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National Society of Film Critics Wants Inside Llewyn Davis

The National Society of Film Critics is the second oldest film critics group, after the grandfather of them all the New York Film Critics Circle. This year they swooned for that cad with the cat, Llewyn Davis, giving the Coen brothers Inside Llewyn Davis four of its major prizes: Picture, Director, Actor and Cinematography.

Their prizes

PICTURE Inside Llewyn Davis (runner up: American Hustle)
DIRECTOR Joel and Ethan Coen Inside Llewyn Davis (runner up: Alfonso Cuaron)
ACTRESS Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine (runner up: Adéle Exarchopoulus)
ACTOR Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis (runner up: Chiwetel Ejiofor)
SUPPORTING ACTRESS Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle (runner up: Lupita Nyong'o)
SUPPORTING ACTOR James Franco, Spring Breakers (runner up: Jared Leto)
FOREIGN FILM  Blue is the Warmest Color (runner up: A Touch of Sin)
NON-FICTION [tie] The Act of Killing & At Berkeley)

More after the jump...

SCREENPLAY  Before Midnight (runner up: Inside Llewyn Davis)
CINEMATOGRAPHY Inside Llewyn Davis (runner up: Gravity) 
BEST FILM STILL AWAITING DISTRIBUTION: Stray Dogs (Tsai Ming Liang) and Hide Your Smilling Faces (Daniel Patrick Carbone) 

• To the Museum of Modern Art, for its wide-ranging retrospective of the films of Allan Dwan.
• “Too Much Johnson”: the surviving reels from Orson Welles’s first professional film. Discovered by Cinemazero (Pordenone) and Cineteca del Friuli; funded by the National Film Preservation Foundation; and restored by the George Eastman House.
• British Film Institute for restorations of Alfred Hitchcock’s nine silent features.
• To the DVD “American Treasures from the New Zealand Film Archive.” 

The Wrap Up
With the National Society of Film Critics sounding off we can now close the book on the critics portion of this year's awards season. I know the BFCA prizes (announcing Thursday the 16th... I'll be in the audience this year!) is technically called "Critics Choice" but it's more of a journalists / TV association since there are a lot of talking heads and the like. It's not strictly critics if you will so I tend to group them mentally on par with the Globes and NBR and AFI as general media organizations.

So the big three broke down like so... only completely unified on Cate Blanchett for Actress and Blue is the Warmest Color for foreign language film but no disagreement (at all) on Best Picture of Best Actor

The Holy Trinity of Film Critics Prizes
American Hustle
Gravity / Her
Llewyn Davis
Coen Bros

Blanchett / Exarcopoulus
supporting actress
supporting actor
Franco / Leto
Stories We Tell
Stories We Tell
Act of Killing / At Berkeley

foreign film
Blue is the Warmest Color
Blue is the Warmest Color
Blue is the Warmest Color
American Hustle
Before Midnight
Before Midnight
Inside Llewyn Davis
Inside Llewyn Davis

What'cha think?

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Reader Comments (39)

How do the three groups differ? Is there any cross over?

Its certainly a very different picture when narrowed like this. But how much influence do you think they have over AMPAS?

(and I really like seeing the runner ups)

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

I swear to god if Jennifer Lawrence wins another damn Oscar the year after she just won...

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

@Philip H - she was infintely better in American Hustle than she was in that glorified rom-com she won for, so a nomination is certain. However, I have a hard time seeing her beat out the much more deserving Nyong'o.

So has Fassbender become a complete afterthought with all these critics groups? I mean I really enjoyed Leto in Dallas Buyer's Club but Fassbender's performance in 12 Years a Slave shook me to my core. He was already robbed of a Oscar nomination for Shame and I'd hate to see the same thing happen here. He seemed like an absolute lock just a few months ago but now I'm not so sure; no one seems to be raving about his performance the way they are Leto's.

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMDA


Supporting Actor:

Daniel Bruhl is gone and we're, maybe, looking at Franco's second nom, considering this second BIG win in a season otherwise overwhelmed with Leto as THE choice for critic group winner.

Lead Actor:

Hanks is down, Oscar Isaac is up. Winner will probably be Bruce Dern, though Chiwetel has a shot, due to being the star of the Best Pic frontrunner.

