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New York Film Critic Circle's Best of 2017

by Nathaniel R

Founded in 1935 the New York Film Critics Circle remains one of the two most important film critics organizations in the country (the other being the Los Angeles Film Critics Association). They might not have the influencing power they once had when there weren't 30+ similar organizations but people still hear them out each year before the "critics named this the best" accolades start sounding like ambient noise. Last year they were heavy on Oscar frontrunners or presumed runners up in virtually every single category. Will their winners be such Oscar favorites this year. Time will tell.

It was quite a day for A24 with two of their films being the only multiple winners: Lady Bird (Best Picture and Best Actress) and The Florida Project (Best Director and Best Supporting Actor).  Complete list of winners including interesting statistics follow after the jump...

Picture LADY BIRD by Greta Gerwig 

Last year they honored La La Land though Moonlight won the most of their prizes. This year Lady Bird and Florida Project, both A24 films, are the only films to win more than one prize with two each. Oscar has only given Best Picture once to a film directed by a woman (Kathryn Bigelow's The Hurt Locker) but NYFCC has done it thrice now: Lady Bird (Gerwig) and The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty (both Bigelow). 

Director Sean Baker for THE FLORIDA PROJECT 

Last year they went Barry Jenkins for Moonlight. Their winners in this category aren't always Oscar nominated unfortunately (recent great choices that weren't include Todd Haynes for Carol and Kathryn Bigelow for Zero Dark Thirty) since Baker is such a surprising / smart choice given how difficult this project must have been to pull off. 

Screenplay Paul Thomas Anderson for PHANTOM THREAD 

Last year they went with Kenneth Lonergan for Manchester by the Sea. Incredibly this is P.T. Anderson's first prize with NYFCC since he didn't win their first film, director or screenplay prizes in the past.

Actress Saoirse Ronan for LADY BIRD 

Last year Isabelle Huppert took this prize for both Elle & Things to Come. Saoirse Ronan is 23 but she already won this prize at only 21 for Brooklyn (2015). But she is not the youngest ever winner of NYFCC Best Actress. That would be Isabelle Adjani for The Story of Adele H (1975) who was 20 years old. Which other actresses have won Best Actress twice or more from NYFCC? Only true legends. They are:

4 times
Meryl Streep (1982, 1988, 2009, 2011)
3 times
Julie Christie (1965, 1997, 2007)
Sissy Spacek (1980, 1986, 2001)
Joanne Woodward (1968, 1973, 1990)
Liv Ullman (1972, 1974, 1976)
Ingrid Bergman (1945, 1956, 1978)
2 times
Saoirse Ronan (2015, 2017)
Holly Hunter (1987, 1993)
Jane Fonda (1969, 1971)
Deborah Kerr (1957, 1960)
Audrey Hepburn (1953, 1959)
Olivia de Havilland (1948, 1949)
Vivien Leigh (1939, 1951)
Greta Garbo (1935, 1937)

Actor Timothée Chalamet for CALL ME BY YOUR NAME 

The youngest male winner ever for NYFCC in this category. The record was previously held by Albert Finney in Tom Jones (1963) who won when he was 27. Related post: Youngest Best Actor Nominees in Oscar History. Last year the prize went to Casey Affleck for Manchester by the Sea

Supporting Actress Tiffany Haddish for GIRLS TRIP 

Last year they chose Michelle Williams for multiple films. There aren't a lot of obvious patterns in their voting for this particular award. Their last three winners were Oscar nominated (Michelle Williams), Oscar ignored (Kristen Stewart), and Oscar winning (Patricia Arquette) and it tends to hop around like that but this is a fun get for Haddish, especially since they almost never go for purely comic performances in this category... (i.e. not dramedic work) the last was Joan Cusack in In & Out (1997)

Supporting Actor Willem Dafoe for THE FLORIDA PROJECT

Last year the winner was Mahershala Ali for Moonlight. Their last four winners in this category also won the Oscar. But their winners sometimes go on to become the shocking snubbee (like, oh, Albert Brooks in Drive, Dennis Quaid in Far From Heaven, or John Malkovich in Being John Malkovich)

Cinematographer Rachel Morrison for MUDBOUND

Unless I have my genders wrong on a couple of Asian DPs years ago who won this marks the first time they've ever awarded a female DP. Oscar has yet to even nominate a woman in this category. Last year's NYFCC winner was James Laxton for Moonlight. Aside from an unusual three year stretch 2006-2008 (Pan's Labyrinth, There Will Be Blood, Slumdog Millionaire), their winner almost never wins the Oscar. 


Animated Film COCO by Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina

The NYFCC started their animated feature category one year before Oscar started theirs with Chicken Run (2000) as their first winner. So it's an easy line-up comparison. In the entire history of that Oscar category the Academy has agreed with the New York critics 6 of 15 times. But the film's NYFCC chose have always gone on to be Oscar-nominated except for The Lego Movie (2014).

