NSFC falls hard for "Lady Bird"
Saturday, January 6, 2018 at 5:20PM
NATHANIEL R in Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, film critics, precursor awards

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

Article originally appeared on The Film Experience (http://thefilmexperience.net/).
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