Supporting Actress:

Honestly, I'd push Oprah down to somewhere between slots five to seven, neck and neck with Sally Hawkins and Octavia Spencer. The other four got nods at both the Globes and the SAG, but she wound up not getting both AND she hasn't WON a single critics prize.

Lead Actress:

I'd say Dench is generous (the heat has kinda fallen on Philomena, based on what I've seen). Realistically, it's Amy Adams. She won't win (that maybe next year, for Big Eyes), but I see the nomination more.

Original Screenplay:

Her or American Hustle is the winner. Nominees unchanged.

Adapted Screenplay:

Philomena, at least, is down and Wolf of Wall Street winds up a nominee. I'd also think August is in more of a danger zone, and that might result in a hard fought single nod for Blue is the Warmest Colour or Short Term 12. However, Before Midnight likely wins, in a landslide. This series has had 18 years of build and is VERY dialogue driven. Frankly, even as an overall Best Picture frontrunner, I don't quite see how a less dialogue driven movie like 12 Years a Slave can exactly cross the finish line here against it with both those factors considered.

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I'm not sure about 12 Years being the Oscar winner anymore. I think American Hustle could easily take it. It has momentum.

Looking at that chart, it's interesting that 12 Years hasn't gotten much recognition from the Big 3.

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

it's interesting to read the reports on how the winners were determined.

while ILD came from fifth place (!) I believe in the first round to win best picture in the end, blanchett and lawrence easily won on the first ballot.

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

The voting process sounded a little screwy and a lot of voters were not in the room. Hmm???

Anyone, only Blanchett and Lawrence (I feel like her being the face of American Hustle diminishes the film as a contender, but that could be me projecting my Amy Adams stanning) were the real Zzzzzz winners. Good for ILD, who had a bad week with the guilds and that rather embarrassing one page ad of a truncated A.O. Scott tweet on the film. I don't think Isaac gets the nod but I hope he can be a surprise nod given Leo is probably on the outs and dang it, I need somebody besides Chiwitel to root for in that category!

I think Delbonnel has replaced Bobbitt as the prime threat against Lubezki and goodness how ironic would it be if he were the first DP for a Coens film to win an Oscar.

I do like that Blue's role in the Foreign film at the critics awards continues to make that Oscar category completely unpredictable. I still think The Great Beauty is the film to lose but it's not like the favorite/best film lost and recent history has the film pretty anti-auteur and unpredictable.

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

Ummmmm... I'm confused at the love for Inside Llewyn Davis's cinematography. I mean, the lighting was often striking, but... award-worthy? Best of the year? REALLY?!?

January 4, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

Totally think Amy Adams is getting in now. Hustle's buzz is through the roof, and it's THE movie of the moment as voting is going on.

But I don't see any chance in hell that Franco gets in. I see him as Kidman from last year. A film that divisive is not academy friendly.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJordan

Don't count Dench out. Its a great perf in a very friendly film.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

What part of Dench's performance in Philomena is great precisely? Or anything beyond proficient? The character's temperament shifts scene to scene (look at her be all naive and Catholic, now let's make her all bawdy cos it's funny, now look how determined she is to find the son, now look how she's totally gonna give up, now let's have her turn on the journalist because that would be more useful for the script) and she does nothing to make it remotely coherent.

It's a middling, borderline bad performance - it doesn't even have any powerhouse Oscar-clip scenes to make me understand the fuss. I'm already furious that she will be nominated but not Delpy, Adams, Gerwig, Louis-Dreyfuss, Exarchopoulos etc etc.

And just for the record, I've had no qualms with any of Dench's previous nominations - even in 2005, I thought hers was the strongest (effortless) performance in a very weak category.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentergoran

All I can say is I'm so happy Blanchett has consistently been crowned Best Actress in all aforementioned, Oprah's out the running (another yay!), and Before Midnight's screenplay accolade.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJans

@Marcelo: Where did you read about the balloting? I'd be curious to follow a link. Thanks!

@Nathaniel: The pages I read (LA Times, I think) had At Berkeley as a runner-up behind Act of Killing for Nonfiction Film, not a co-winner. I'd love a tie in this case, though. Where'd you see that?