Non-Fiction Film FACES PLACES by Agnes Varda & Jr

It's surprising but wonderful how many prizes this "light" documentary has been winning since usually awards bodies prefer super heavy documentaries for prizes. At any rate I'm just glad we aren't in a year where people are pretending that TV miniseries like OJ Made in America, which won NYFCC & Oscar last year, are feature films.

Foreign Language Film
 BPM (BEATS PER MINUTE) by Robin Campillo 

 The last French film to win was Blue is the Warmest Color (2013). Last year they chose Toni Erdmann.Only five of their winners in the past 20 years have gone on to win the Oscar. Lately they've been mostly choosing Oscar submitted foreign films but that was less common in the past.

First Film GET OUT by Jordan Peele

We wonder if Greta Gerwig was declared ineligible due to co-directing Nights and Weekends (2008)? It took them 45 minutes to announce this first prize. Last year it was a tie between Edge of Seventeen and Krisha.

Special Award Critic Molly Haskell

This year's upcoming ceremony will be dedicated to the late film critic Richard Shickel. 

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Reader Comments (64)

Yay, for the "BPM" win! I can't believe viewership for this great film has been so low.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

So happy Get Out is an awards contender.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermikenewq

WHOA!!! Tiffany Haddish, Best Supporting Actress!!

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

It's cool that we're finally seeing a female winner for Cinematography, but man I wish it was for someone I felt deserved it more. Morrison's work here is so dour and repetitive, and I think it gets lost watching it on your computer screen (and considering that's Netflix's business model, I don't feel bad saying that about it compared to how I'd complain about such a comment made toward a film that went through a traditional theater run).

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Do the nyfcc read this blog.Haddish got some love a few weeks ago right here.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

Omg yaaas Tiffany

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

The the New York Film Critics Circle generally displays far more adventurous taste than the Academy. I haven't even seen Girls Trip but delighted that they awarded Tiffany Haddish. Comedy is so hard to get right!

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRob

'98 Lisa Kudrow, The Opposite of Sex
'99 Catherine Keener, Being John Malkovich
'08 Penelope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona

were also comedic Supporting Actresses who won NYFCC

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEric

NYFCC famously went for Cameron Diaz in Best Actress for There's Something About Mary in 1998, so they sometimes go for provocative and raunchy, at least when the performance/film hits the cultural zeitgeist.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron


Those were "dramedy's".... Girls Trip is solely comedic.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

Timothee Chalamet wins actor! Woohoo! I think he's got a good shot if voters think Gary Oldman's performance maybe borders more towards impersonation than acting.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Eric -- what David said. I meant a role that was purely comic... no dramatic heft. I love Haddish in that movie but the closest comparison is definitely Cusack.

November 30, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Yaaay Saoirse Ronan!!!

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterEric

And Saoirse! I love the winners this year. It would be awesome if Ronan and Chalamet win the Oscars and have two great young actors representing their generation. One can only dream.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul


Wouldn't that be awesome?? So excited for those 2... Timothée & Saiorse are unbelievably talented young actors!

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

Raul - I would LOVE that! I love all these winners, to be honest.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterBushwick

I love these acting choices!

I want Saoirse to win the Oscar so bad...I'm gonna be really disappointed if it doesn't happen lol.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Phantom Thread wins screenplay - have we all been underestimating it? This is its second win in this category.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Aaron they're attempting to give PTA his consolation prize where writer-director auteurs who'll forever be denied Oscars for directing get their Oscars for writing.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

That list of actresses that includes Saoirse is dazzling. What an honor for her to be in their company! I mean Garbo and Leigh? Wowza.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

Happy with the acting nods.

@/3rtful Yeah, yeah, you know it all!

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commentergrrr

I think Saoirse Ronan is terrific in Lady Bird, but am slightly amused by how utterly besotted NYFCC seems to be with her....she's the Liv Ullmann of the aughts!

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJosh R

That supporting actress mention for Haddish is HUGE. She actually might ride a critical wave of accolades to an Oscar nomination, and I'm not upset about that.

And yay to the critics for keeping alive Get Out's Oscar prospects.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterTroy H.

They're taking their time with the last few awards. The acting awards I guess were pretty decisive but there must be a lot of debate for director and film.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Whoa, Sean Baker! Big surprise! I would have loved for Greta Gerwig or Luca Guadagnino to win, but Baker is a singular talent. Good way to reward him for his work.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

I am really starting to believe that Ronan is going to be our Best Actress winner. Remember that huge ovation she got during the Best Actress presentation two years ago?

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMichael R

Lady Bird! It's my second favorite after Call Me By Your Name, so I'll take it. I was hoping some love would be shown for "Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri." I wonder if it factored at all in some of the categories.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul

Troy H. -- As much as I want that, I'm also afraid that this award will be a one-and-done situation for her. I hope not! I hope some momentum builds around her.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

Is it Ronan vs Streep.Ronan has got to enter your top 5 now Nat.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk


November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve_Man

Do we know if there were runner ups listed? Either official (like LA) or unofficial from people in the room?

