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NSFC falls hard for "Lady Bird"

by Nathaniel R

The National Society of Film Critics, founded in 1966 and the last important critics group to sign off on the season each year (we like that they wait until they've seen everything unlike some organizations), went all in for Lady Bird today, handing it half of their 8 prizes. That's quite a haul for a high school comedy! Of course the movie is brilliant but other brilliant films of its ilk have been routinely ignored by critics group so this has been a wonderful turn of events this season. Winners and runners up are after the jump...

Picture Lady Bird.
Director: Greta Gerwig for Lady Bird
Paul Thomas Anderson's Phantom Thread and Jordan Peele's Get Out were the runners-up in both categories

The big question now is if Lady Bird has developed enough respect to leap-frog Oscar's typical resistance to youth films / female films / and comedies to get the Director nomination (though a Picture nod seems assured)

Actress Sally Hawkins, for The Shape of Water and Maudie
Saoirse Ronan was the runner up for Lady Bird. And in third place a tie between Cynthia Nixon, A Quiet Passion and Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Actor Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Runners-up: Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread, and Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name

The true buzz winner here is Kaluuya since Oscar voting just began and he hasn't been winning all season. Theoretically he might be vulnerable in such a tight Best Actor field... though we suspect he'll make it given the strength of his film.

Supporting Actress Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird 
Supporting Actor Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
They've been the critical leaders all season and both won in landslides at the NSFC. The distant runner ups in their categories were Lesley Manville Phantom Thread and Allison Janney for I Tonya on the female side and  Michael Stuhlbarg, for all three of his films (Call Me By Your Name, The Shape of Water and The Post) and Sam Rockwell, for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri on the male side of the equation.

Does this mean Dafoe and Metcalf are good for the Oscars? I'm not certain. I still think Janney could easily derail the Metcalf train since they have similar narratives and Janney is the only place voters might feel they can reward I Tonya which has inexplicably devout fans despite its dubious intent and basic construction familiar from countless mockumentaries.

While normally I've found multiple films cited for actors an endearing oddity for film critics groups in this case with Stuhlbarg I don't understand it at all. That only works well if both performances are amazing -- like Hawkins in her two leading roles -- but for Stuhlbarg it makes zero sense. He basically has a cameo in The Post and does anyone think he's as good in Shape as he is in Call Me? Weirdos! (Kidding, to each their own. But the overriding question is serious: why cite all three?) 

Cinematography Roger Deakins, Blade Runner 2049
He won in a total squeaker with Hoyte van Hoytema work on Dunkirk and Alexis Zabe lensing of The Florida Project just barely missing. I still think this is anyone's Oscar
Screenplay Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird
A much more nail-biting win that its triumphs in Picture and Director. It was virtually tied here with Jordan Peele's Get Out (which lost by just one vote). Third runner-up was Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread

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Reader Comments (46)

I love when you have typos. It’s cute.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

"Janney is the only place voters might feel they can reward I Tonya"

Are you really so certain that Margot Robbie can't win Best Actress? Especially now that I Tonya is getting legit Best Picture heat, I'm becoming more and more convinced that Robbie will win it.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJack

a) I kinda love how much you're trying to convince yourself of Lady Bird's oscar vulnerabilities. I get why, though.

b) I thought Stuhlbarg was quite strong in The Shape of Water, actually.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterArkaan

One award for screenplay? (No split for Adapted and Original)?

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarl

I hope to god robbie doesn't win and am really pulling for Manville.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

This awards attention for Daniel Kaluuya is just ridiculous. He was sufficient/fine/good in the film but BEST ACTOR IF THE YEAR?? That’s just a joke.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRich

I still worry Get Out will be the big snub of the season everyone should’ve seen coming due to its genre. I’m worried it’ll only get a screenplay nod and nothing else.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHuh

So amazing that the same three films ran over the non-acting categories in basically the same order. I'd feel way more confident about Kaluuya if the names hovering on the edges weren't so much bigger than his. But hey, hasn't stopped him from showing up everywhere else.