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

Volvagia: no way is Daniel Brûhl out just yet, not with nominations from SAG, BFCA and Golden Globes (James Franco has none of these, couldn't even get a Spirit nomination for Spring Breakers), I think the only way he misses out on an Oscar nom is if he doesn't get a BAFTA nod (and given how Rush is pretty popular in Europe, I doubt that's going to happen). He seems pretty safe to me. Tom Hanks also got nominated in all three and more importantly, Captain Phillips looks like a pretty good bet for Best Picture (especially if Greengrass gets in for Best Director, which is a strong possibility, we only need to hear from the DGA), which makes Hanks' nomination a mostly safe bet. Oscar Isaac, I love his performance, but missing SAG does not bode well for him, so I wouldn't count on him showing up. I'm also not seeing Amy Adams (as much as I liked her performance) breaking into that field with those contenders.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRichter Scale

from indiewire:

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

meryl and margo:

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

I saw Llewyn Davis last Friday and loved it, so I'm quite satisfied. Unfortunately, Isaac is likely to be the young hot actor of the season who doesn't make it.

I'm so bored with Cate's prevalence...

I'm curious, why didn't you include the National Board Review in that chart? They had pretty solid choices for best actress in the past.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

@Goran: Dench's performance in Philomena is precise, deceptively straightfoward but often surprising, and always compelling. I was not expecting it at all.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

So happy with Queen Blanchett's regime, performances like this one rarely show around the corner.

Would be nice to see Oscar with an Oscar, too.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

I really hope people are right about Amy Adams maybe sneaking in -- it seems like everyone had their own favorite in American Hustle and for me, she was IT. With a Bradley and Jennifer running 2nd and 3rd.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I am scared with the possibility of Lawrence winning again. She is great in the movie and I love her in everything, but the backlash is gonna be titanic if she wins again. It'll be a Sally Field situation. Nobody will forgive her.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

Cal roth, the world is in love with Jennifer Lawrence. She could poop on the Oscars stage and no one would think less of her. Winning another Academy Award won't do her any harm, though it's totally unnecessary.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAunt Kay

I hope Oprah makes it in. I want her haters to have more reasons to hate. Two competitive Oscar nominations for acting and a Jean Hersholt statuette for humanitarian efforts—aside from Jolie's win and nomination in Best Actress, they can pretty much go for sisters!

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

+20 comments in, and no one has remarked that the name of Orson Welles first professional film was TOO MUCH JOHNSON!? I believe I saw the remake. It was short on plot, but quite good.

Moving on, I love the National Society, even if they're sometimes a bit less offbeat than they used to be. Seeing their voting process, I suspect it's because if you're voting by proxy, and you want your vote to count, you have to lean towards consensus. Nothing against the wins for Blanchett and Lawrence (for real), but it makes sense that the only first-ballot wins are also the only wins typical wins. Once the proxies are eliminated, the voting gets a little more idiosyncratic. Anyway, all love for Llewyn Davis is appreciated.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

I think Christian Bale had the best performance in American Hustle. He transformed himself and carried the film IMO. I hope he gets nominated.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrandz

Peggy Sue -- because they are not film critics. I was trying to compare only the most prominent film critics associations

January 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nick the NSFC's own site has them tied... but it reads like first and second place because they don't say "tie"... and one is under the other. But same vote count with a "1." by both.

January 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

cal roth - yeah, the internet rage will be too much (though I think it's mostly online commenters). I would not be ready for the meltdown of that blogger with the selective activism.

it would be good for j-law to win only to dispel those tiring "harvey bought her the oscar!"... then people would only discredit her saying male voters/critics have a hard-on for her, or that those organizations reward her because they want the press.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

Am I the only one who thinks Lupita didn't have a lot to do (although she was great in what she did) and Jennifer Lawrence should win again (since the best supporting actress of the year, Léa Seydoux, win't get a nomination)?

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commentercal roth

I rewatched 12YAS last night. Its such a beautifully crafted film. I don't know that an American director could have treated the subject with as much objectivity as was shown. And the long, static shots of nature with no scoring which both emphasized the beauty, stillness and boring sameness of the lives of everyone were genius. I found the performances so even. I'm surprised Paulson isn't getting more notice. The words/actions said bitch, but her eyes said sad, lonely and trapped. She was just as much a slave as anyone else with less hope of least the others could be sold to a better life. Her only hope was that either she or Epps would die. Lupita was terrific, but I agree that the role was a little one note.

