Netflix and native New Yorkers were responsible for the best of filmmaking in 2019, according to the prestigious New York Film Critics Circle.
For the second year in a row, the NYFCC has named Netflix’s big epic Oscar contender as the year’s Best Film. In 2018 that was Roma; for 2019, it’s Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman. This is the second Awards Season win for the mob epic, which was also named Best Film by the National Board of Review.
In the ongoing debate between theatrical and streaming (and what constitutes “a movie”), for New York critics, it seems, it’s the work that’s paramount, not the platform. Even so, the increasing embrace by Netflix to mount theatrical-exclusive runs for their Awards Season contenders must have gone a long way with this group of high art voters.
Netflix and New York also saw citations in the Best Supporting Actress category where Laura Dern won for Marriage Story (partially set in NYC, from NY writer / director Noah Baumbach) as well as for her turn as Marmee in Sony’s adaptation of Little Women (from New York-based director — and Baumbach spouse — Greta Gerwig). Netflix took two more prizes as well: Best Animated Feature — the disembodied fable I Lost My Body — and Best First Film, the drama Atlantics. Both French-language movies recently debuted on the streamer.
New York was also featured in the Best Director category, where brother-duo upstarts Benny and Josh Safdie won for their high-octane NYC set Adam Sandler drama Uncut Gems. It’s a great moment of awards recognition for the Safdies who have quickly ascended as being counted among the most exciting risk-takers working today.
The org’s biggest Oscar boost, however, went to Lupita Nyong’o. She was named Best Actress for her terrifying / heartbreaking dual turn in Jordan Peele‘s class-driven horror movie Us. Nyong’o has been in the mix of awards prognostication chatter but largely on the periphery; now with this NYFCC citation, Nyong’o should find herself back in the center of the conversation as a major contender — and likely nominee.
Also helped was Best Actor winner Antonio Banderas for Pain and Glory, who won the same prize at the Cannes Film Festival. His performance as writer/director Pedro Almodóvar‘s surrogate in this semi-autobiographical character study of a filmmaker reflecting on his career and life. Joe Pesci took Best Supporting Actor for his understated comeback in The Irishman ,and Quentin Tarantino took the umpteenth Best Screenplay prize of his career for Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.
The NYFCC ignored more popular fare, including Joker and Knives Out, nor did they go for 1917, the Sam Mendes WWI epic that has received high praise at early industry screenings, or the Fox News scandal expose Bombshell. Those two Oscar hopefuls open later in December.
The NYFCC, with its occasionally iconoclastic bent, is spotty as an Oscar predictor. Last year, its Best Film choice Roma was a big Oscar player, but its choices for Actor and Actress weren’t even nominated. In 2017, the NYFCC showed love for Lady Bird and The Florida Project; the former went on to major Academy Award nominations including Best Picture (but no wins) while the latter had to settle for one nomination (Willem Dafoe, Best Supporting Actor). Back in 2015, the NYFCC chose Carol as Best Film and tabbed its helmer Todd Haynes for Best Director. Neither went on to receive nominations in their respective categories.
NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE
2019 Film Awards
Best Film: The Irishman
Best Director: Benny and Josh Safdie, Uncut Gems
Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, Us
Best Actor: Antonio Banderas, Pain and Glory
Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, Marriage Story and Little Women
Best Supporting Actor: Joe Pesci, The Irishman
Best Screenplay: Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood, Quentin Tarantino
Best Animated Feature: I Lost My Body, dir. Jérémy Clapin
Best First Film: Atlantics, dir. Mati Diop
Best Foreign Language Film: Parasite, Poland, dir. Bong Joon-ho
Best Non-Fiction Film: Honeyland, dirs. Tamara Kotevska, Ljubomir Stefanov
Best Cinematography: Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Claire Mathon
Special Award: IndieCollect, for their efforts to “save American independent films from the risk of extinction” and to advocate for “the urgent need to preserve our collective body of work.”
Special Award: Randy Newman, film composer
Founded in 1935, the organization’s membership includes critics from daily newspapers, weekly newspapers, magazines and qualifying online general-interest publications.
The awards will be handed out in New York in January.
Click on links below for other Critics Group Awards and Guild Nominees that have been announced so far for the 2019 / 20 season:
Screen Actors Guild Award Winners
Producers Guild of America Winners
Academy Award Nominations
Critics’ Choice Awards Winners
Directors Guild of America Nominations
Writers Guild of America Nominations
Golden Globe Winners
National Society of Film Critics
Dallas-Forth Worth Film Critics Association
Boston Society of Film Critics
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle
Los Angeles Film Critics Association
AFI American Film Institute Awards
National Board of Review
Atlanta Film Critics Circle