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood


For some reason I imagined Harris Dickinson winning over Timothee Chalamet.

The pull of extended wordless close-ups is pretty undeniable. ;)

I have more than my share of problems with his Elio but hey, what a dream team of mostly unexpected wins!

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterManny

These are fantastic all around. Chalamet and Ronan are becoming nomination locks, and even both seem to have win potential.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterjames14

Wow, those are some awesome picks. The one for Tiffany Haddish is a major surprise but I champion that. I like it when critics association go for something totally different and bring some exposure to a film or an actress that many don't know about.

I prefer these prizes than the Oscars.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterthevoid99

Picture: Lady Bird.
Director: Sean Baker, The Florida Project
Actress: Saorise Ronan, Lady Bird.
Actor: Timothee Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
Supporting Actress: Tiffany Haddish, Girls Trip. Okay. I didn't love Haddish, but I can at least understand it. It was a good "fun" performance, if nothing else. (Note: My personal choice of winner is definitely ineligible, because it's Jennifer Tilly in Cult of Chucky.)
Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project. If he happens with Oscar? FINALLY. Of his field, he should have won the year Michael Caine did.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I prefer CMBYN over Lady Bird but this is a fantastic list. Really happy for Chalamet, BPM, Faces Places, Sean Baker!.... A lot of my favourite films are here.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJoseph

I think Willem Dafoe is a strong frontrunner for supporting actor. It's a terrific performance, he's multi-nominated, and he's had a long career. It would both honor the performance and the career of a reliably good actor.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterRaul


You STILL stubbornly hold Judi Dench in that predictions? Or having second thoughts about Ronan now?

Same goes with Darkest Hour. I'd rather fall flat in my face and be wrong than pretend Harvey Weinstein is fine and the The Theory of Evrything-kind of film is still surefire Oscar material and that Boone Isaacs violent change of demographics on the voters didn't change a thing.

It did: It's called Moonlight.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Raul - BPM hasn't exactly had great distribution, for some reason. It barely played Chicago for one week and since it's such a small film with no (American) stars, there's barely been any marketing or coverage.

Cofer - "violent"? That's an...interesting...choice of words.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

DJDeeJay: Well, violent in the sense of "violently convulsing", not necessarily actual bloodshed.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

Volvagia - yes, I'm aware it wasn't meant literally.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

This is goddamn wonderful!

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy


Sure. But It meant to be a compliment. With the Academy, sometimes ti takes a Bastille down to make changes. They're the Cinematic eqyuvalent to the Pope's Vatican. You want significant changes? You tear them down or open up the floorgates. Whatever fits best. I stand by the changes.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Chofer - Gotcha. I couldn't quite tell what your intention was, as that word choice could be read a number of ways (not including literally, I assumed you never meant that as that makes no sense). I like the changes, too.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

I suspect Haddish makes the Oscar cut now. Like Cusack, she may miss at one of GG/SAG. But I feel far more confident predicting her than say, Melissa Leo at this point.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Carden


Exactly. And don't you think Nat picking Dame Dench in Victoria and Abdul it's sooo 90's, early Aughts Oscar-y? Not to mention I still find Oldman exaggerately overacted in that one. And I like him.

Phrostetics and heavy makeup in biopics are so passé!:))

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Chofer - while I think it's a mistake to not include Ronan, let's remember the overall demographics of that Academy haven't changed all THAT much, if you look purely at the numbers. It's still pretty old, male and white. I don't know that Dench will get in the top 5 but that films has been popular with the older demographic so she still is a contender.

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDJDeeJay

Olivia de Havilland also won 2 NYFCC Best Actress awards (both in a row, 1948 and 1949).

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterIgor

Chofer -- i'll admit i dont understand what you were getting at there at all -- not sure how Weinstein relates to any of this so no film he is involved with is in the Oscar discussion this year. Not even his own release Wind River which has cut all ties and rearranged even its financial contractual stuff so that it's not longer a Weinstein product. (but yes i'll be changing my saoirse prediction after this week)

i do think it's really amusing how violently/tumultously upset people get with each announcement as if everyone should change their predictions every day and with each single announcement. I am not that much of a hysteric and often find it hilarious on the internet. One award (like the NBR yesterday) changes nothing. Multiple awards do change things. Yesterday everyone was all MERYL STREEP AND THE POST IS WINNING WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOUT and today suddenly everyone is all SAOIRSE RONAN IS WINNING WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU and last week it was MARGOT ROBBIE IS WINNING WHATS WRONG WITH YOU.

people really need to chill. Oscar voters dont even begin voting for another month.

November 30, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

As one of the people who agreed with Nathaniel's trepidation on Ronan, I admit she looks more likely than ever. But I still think Dench is getting in. My question goes back to who misses out of those 6 top ladies. Possibly Hawkins? Even Robbie?

November 30, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterSteve_Man

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