Lawrence was great in AH (a horribly uneven and disappointing film which could have been wonderful). I still hold out hope for Hawkins to get a nom.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHenry

cal roth, I don't think Lupita had a lot to do, though she was fine. The best performance in that film (by far IMO) is given by Sarah Paulson, but she won't get nominated. Paulson plays a far more difficult character and she gives her a lot of depth. I've actually thought about her a lot since I've seen the film.

My first choice for Supporting Actress would be Sally Hawkins - playing the level-headed, reasonable one against Blanchett's force of nature is harder than it looks - but I think Lawrence is pretty sensational in American Hustle. I never thought she would have had that in her back when I saw Winter's Bone.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

@Paul Outlaw - I'm with you on Dench. I think it's a great performance, and if Blanchett's film was released a year earlier or a year later we'd be talking about a likely victory for Dench. She has come in as runner up in several critics groups voting (Boston most notably), and the box office is already ahead of her nominated Best Actress turns in "Mrs, Brown," "Iris," "Mrs. Henderson Presents," and "Notes on a Scandal." If she wins BAFTA, there could be an upset.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPatryk

I'll never understand all this business of proxy voting. You have ONE job each year if you're a member of this prestigious organization. You can't block out the time to be voting that day?

January 5, 2014 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Finally saw American Hustle. What a letdown. Not nearly as clever, funny or creative as O Russell thinks. Technically, it was clumsy. The whole thing seemed like a rough cut. Should NOT get a Best Pic nom. Proof it fails? It made the 70s feel boring.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

@Patryk: Dench's performance in Mrs. Brown > Iris > Notes on a Scandal >>>>>>Mrs. Henderson Presents (although many would disagree with that ranking). And I'd put Philomena close to

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

God help us if American Hustle wins Best Picture.

And don't write off Dench yet. Remember when Michelle Pfeiffer won virtually every percursor and then Oscar decided to give it to the (IMO better) older Tandy who had never been nommed before?

The 2 actresses I see possibly missing out as Amy Adams - overrated performance.Will they nom her for her cleavage and weird hair? And the brilliant Meryl Streep. Yep - I am sure there are some in the Academy who have had enough of her stealing movies away from the rest of the cast and crew.

And I still think Ejiofor might surprise in the Actor category. Been a while since an African has won this category.... or will he and Elba split votes and Dern get the 'it's time' gong?

I can guarantee that Blue is the warmest colour will NOT win Best Foreign Language film :( - cos France didn't submit it in the first place and I don't think a 3 hour lesbian drama will win over the rightwing conservative oldies in the Academy. Remember the outrage over Brokeback Mountain?

And anyone who thinks the Academy will nom James Franco again after that disastrous hosting stint a few years ago.... na da, zip, never.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

Not really feeling these winners TBH. Especially the Lawrence win. THAT'S who you pick as Supporting Actress of 2013? Did they all just see the movie earlier that day too?

And those Delbonnel wins... IDK. He's a marvelous cinematographer but that movie didn't lend itself to him showing off his true talents. If Lubezki loses again and to a generic cold lighting design like that, it'll be maddening again.

Throwing up @ the idea of American Hustle being the eventual BP winner. That movie was a mess, let's be honest. No one is doing their best work in that, outside of maybe Cooper and the hair/makeup team.

Overall, these are a bit of a letdown. What happened to all their original choices like in years past?

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

Inside Llewyn Davis is a pretty original choice. It has only won at the Gothams. How in the hell is Franco not an original choice?

And some of you Amy/Hustle haters are KILLING me.

January 5, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

^ I'm talking about a movie that's not inside the immediate BP conversation as an original choice. Something like Blue Is The Warmest Color, The Great Beauty, Spring Breakers, Frances Ha or Before Midnight. I guess I should just be thankful it didn't go to Nebraska.

This is not even Franco's first major critic award he's won and he's been building some cool buzz the last month as an inspired alternative choice. It's definitely a subversive pic tho, I'll give them that.

January 6, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark The First

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