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« Online Film Critics Society chooses 12 Years a Slave | Main | Joan Fontaine (1917-2013) »

"Critics Choice" Nominees - 19 Years of American Hustling

If they made a biopic of the BFCA it would be called 12 Years a Pundit... er, excuse me. 19 Years a Pundit. The BFCA (of which, full disclosure, I am a member) is in its 19th year of Oscar prognostication movie awardage and this year we've fallen hard for 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle both of which won three acting nominations and 10 additional nominations each. The "Critics Choice" list is the last big set we'll get before Oscar sounds off in one month's time.

So what have we got here?

American Hustle
Captain Phillips
Dallas Buyers Club
Inside Llewyn Davis
Saving Mr. Banks
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

OR: Hilariously, The Ten Films on Everyone's Oscar Best Picture Chart. Oh, BFCA... you never fail to put punditry first! The most interesting note is that no Weinstein Co pictures are on their prediction list. We discussed this on the podcast... but could this really happen come Oscar nomination morning. It'd be very unusual. I still think Philomena and/or Fruitvale Station could surprise.

Christian Bale – American Hustle
Bruce Dern – Nebraska
Chiwetel Ejiofor – 12 Years a Slave
Tom Hanks – Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey – Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford – All Is Lost

Six noinees and no room for Oscar Isaac or Michael B Jordan? It's not a happy year for breakthrough performers when it comes to awardage. I got chastised by readers for having Joaquin Phoenix completely outside my top ten Best Actor chart for Her, but that's not looking so crazy now is it? If he couldn't score here... Also on the outside looking in: Leonardo DiCaprio who isn't nominated here but is nominated in Comedy (though his film isn't, go figure)

Cate Blanchett – Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Judi Dench – Philomena
Brie Larson – Short Term 12
Meryl Streep – August: Osage County
Emma Thompson – Saving Mr. Banks

Major win for Brie Larson (yes, I voted for her) but once again the BFCA's field of six is intended to cover their bases in cases someone scores a surprise nomination. I guess that someone this year is Brie Larson which I totally dig. Nevertheless it's more than likely what we thought originally: the Oscar shortlist in Best Actress will be the oldest on average of all time

Barkhad Abdi – Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruhl – Rush
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Michael Fassbender – 12 Years a Slave
James Gandolfini – Enough Said
Jared Leto – Dallas Buyers Club

Six nominations, 33% of which are leading roles (Hi Brühl & Abdi, your movies are complete parallel two hander narratives from beginning to end but you're not famous enough to be a "lead")... this looks like your Oscar list minus one. But who gets the drop? Seems tight, right?

Scarlett Johansson – Her
Jennifer Lawrence – American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o – 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts – August: Osage County
June Squibb – Nebraska
Oprah Winfrey – Lee Daniels’ The Butler

People get pissed at me for not wanting voice-only performances nominated for prizes (maybe special citations, sure) because they're not "full" performances. But then they reduce them to 'supporting" themselves because, presumably, they're not full performances so who is being hypocritical exactly? P.S. This is your Oscar list minus Scarlett Johansson, the gorgeous sexy amusing smart three dimensional voice in question

One final note on the actors. 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle both won 3 acting nominations leaving out one of their principle quartet: Sarah Paulson and Amy Adams respectively. Shame because both women are great in their movies and if you're going to go that hog wild for one movie...

snubbed within their brilliant quartet                                       

Asa Butterfield – Ender’s Game
Adele Exarchopoulos – Blue Is the Warmest Color
Liam James – The Way Way Back
Sophie Nelisse – The Book Thief
Tye Sheridan – Mud

The laziest set of nominees possible. Just go with leads of movies you watched! And I even tried to help them with that big chart of eligibility. But there's no way that half of these performers are more deserving than Kaitlyn Dever (Short Term 12), Israel Broussard (The Bling Ring), or Onata Aprile (What Maisie Knew)... and yes that was my exact ballot. Also why is this list only 5 wide when the others are 6 wide? Is it because there's no Oscar category to boast about how well you predicted it?

