Exactly a year ago today, I wrote rather innocently about my chills of excitement from the dawn of the new awards season. The ship has been hovering for some time, but it just came to shore finally in New York. I remember talking about the National Board of Review and their love for A Most Violent Year, Oscar Isaac, and Jessica Chastain, hoping this praise would be repeated. It was not. I also remember Clint Eastwood winning Best Director for American Sniper, not long before the big bad divide of opinion of the movie, hoping the success would not be repeated. It was. I also mentioned, having not seen so many of these movies, that I did not want to get left behind. I feel just the same right now.
I recall that excitement really kicking into gear last year during the New York Film Critics Circle announcements, I did just today exactly what I did last year which is to put whatever it was I was doing – walking, eating, juggling – behind my fixation on the updates on Twitter: #NYFCC. Last year Patricia Arquette and J.K. Simmons set the early, expected pace and became the most obvious Supporting double-act front-runners / certainties in years. The wins in Lead, Timothy Spall and Marion Cotillard, open a different door leading in a different direction, but it would always come back to Julianne Moore (and Michael Keaton at that point). Keaton of course took Best Actor today with the NY critics for Spotlight, a further curve-ball given he has only been talked about in Support thus far. The door that opened here was the already tedious swinging door of category fraud.
The same over-suggestive phrase has befallen Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl) and Rooney Mara (Carol) a couple of moons ago, and that current two-horse Supporting race became temporary as Kristen Stewart won for Clouds of Sils Maria. Note: Don’t try to express any praise and admiration of the rightful success of that generation of actress this season without expecting throw-away comments on category fraud from others. It’s like an annoying boomerang. In the moment I was delighted that these women were competing in abundance, talented young actresses knocking other talented young actresses off their perches. My thought-process was nowhere near indulging in the credibility of the Oscar campaigning methods. But it’s in the post. Bravo to Brie and Saoirse too on that note.
The real flourish though came with the 4 wins for Carol, a film that had a delicate grasp of any kind of contendership. Until now. Like Boyhood and Richard Linklater last time around, Carol and Todd Haynes were considered small-time and perhaps would struggle to keep up with the big guns. I spoke of the movie when it came to Cannes, that the somewhat under-appreciated Haynes is a real solid pick for the Best Director Oscar. Today reassured my somewhat wildcard choice, and I hate predicting this stuff. I tend to predict more with my heart, which is a downfall in this industry game, but it is not a game I intend or expect to win. It still feels euphoric to get some of these wins right, what you want to happen, happens, though I did dwell in similar contentment this time last year. We have a mixed bag again. Let’s see what happens next.
Go check out the full list of winners at Asif’s Blog as he’s been itching to be churning out the posts again.