@Jack - I'm with you. I'd be surprised if Janney actually pulled a Training Day on Metcalf, it's not impossible but doesn't look probable either. If I,Tonya has the room to represent anywhere it may be with Robbie. Then again, what about Editing? And how cool would it be if all five Actress nominated films were represented in Picture too!

@Nathaniel - You said a great film gets overlooked every year. Are we overestimating Phantom Thread? Really feels like it could pull a 20th Century Women and only get one or two nods.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

LAST MINUTE: I went to the imdb site to look at Stuhlbarg's filmography (I did not know he was also in The Post and in The Shape of Water) and I see that an upcoming project is the SEQUEL TO CALL ME BY YOUR NAME!!!!!!!! Say what????? Same director and, so far, Stuhlbarg, his "wife" and another actress listed in the cast. The listed writer is the novel's author.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMarcos

Nice. I wanted Call Me By Your Name to win to strenght its award's narrative. But I'm fine with Lady Bird.

I still think it's Get Out vs Lady Bird, with The Shape of Water receiving multiple awards and certainly tresspassing Nolan for Director bc del Toro is so much loved by his peers more than Nolan is (who has received the cold shoulder before)

I'm fine with Kaluuya, too. I don't think his performanced was THAT easy to pull off. Some people still thinks genre movies are overrated. So they might think their actors are, too.
Still thinks Chalamet is sublime from what I've seen so far.

I completeley agree with you about the mockumentary tropes. It's about the laziest of subgenres I come to think about. I, Tonya, to make matters worst, it's completely supportive of its abuses in not that farcical ways. It's mindnumbing.

I don't get AT ALL the love for Rockwell, even though I should have voted for him in "The assasination of Jesse James..." with my eyes blinded. His character is the most problematic for me since he's the punchbag for the lamest jokes of Billboards (practically, all of them) and the representation of the illiterate, redneck American who (sort of) has a redemption by Mc Donut's heavy hand of the script. I'm happy Stuhlbarg received that second mention. Hope he sneaks in, somehow.

I don't think Greta gave the best directorial hand on ther film. I think that's pushing a bit. Is she a better director than, say, Terence Davis this year?

Sometimes, I have problems with critics trying to overcompensate for something. This year, you might think is women and their representation in Hollywood and at large (The Clinton effect?) Don't get me wrong, I love her as an actress and screenwriter. She didn't impressed me more than Dee Rees, who arguably had a much tougher task. Even if Mudbound it's not that formidable. Just being fair.

I hope, Nat, you have all of this in mind when you cast you vote for the Critics Choice. Not going to lie and say I would be ecstatic your group call CBYN as the Best Picture.

Not just because it would be deserved (it is) but to let things running afoul about the pressumed "frontrunner".

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Just saw the sensational " I, Tonya" now that is a great movie - Oscar nominations all around please

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

Robbie's a producer in the movie and she's been hitting the campaign trail hard. She is a zillion times more fuckable than anyone else nominated this year, and the Academy has liked some key projects she was in before (Wolf of Wall Street, where she was perceived as both sex in a stick and a revelation, The Big Short, sure she has a small cameo, but naked in a bubble bath, you bet voters remember that, and even Suicide Squad, again playing very sexy and the movie's MVP). Now she gets a perfect combo of cast against type, deglam and playing a notorious real person.

If she beats Ronan at the Globes, all bets are off. Especially with the main contender (McDormand) being a past winner who could not give two cents of a fuck about awards and campaigning.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

I must add also that it bodes pretty terribly for Ronan that she can't manage to win Actress even with an awards body that loved her movie so much it went for it in Picture, Director and Screenplay.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Lady Carmen Sandiego.

Wow. You Call Things By Their Name, don't you?

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

I don't think Oldman can really be called a "lock" anymore. He's not really "won" any critics group, and the film itself isn't really being received in a way to push him over the edge. I'd say:

1. Timothee Chalamet
2. Daniel Kaluuya
3. James Franco
4. Tom Hanks
5. Daniel Day-Lewis
6. Gary Oldman (Yes, really. There is some support for him personally, but what is there is universally...mild, with NO critics group WINS, and major support for the film overall (which even Day-Lewis seems to have more of) isn't there either. And the probable cause? John Lithgow in The Crown, crippling Darkest Hour with a milder strain of "Infamous Syndrome." Which I called MONTHS ago, but no one bought it.)