I've said this before but they need to lower the age restrictions on this category to under 18. Because, frankly, it's offputting to have the sexually explicit Blue is the Warmest Color competing with these other child-centric films.

American Hustle
August: Osage County
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave
The Wolf of Wall Street

I like to bitch about my own group's lack of discernment but this is an improvement on SAG's list of the same.

Alfonso Cuaron – Gravity
Paul Greengrass – Captain Phillips
Spike Jonze – Her
Steve McQueen – 12 Years a Slave
David O. Russell – American Hustle
Martin Scorsese – The Wolf of Wall Street

They're doing pretty good with these Oscar predictions, yes?

Eric Singer and David O. Russell – American Hustle
Woody Allen – Blue Jasmine
Spike Jonze – Her
Joel Coen & Ethan Coen – Inside Llewyn Davis
Bob Nelson – Nebraska

Tracy Letts – August: Osage County
Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke – Before Midnight
Billy Ray – Captain Phillips
Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope – Philomena
John Ridley – 12 Years a Slave
Terence Winter – The Wolf of Wall Street

Possibly Irrelevant Rant: I am so mad at the year 2002 for hopelessly screwing up perceptions of Adapted vs Original. That was the year that Gangs of New York and My Big Fat Greek Wedding both cheated suddenly pretending they weren't adapted works despite long histories of promoting themselves as such. Soon it had all broken down and people just put themselves anywhere. Now all pre-existing character movies are "adapted" which is dumb. If the Before films are "adapted" screenplays than so is Blue Jasmine since it uses the Bernie Madoff scandal fused with A Streetcar Named Desire as its springboard. [/Rant]

Emmanuel Lubezki – Gravity
Bruno Delbonnel – Inside Llewyn Davis
Phedon Papamichael – Nebraska
Roger Deakins – Prisoners
Sean Bobbitt – 12 Years a Slave

This could quite possibly be the Oscar list and it's a good one... though I'm assuming Phedon Papamichael is vulnerable since he's never been Oscar nominated and Nebraska has been mostly thriving on its performances in the media. 

Andy Nicholson (Production Designer), Rosie Goodwin (Set Decorator) – Gravity
Catherine Martin (Production Designer), Beverley Dunn (Set Decorator) – The Great Gatsby
K.K. Barrett (Production Designer), Gene Serdena (Set Decorator) – Her
Dan Hennah (Production Designer), Ra Vincent (Set Decorator) – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Adam Stockhausen (Production Designer), Alice Baker (Set Decorator) – 12 Years a Slave

Alan Baumgarten, Jay Cassidy, Crispin Struthers – American Hustle
Christopher Rouse – Captain Phillips
Alfonso Cuarón, Mark Sanger – Gravity
Daniel P. Hanley, Mike Hill – Rush
Joe Walker – 12 Years a Slave
Thelma Schoonmaker – The Wolf of Wall Street

Michael Wilkinson – American Hustle
Catherine Martin – The Great Gatsby
Bob Buck, Lesley Burkes-Harding, Ann Maskrey, Richard Taylor – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Daniel Orlandi – Saving Mr. Banks
Patricia Norris – 12 Years a Slave
American Hustle
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Lee Daniels’ The Butler
12 Years a Slave
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Iron Man 3
Pacific Rim
Star Trek into Darkness

I care a lot about these categories but the BFCA doesn't since we don't air them live. So I wonder why we cover them? I think streamlining is the way to go because if you don't care, you shouldn't be in the game.

The Croods
Despicable Me 2
Monsters University
The Wind Rises

This MIGHT be your Oscar list though I think Ernest & Celestine will make it IF the new rules where the voters aren't required to see the movies doesn't torpedo their chances... and it might.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Iron Man 3
Lone Survivor
Star Trek into Darkness
Henry Cavill – Man of Steel
Robert Downey Jr. – Iron Man 3
Brad Pitt – World War Z
Mark Wahlberg – Lone Survivor

