendar: Precursor Madness Begins in 3... 2... 1... 

Which film will lord over NYC film critics this year?You've probably heard by now that the city-by-city / guild-by-guild precursor madness begin next week. Golden Globe ballots went out to members yesterday and The New York Film Critics Circle will be the first to announce winners on Monday, December 3rd. I'm having breakfast with a director during their announcement -- priorities! -- but we'll be sure to discuss that day.

The rush to "first!" means that Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained is right on the wire of "will voters see it or not see it before voting?" Apparently it's now locked and screening (my December 1st screening was cancelled and I have not -- as of yet -- been re-invited though our BFCA balloting begins on December 3rd)

12/3 -New York Film Critics Circle 
⅓ of the Holy Trinity of critics groups. Founded in 1935!!! Last year's winner: The Artist
12/5 -National Board of Review
In recent years they've finally cried uncle about "first!" and conceded. Last year's winner: Hugo
12/7 -Los Angeles Film Critics Association
⅓ of the Holy Trinity of Critics Prizes founded in 1975. Last year's winner: The Descendants
12/9 -New York Film Critics Online
This upstart group began handing out prizes in 2003. Last year's winner: The Artist
12/9 - Boston Society of Film Critics
Announcing since 1980. They were once among the most iconoclastic of groups but in the past decade have, like nearly all critics groups, begun to merely choose their favorite from the handful of true Oscar hopefuls. Last year's winner: The Artist
12/11 Broadcast Film Critics Association "Critics Choice" Nominations
Announcing since. Full disclosure: I am a voting member.
12/12 Screen Actors Guild Awards Nominations
A very big pre-Oscar deal... since 1995. Their unique system of choosing nominees -- a different randomly-selected nominating pool each year from their vast membership --  should technically be capable of delivering bigger surprises now and then. We'll see... Last year's winner: the cast of The Help
12/13 Golden Globe Nominations
1/8 Directors Guild Award Nominations (Feature Films)
Before Oscar started monkeying with their Best Picture rules this was the single most predictive award as to which films would be nominated for Best Picture. Voting annually since 1948. Last year's winner: Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist.
TBA - Chicago Film Critics
Annoyingly they announce nominees and then wait for the winners, upsetting the traditional critics prize routine. Last year's eventual winner: The Tree of Life
TBA - Online Film Critics Society
Annoyingly they announce nominees and then wait for the winners, upsetting the traditional critics prize routine.  Last year's eventual winner: The Tree of Life
TBA - National Society of Film Critics
⅓ of the Holy Trinity of Critics Prizes, founded in 1966, though they've been losing plentiful media steam over the years... partially due to the explosion of ridiculous critics groups -- does every city really need their own when regional prizes for smaller film markets would make much more cumulative sense ? -- and their late in the game announcement.


aka Nathaniel's Christmas... and it's coming so early this year.
1/10 Critics Choice Awards 
1/13 Golden Globe Awards

1/27 SAG Awards

aka Nathaniel's New Years Eve

Which groups do you care most about? Which film, if any, do you think will dominate this year? Or are you hoping, as I am, that it'll be a free for all. It's been so long since different groups had wildly different opinions! Oh how we long for critics groups to do their jobs in an entertaining thoughtful way and actually challenge each other with "no, this!" lobs. 

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Reader Comments (24)

My pipe dream wish that will never happen is for Perks of Being A Flower to get a SAG
Ensemble nod.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWill h

LAFCA is 11/9 and NSFC is 1/5

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDean

I don't think any one film, or even two films, will dominate this year's critic awards. Maybe that's just wishful thinking on my part since I would love nothing more than a competitive race all the way to the finish line, but I honestly can't think of any movie that has won over critics unanimously to the point that I could see it sweeping through precursors season.

I think LAFCA will pick one of the auteur films, though. I could easily see them springing for The Master or Amour, or at the very least, they'll probably give Best Director to either Anderson or Haneke.

Although I really think Les Miserables will have it all but wrapped up come Oscar night, I don't think that will really begin until the guilds announce their winners, kind of like The King's Speech in 2010. I could see that sweeping through the guilds and the BAFTA's, but I'd be surprised if Les Miz won many critic awards aside from Anne Hathaway (who will likely dominate all season).

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEdwin

That 6+ weeks between Oscar nominations and Oscar night is so frightening to me. If anyone out there is a fan of Jennifer Lawrence or Anne Hathaway, I think they shouls just steer clear of all message board for those 6 weeks. It's never kind to young, pretty ladies or frontrunners.
My solution to the totally useless glut of critics awards bodies is to pretend that the NY, LA, Boston, National Society and National Board are the only ones. Everyone else is just going to follow NY's lead anyway.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

I care most about the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and least about the NYFCC. The former was the only major critics organization to rightfully name Shelley Duvall Best Actress of 1977 for her work in '3 Women' (AKA the best performance ever captured on film). They're willing to go against the grain, which is something I really admire about the National Society of Film Critics as well.