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia


If THAT'S the final tally of the Oscars I should get a peach, pronto:))

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Nathaniel - hear me out. Lady Bird is going to get several nominations. Generally speaking, when a film has a lot of heat, a lot of love, and scores a lot of nominations, The Academy feels that it's incumbent upon them not to shut it out (call this The Arquette Factor, if you want.) Here's where Lady Bird's prospects stand right now, in terms of where it can manage a win: Picture and Director feel like a pipe dream. Screenplay is not out of the question, but it has to be considered the dark horse against Get Out. Lead Actress is possible, but also difficult, given who she's up against. I don't expect it to have any showing in the tech categories. So...if the film is going to get a win, any win, anywhere, it has to be Supporting Actress. A vote for Metcalfe is a vote for Lady Bird. Sure, I Tonya is popular, but not nearly AS popular - I know some people think it's on track for Picture, Director and Screenplay nominations, but I'm not among them. And so, Janney love aside, I think Metcalfe has this bagged. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong...but I'm not wrong.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJosh R

I liked Get Out, but it's utterly bizarre that Daniel Kaluuya is its sole winner. Particularly in comparison to Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name (which I'm surprised that film didn't do well here).

I'm really rooting for Greta Gerwig. Lady Bird was so confidently directed with such a specific, original artistic vision. I hope she makes it with Oscar. The only directors to win here at NSFC and not get Oscar-nominated is The Coen Brothers for Inside Llewyn Davis and Todd Haynes for Carol (sigh).

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

I should say the directors *this decade* to win here at NSFC and not be Oscar-nominated.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAaron

Yes Carmen Sandiego - Robbie is hot- but she is also gives a fearless all out performance as Tonya Harding- yes I loved everything about this movie- direction, script, cast and that killer soundtrack- like Tonya herself would say- Fuck the critics I'm going for the Gold

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon

Sigh, I usually love reading the comments along with the posts on this site but the last two posts have been rough. Lots of unjustified bile for: a black actress, a white woman writer-director, and a black actor. The world we live in now.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commentercatbaskets

Someone tweeted that Hopkins is supporting in The Silence of the Lambs and Mark Harris agreed, so proceed to burn your copy of Pictures at a Revolution.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy

The Kaluuya win is ridiculous.
I would riot if Oldman or at least Chalamet doesn't win.
The only way to justify Blade Runner 2049 is for it to finally get Roger Deakins an Oscar.
Phantom Thread seems to have a great number of supporters.
Still thinking Robbie and Janney could pull off an upset.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCraver

God, I'm shocked by how many people are turned of by Kaluuya's performance? He holds the entire film together, and it works so well because he is SO good. I mean the hypnosis scene is one of the best pieces of acting all year? Definitely a deserving winner IMO.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

You left out Graduation winning Best Foreign Language Film and Faces Places winning Best Documentary (and runner-up for Foreign Film). I bring this up especially because I saw Graduation early in the year, and even though it's in my personal Top 10, it seemed to have sunk without a trace. I'm downright thrilled to be proven wrong, and hope this award will encourage a few people to seek it out. It's a fantastic film. As is Faces Places, of course.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s

@Andrew - Yes! Kaluuya's not in my five, but the film just wouldn't work without him holding it together. No victor at the NSFC had so many negative tweets in response, which is kinda wild since this is basically the only award he's won. People sniped at Metcalf and Dafoe being picked over other candidates, but they weren't slammed like this. Fine if others find more to love with different performances, but what is there to hate?

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterNick T

Also, it's about effin' time that Sally Hawkins be recognized for her exqisite performance in Maudie, the best performance of the year by an actress (or an actor, come to think of it). Thank you NSFC.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s

Yes, Kaluuya was excellent in Get Out, he had to cry in close up for almost ten seconds. Chalamet did it for four minutes.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterhepwa

@hepwa a good performance shouldn't get its merit on tear count.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew

I do think that Allison Janney is well liked, and has probably worked with, all of Hollywood, and might have an "in" that way. I just want to keep it a mix up.