Sandra Bullock – Gravity
Jennifer Lawrence – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Evangeline Lilly – The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Gwyneth Paltrow – Iron Man 3
American Hustle
Enough Said
The Heat
This Is the End
The Way Way Back
The World’s End
Christian Bale – American Hustle
Leonardo DiCaprio – The Wolf of Wall Street
James Gandolfini – Enough Said
Simon Pegg – The World’s End
Sam Rockwell – The Way Way Back
Amy Adams – American Hustle
Sandra Bullock – The Heat
Greta Gerwig – Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus – Enough Said
Melissa McCarthy – The Heat
The Conjuring
Star Trek into Darkness
World War Z

Look! Up in the sky! It's Category Confusion 

I admit I abstained in some of these categories even though I love voting on prizes. When you make this many divisions it starts feeling like the Golden Satellites (this is not how anyone should want to feel) and it starts to make not a lot of internal sense -- as in with Gravity which is a sci-fi film, but not an action film except that Sandra Bullock is giving an action performance. Same deal with Wolf of Wall Street: It's a Best Film but not a Best Comedy but Leonardo is a Best Comedy Actor but not a Best Actor.


For all the complaints people have about the Golden Globes comedy division at least you can't be nominated in two different TYPES of categories. If there is a Best Comedy doesn't Best Picture have to be called Best Drama? 

Blue Is the Warmest Color (France)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Past (Iran)
Wadjda (Saudi Arabia)

I knew Blue is the Warmest Color would make it being so high profile. Occasionaly the BFCA will ignore what's Oscar eligible. But only under very very specific circumstances like this spaghetti eating cunnilingus loving one.

The Act of Killing
Stories We Tell
Tim’s Vermeer
20 Feet from Stardom

I voted for The Missing Picture which is an incredible work of memoir (like Stories We Tell) but I guess I shouldn't be surprised that it missed the cut since it isn't Oscar eligible any longer in this particular category.

Atlas – Coldplay – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
Happy – Pharrell Williams – Despicable Me 2
Let It Go – Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez – Frozen
Ordinary Love – U2 – Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Please Mr. Kennedy – Justin Timberlake/Oscar Isaac/Adam Driver – Inside Llewyn Davis
Young and Beautiful – Lana Del Rey – The Great Gatsby
Steven Price – Gravity
Arcade Fire – Her
Thomas Newman – Saving Mr. Banks
Hans Zimmer – 12 Years a Slave

Why are there only 4 nominees for score but 6 for song? BFCA you make-a-no-sense!

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Reader Comments (30)

look they nominated The Martins (Gwyneth and Chris). You think they are coming to the ceremony?
this is fun. I like their (or should I say yours, Nathaniel?) categories for action/comedy/horror...

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrace

I know I've been commenting on this a lot this season, so forgive me, but I just do not understand why Amy Adams isn't getting more love for how successful American Hustle has been this awards season. I especially don't understand how her three co-stars got in, yet she didn't.

Oh well. Happy to see Brie Larson in there, and I'd gladly take her and Adams getting in over Dench and Streep come Oscar nominations morning. I can dream...

Other than that, I'm always disappointed in this group. Such lackluster, un-ballsy choices overall. And the fact that they split it into action and comedy is just a way of starfucking, sorry.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

I don't get why Cate Blanchett was double nommed in 2007/8 for Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007) and I'm Not There (2007, this one deserved) and Tom Hanks who gave a better piece of acting in Saving Mr. Banks (2013) relative to ETGA and a heartbreaking breakdown all-in-one Oscar scene in Captain Phillips (2013) isn't. I thought the critics dug his SMB perf. But it seems that only Emma Thompson will be mentioned come 16 January.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAriel

This group is easily my least favorite awards show of the season (sorry Nathaniel-I heart the FBA's, though). They are even less relevant this year since they can't even be the first "predictors" (with the SAG and Globe nominations already announced). I just don't get the appeal, and it's not like it's a fun award show to make up for it being a borin set of nominees (Brie Larson excluded, but one nomination amidst dozens is not enough to make you necessary).

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Haven't seen Her yet, but I think it'd be really hard to ever consider a voice performance in a live-action film a "lead."

