The New York Film Critics Circle was founded way back in 1935 when the Oscars were just 8 years old themselves. In their first year they agreed but disagreed with the NYFCC choosing The Informer and Oscar following suit with a Best Picture nomination for that but the eventual prize to Mutiny on the Bounty. Not much has really changed since. The NYFCC aesthetics aren't anti-Oscar but they're just as likely to go slightly left of field with a more challenging option as their #1 as they are to pre-stamp a future winner.
Here's what they chose this year...
But in the end the top prize went to the musical La La Land. Contrary to what you may have heard from some shocked corners of the internet today this "nothing but the top prize" situation is hardly unprecendented. The same thing happened to United 93 (2006), Return of the King (2003), Mulholland Dr (2001), Saving Private Ryan (1998), Fargo (1996), Quiz Show (1994), The Accident Tourist (1988), Reds (1981), Ordinary People (1980) and presumably several others before that if you look further back.
More on La La Land's awards pull soon.