January 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Wow, NSFC really went gaga over Lady Bird!

Best Actress - I disagreed tt Robbie will o/take Ronan, I, Tonya maybe gettin alotsa traction lately, but aside fr Janney; Robbie din really pick up much critic love. She won the recent Australian Academy most likely bcos she's a fellow Aussie.
If there is one takeaway, its the rising stock for Hawkins, she's is getting alotsa critic's luv lately, more so than Ronan & McDormand combined!

Best Actor - Kaluuya's win seems more like a compensation for Get Out losing Best Pic, Dir & Screenplay...all by one vote (pic - two votes)!
If the academy goes wild over Get Out which I tink it will, Kaluuya will get nom on the luvs for Get Out & tt means sry, Hanks...

Best Supp - Dafoe & Metcafe - They r the Simmons/Arquette 2014 combo...enuff said..but I'm glad tt Manville finally rec'v some critical love!! :) who kno she might b the surprise nominee (fingers X)

Best Pic, Dir & Screenplay - It seems at this point Lady Bird will get nom in all three categories (yes...even Director). the race for Best Pic is shaping up to be Get Out/Lady Bird/Shape of Water & Org Screenplay, Gerwig/ the dice falls, we will see in the nex few weeks

The losers - The biggest loser here is not Call me by my name, but Phantom Thread, who's the runner-ups in FOUR major categories...& Oldman...He really dun get a break fr the major critics I guess they r all tired of prosthetic acting

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterClaran

Geez the CMBYN stans are obnoxious. I’m happy for Kaluuya. A well deserved recognition.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJess

Stuhlbarg is seriously not that good in CMBYN. His speech is nice and all, but as a gay man, no connection at all with any part of his character in that movie. Or the movie to be honest.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPablo

Volvagia: what? Oldman has won the MOST critics' groups.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJonathan

Oldman has won several of the minor critics and has been on a strong campaign to rehab his image with voters (according to Goldderby and AwardsWatch). He has said disparaging things about the Globes in the past and has given special attention to them to make up for it (hence this being his first nom).

He is in that Keaton place of being hated by many players in Hollywood, but, unlike Keaton, has campaigned hard and been affable to voters to bridge past resentments. Keaton also had the challenge of Eddie Redmayne, who simultaneously had the baitiest role in Best Actor since The Pride of the Yankees and was the thirstiest person to vie for an Oscar since Sally Kirkland. Chalamet seems shier than that and has a much more standard role.

The televised awards will tell if Oldman's got it or not. He can Sandra Bullock his way to the Oscar if he wins Globe and SAG.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

Oldman has won several of the minor critics and has been on a strong campaign to rehab his image with voters (according to Goldderby and AwardsWatch). He has said disparaging things about the Globes in the past and has given special attention to them to make up for it (hence this being his first nom).

He is in that Keaton place of being hated by many players in Hollywood, but, unlike Keaton, has campaigned hard and been affable to voters to bridge past resentments. Keaton also had the challenge of Eddie Redmayne, who simultaneously had the baitiest role in Best Actor since The Pride of the Yankees and was the thirstiest person to vie for an Oscar since Sally Kirkland. Chalamet seems shier than that and has a much more standard role.

The televised awards will tell if Oldman's got it or not. He can Sandra Bullock his way to the Oscar if he wins Globe and SAG.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterCarmen Sandiego

I was actually impressed by Stuhlbarg quite a bit in The Shape of Water, but Call Me By Your Name is a much better performance. If you can honor great work, why acknowledge good? This is no Alicia Vikander picking up awards/runner-up slots for the one-two punch of Ex Machina and the Danish Girl. This is the voters were really split and the category was widely separated enough that they just acknowledged Stuhlbarg getting so many votes among three different films.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRobert G

"Sometimes, I have problems with critics trying to overcompensate for something. This year, you might think is women and their representation in Hollywood and at large (The Clinton effect?)"