Think of all the things that make up a screen performance. It's not just saying lines-- it's reaction shots, wordless scenes, travel scenes, time spent just "being." Adele eating spaghetti. Llewyn Davis sleeping on the floor. Brie Larson riding her bike. A voice performance doesn't get to utilize any of those things. They've only got the sentences put in front of them, and the nuance that comes from a facial expression or a shot of them walking into a building or whatever? They don't have those chances to flesh out a performance. They have lines. Period.

Again, haven't seen Her, but even if her level of involvement in the plot would suggest a "leading" performance, I think her limited ability to shape the performance in comparison to other actors in the race would put her more on par with a "supporting" performance, in any case.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJake D

Jake D -- well sure but the fact that people can think that (totally reasonable) but still beleive that voice only work is comparable to voice + everything else is what's troubling me. If you have to demote her because it's not "full" why do you want her in there at all?


December 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Lots of categories. Why the need for Best Drama (even though you don't call it that), Best Comedy, Best Action for example, especially if you don't follow through with all the acting cats and allow for cross over (or not) as well? Why not have one category for each, film, actor, actress, supporting etc. with honorable mention lists following. Acting is acting, films are films. Someone bitched about SAG having a stunt category, but at least it has finite rules.

How is Gravity up for best picture, but not best action picture when Bullock is best actress in both? etc. Leo, Bale, Adams, Rush, American Hustle........You see where I'm going with this

Adele may fit the age limit for younger actress, but she was playing an adult role.

Lana del Rey? Seriously? Best bore maybe. Woman is human form of anesthesia.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

Well if any of you saw Sophie Nelisse's performance could you tell shy she didn't get hardly any best actress nom from anybody. If i look at her pure performance...even if you didn't like the movie her Geoffrey and Emily are so better than so many that got nominated it is deceptive and mind boggling!

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

Okay. That's it. I'm swearing off all awards between now and the Oscar announcement until these myriad organizations start thinking for themselves. A sad state of affairs when the most surprising nomination a group can muster is Deakins for cinematography and Her for production design when most categories a six-wide. Both crass and unimaginative.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterW.J.

Oprah is nominated I'm happy.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Nominating Adele Exarchopolous for Best Young Actor/Actress makes me feel uncomfortable. A performance that has pretty extensive nudity shouldn't be nominated in a category that reads like it should be about minors. Breakthrough performance, sure. Young Actress, maybe not the best idea.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBenji

World War Z should be in Action, not horror/sci-fi, and that's assuming people actually think it's an award-worthy film. Woof.

I mean, if I picked nominees for a horror/sci-fi category, I could make arguments for Gravity, Stoker, Warm Bodies, Resolution, and The World's End. I could also argue for the Carrie remake, but I'd probably be laughed out of the nominating group and barred for life. Why must the world hate ensemble-driven feminist reimaginings of iconic horror films in the context of a social media-driven world?

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

DiCaprio snubbed. Unbelievable. You're not going to give him any credit until he's dead, are you, you weird-assed Americans?

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGena

As expected, with Brie being the one pleasant surprise. Sad to see "Blancinieves" getting no love stateside. BFCA is losing more and more of it's independent spirit if you will.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoel v

Remember when everyone thought Margo Martindale and Sarah Paulson were contenders? SMH.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJessica

Bummed Amy isnt in the list, though I am thrilled for Brie. She's been doing surprisingly well in the precursors but i dont want to get my hopes up (that happened back to me in 2005 with Joan Allen and we all know how tragic that went for her)

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBVR

Benji- Not her fault they kept that nomination period open until 21.

Margo and Sarah weren't contenders so much as fans of theirs, like myself, wanted them to get noticed. Paulson's performance stood out for me but I have not seen Margo to really advocate. Amy not included, however, is insulting. I am shaking my fists at what I imagine are the blue-hairs of the BFCA falling for Thompson and Dench.

I know the BFCA is what Nathaniel is part of but it is so crowded and so interested in pandering to everyone when it added more categories.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

I love that you love Amy Adams again!