The New York group consistently chooses commercial, Oscar-bait, mediocre winners. I'm over them.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike M.

Mike nothing will compare to last year's bloodbath between Meryl Streep and Close Davis.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

3rtful: And that was only four weeks!

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

National Society is by far my favorite. Even when they choose the consensus pick for Best Picture, it never feels like a default choice. I can't really explain why. It just feels like they're more genuine and less concerned about matching the Oscars.

I also have a soft spot for Los Angeles and their fondness for choosing an out-of-nowhere person for one of the supporting awards, although that tendency seems to have sadly diminished over the last few years.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLiz N.

LA chose Christine Lahti as Best Actress for 1988 for Running on Empty. They won my eternal respect.

I'm hoping against hope that The Master is shut out by all critics groups. My loathing for that pretentious piece of crap is immense.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I'm happy to see everyone seems aware that LA and National Society are the best. Props! NY is the Oscar barometer group, National Board are the eternal picker-of-second-place (see Hugo last year, or the year they chose Anna Kendrick and Josh Brolin over Mo'Nique and Christoph Waltz). Boston is kind of in-between.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

Looking forward to the curveballs thrown by NYFCC, LAFC and the NSFC (the 3 critics' awards I pay most attention to). Remember when Yi Yi won Best Picture?!

Dreading a year of repeat winners like Forest Whitaker or Helen Mirren. Spread the wealth, voters!

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Steve, if Helen gets another default nom like she did for The Last Station, I'm goin ballistic LOL. I love her, but that kinda stuff can tear down your public goodwill.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

The good thing about all that madness are the Red Carpet posts :) When I see a picture of an actress that's remarkable I miss the comments you guys would make. I missed them when Nicole Kidman My Fair Lady dress and Kristen Stewart see through dress.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteriggy

I hope Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren get some recognition for Hitchcock.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterHannibal Lester

What I am most interested in:

Your personal awards.

Are you traditionally going to announce before the Academy Awards? You have to.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMarcelo

NATHANIEL! Please rally all BFCA members to vote Kidman for 'The Paperboy' in such a weak Supporting Actress field :D You can do it!!

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSteven

I really want it to be a free-for-all this year. I just can't understand why so many awards bodies come down on the side of the same tiny selection fo nominees/winners. It seems to have been happening more in recent years too. Bring it on!

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEdward L.

I think Marigold Hotel will be a major player come Oscar time.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I like particular elements about each critics group. Los Angeles almost always hands out its Best Actress prize to very out-of-field (but marvelous) foreign performances, which I always look forward to. In the past, New York always seemed to revive contenders that were losing steam (i.e. they revived The Kids Are All Right in 2010 with 3 big prizes, including one for The Bening). And even though NSFC seems to be losing importance, they always prove to have the most impeccable taste. Last year, their frontrunners were even more interesting than their winners, and they gave Dunst much deserve praise.

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

My favorite critic groups are Chicago Film Critics and Online Film Critics Society (which both "annoyingly" announce the winners later). I think this year will be divided sharply into 2 bags of nominees: the first which include Argo, Lincoln, Life of Pi, Les Mis, Zero Dark Thirty that will dominate in more mainstream groups, while the latter which include Silver Lining Playbook, The Master, Moonrise Kingdom, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Amour will be more received in art-house, indie groups. Hopefully the Oscar will contain both of the groups (might just be wishful thinking)

November 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commentertombeet

I guess I'll start paying attention by the Golden Globes because I'm getting paid when they announce their nominees lol. I'm setting my sights on Lincoln right now, as reluctant I am to see or champion the movie. And the Silver Linings Playbook and then Skyfall. The rest, especially the docs, can fall into their own place.

December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPaolo

I'm excited that it seems to be at least a five way race between Lincoln, Argo, Les Miserables, Silver Linings Playbook, and Zero Dark Thirty. But I hope against all hope the critics groups go maverick and give Picture wins to films outside the conversation, like End of Watch or Cloud Atlas.

December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDevil Shark

I know that there's already so many cities that have critics groups, but does anyone know why Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley Region (i.e. Philly, South Jersey, Delaware) don't have their own awards while places like Iowa and Oklahoma do? I only say this because I'm a South Jersey resident.

December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

"Lincoln" will be nominated for almost every major and minor award.

December 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

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