Or maybe they just have different taste than you.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I'm a big fan of horror thrillers and "Get Out" is a very good film- specially the screenplay - but no so sure it reaches the level of award worthy level in the other departments. It's not "Silence of the Lambs"

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterjaragon


I like Lady Bird. You can't neglect the "zeitgeist" either.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

chofer, do you think that Call Me By Your Name isn't part of the "zeitgeist"? Look at the awards for Timothee Chalamet over Gary Oldman. No one expected Chalamet to surpass him and yet he did. He may even win the Oscar.

I think CMBYN is a beautifully made film, but it does have several flaws (the main character's treatment of his girlfriend presented me from sympathizing with him, and the parents are not well-written - I think the speech at the end comes out of nowhere, in contrast to, say, Arquette's big scene in Boyhood). The critics agree with me; they prefer Lady Bird.

This happens. Sometimes the critics have different taste from you. It happens with my favorite film nearly every year. You don't have to look for political justifications for it.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne


Read my post above. I know tastes are tastes. I really Like Lady Bird. I'm just not sure the directorial hand of Gerwig is on par with his brillant screenplay and effortless way with dialogues (Linlater-like good!) But that's just me. I'm not imposing my tastes on everybody!

About CMBYN. I'm aware the girlfriend might be "a problem". But as a gay man who started dated them long time ago, I can assure you there is so much truth about it... The heart wants whay it wants. And when you are infatuated out of a sudden, you easily neglect the feelings of others. We can't blame a 17 year-old for being impulsive, restless and totally unsure of what he is. It comes a time when you hurt a girl who loves you. That is depicted pretty well in the film. Even when Elio knows he'll have a midnight encounter with Oliver, his selfishness doesn't stop him to use Marzia as a de facto "experiment with sex" in preparation for the Bid Deal. Let's not forget the boy is flawed as it is precocios with aother things, but he knows nothing "about the things that matters".
That put his girlfriend in a very uncomfortable place. But the film shows this naturally and non-judgmental. I can relate to that because it happened to me. There is truth (of the most heartbreaken kind) in that. It also happens that Marzia is wise beyond her years, too. And she finally forgives him. She's more mature in "the things that matters" than Elio. The movie depicts that really up-front.
About the parents. I disagree. Especially the father. It doesn't come out of nowhere since his father makes clearly a confession to his son he was there when he started dating his wife. I think that's REALLY bold! And the film is not hiding at all both of his parents are aware of their relationship. So much they support his son to make the trip to Bergamo with Oliver; even knowing beforhand the consequences of that. Notice, too, that before the triip, they personally invite Marzia and Oliver's fling to their house "to have a conversation". They know what is at stake and take action on that!
What Elio's mother doesn't know, is that his husband HAD a gay fling. That's the beauty of the last scene. That's why his father CAN relate.

About zeitgeist I meant that this year in Hollywood was news to me that women took a stand on harassment at work; that three of the box office champions in America had women protagonists and that there was countless articles about how women were taking charge of matters in the industry. I just read the news. So it comes naturally to me that the industry at large, not only critics, were eager to champion a woman director, who also happens to write her on screenplay (Katryn Bigelow's Detroit bombed at BO and was not that well received, and that's a shame since I like the film a lot) so that fit naturally in the narrative. I didn't mean as a political statement, either. Although I think it is. But didn't meant it as pejorative at all. They've just found a really good film directed by a woman and that fits naturally in the scheme of things. So they're going for it.

Let me tell you that if it wins everything from now on, it will very fine by me. Not bc it is a woman's film. It's just a very good one regardless of genre.

In spite of my fovourites this awards season being Get Out and CMBYN, that shouldn't concern anyone. It certainly won't critics or voters in The Academy. These are tastes, after all.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Sorry everyone for the massive spoilers of CMBYN.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterchofer

Geez, the anti-CMBYN haters are obnoxious.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterhepwa

Just as obnoxious as the ones who love CMBYN, It's just that type of movie.

Cannot wait for the new awards season when we can finally put all of this behind us and watch our favorites without the pissing contests.

January 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterManny

Im guessing that people look at the get out poster and think that Daniel's crying was some big deal as opposed to the rest of his acting in that scene. That hypnotism scene would've been great acting even without the crying.
Daniel was excellent as the put upon black man forced to suffer the indignities heaped upon him in silence.

January 8, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterZo

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