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

They've done it again, Gravity is an action movie AND horror/sci-fi? Not to say that it's not possible to be both but you gotta choose one group to put it in when it comes to award. Did they do the same last year on Looper?
And really, Gravity is not action movie. If they just wanna give Sandy a Best Actress price because she will definitely lose the main one to Cate, The Heat is a more action movie than Gravity, isn't it? Oh wait, they can't do that, they put that one in comedy already. Must they have so many categories that will only confuse themselves? Did you really vote on all these categories, Nathaniel?

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPJ

PJ -- as sstated in the post, i abstained from a few categories. I don't understand all the divisions and if i couldn't come up with worthy lineups (like best actress in an action movie) i passed.

December 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

BVR, Joan's snub was especially egregious because of that pathetic lineup they ended up with. One of the worst ever.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

6 nominees in the acting categories seems pretty weak to me.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

I am curious but why isn't Carey Mulligan gaining any awards traction for Inside Llewyn Davis??

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthebluemoon

Nathaniel, how is Scarlett any less "full" than John Hawkes in The Sessions or Javier Bardem in The Sea Inside? Sure they have faces, but their bodies not working was part of the character. If the performance is rich enough (haven't seen Her, but I think there's an argument for Ellen in Finding Nemo) with just voice, what's to argue about in terms of inclusion? She's still acting. . .

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDanny Hall

Danny -- i'm just saying that even ithe people who say it is "full" are being hypocritical because then they demote it to supporting so clearly it's not full even to them. I realize it's a touchy subject and that a lot of readers are super passionate about voice work getitng Oscar recognition.

I just dont think it's comparable to regular performances -- especially since Joaquin's performance is based on reacting to a different voice performance altogether (his scenes were recorded with samantha morton) so I'd much rather in the exceptional cases that it be given special Oscars. and yes Scarlett is a special case. it's a really really wonderful performance.

p.s. i also think ellen degeneres is wonderful in finding nemo.

The Blue Moon -- i can only speak for myself but for me I found it a one note shrill character. she's completely angry in every scene and has no arc. I mean she's funny, kind of, but it's not a stretch or a complicated character to play.

CMG -- i firmly believe that Margo would have gotten some attention if Julia hadn't pulled category fraud. Maybe not a nomination but SOMETHING. Julia just completely drowned her out publicity wise, the danger of fraudulent publicity as I've always said. it just gives the world more excuse to worship the people they already worship (movie stars) who have categories of their own that they're supposed to be in. it's really just so greedy.

Benji -- agreed.

December 16, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Oh Haha no wonder.. May I ask how long is Mulligan in the film? Looking forward to seeing Inside Llewyn Davis very much.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterthebluemoon

If anyone's to blame for Margo failing to gain traction it's the film's director for making the boneheaded decision to hire her over Bates in the first place. If Bates were apart of this ensemble she and Julia would be joined at the hip in this category.

December 16, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

For the Animated race, I may be wrong but won't the animators who nominate the films still see all the movies thereby giving Ernest & Celestine a chance? I would think the new rules would only impact the winner since that's all that the general voting body of the Academy gets to vote on.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I think there should be a separate category for voice work--both for animation and in a case like Her. Its a very different skill. You have to work much harder and often in a very unnatural manner to convey meaning that sounds normal. Watch any film of voice actors at work to see what I mean.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I don't mind Johansson getting some critics nominations but I don't really think she deserves an Oscar nomination for her voice performance. How much did she really stretch herself in the role? To me it just sounded like talking, flirting and having phone sex. If critics occasionally want to bring spotlight to voice work, why to go to superfamous people like Robin Williams or Scarlett Johansson instead of someone like John Lequizamo who could actually use the spotlight and who really changes his voice for different performances, creating new characters very different from himself vocally. Or even someone like Benedict Cumberbatch for Smaug since he sounds like a completely different person in DOS than in Fifth Estate.

In addition, I often feel ScorJo's screen presence quite lacking for in that way getting nominated for a role that doesn't require any would feel like a bit of cheating to me. It could also open the floodgates for celebrity voice work being considered more often and I don't want to have people who have never won try to campaign themselves for their parts in various animated movies every year.

December 17, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCC

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