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So yes, the headline is that "American Hustle" and "12 Years a Slave" led this morning's Critics's Choice Movie Awards nominations (courtesy of the Broadcast Film Critics Association, of which I am a member). But when you stop and analyze the list, it's worth pointing out that three of "Hustle's" 13 nominations came in the "comedy" categories that were added along with a few other dubious genre fields by the group last year in order to land more high-profile attendees to the annual awards show. "12 Years" had no such padding from a genre bump, so it's really the dominant force here and I expect it to carry through to a win next month as it continues to be the critics' choice region-to-region for the year's best film.
Speaking of those genre fields, I don't get it. "Gravity" is one of the biggest vote-getters of the year (10 nominations) and apparently picked up enough votes for Sandra Bullock in the Best Actress in an Action Movie category. I imagine, then, it would have had enough for Best Action Movie, too, yet it only shows up in Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie. One can only assume some massaging is done when the final tally comes in, or that a great many members have no idea how this or that should be considered. (For instance, "Her" is nominated for Best Picture and Best Director but not in the four-nominee sci-fi field.)
Then again, "Star Trek Into Darkness" received nominations for Best Action Movie and Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie. "World War Z" received nominations for Best Actor in an Action Movie and Best Sci-Fi/Horror Movie. So who can figure out the logic? I don't want to dizzy myself looking through all those categories and finding other such curiosities, I just wish the BFCA would nix them altogether. It has turned them into an amalgam of the People's Choice and the MTV Movie Awards. Though maybe that's the goal.
The majority of the major categories feature six nominees, making the whole list pretty much an Oscar predictions crib sheet. It makes sense that things shake out this broadly each and every year because the BFCA is one of the larger organizations to vote. That's also why the group's choices often mirror the Academy's; large bodies settle in the realm of consensus. So I think few would argue that this list of 10 Best Picture nominees isn't the general consensus 10 at the moment. Save for "Dallas Buyers Club" replacing "Fruitvale Station," it's a mirror of the AFI list, too. "Philomena" could crack it. Or maybe "Lee Daniels' The Butler." Or "August: Osage County." But little else.
(Interesting that the films looking to get in are all part of this year's Weinstein Company stable.)
The only nominations that stand out as interesting are Brie Larson's Best Actress bid for "Short Term 12" and Scarlett Johansson's Best Supporting Actress mention for "Her." But this announcement can reflect a critical darling hue sometimes amid even the general consensus boredom, so neither is particularly shocking.
Only one nomination for "Mud" makes me want to flip the table over, but again, broad group = broad choices. At least it's for Tye Sheridan, in the young actor/actress category.
Worth noting: actors and actresses that have now received nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, Hollywood Foreign Press Association and BFCA include Bruce Dern ("Nebraska"), Chiwetel Ejiofor ("12 Years a Slave"), Tom Hanks ("Captain Phillips"), Matthew McConaughey ("Dallas Buyers Club"), Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine"), Sandra Bullock ("Gravity"), Judi Dench ("Philomena"), Meryl Streep ("August: Osage County"), Emma Thompson ("Saving Mr. Banks"), Barkhad Abdi ("Captain Phillips"), Daniel Brühl ("Rush"), Michael Fassbender ("12 Years a Slave"), Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club"), Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle"), Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave"), Julia Roberts ("August: Osage County") and June Squibb ("Nebraska"). Are they all safe and sound?
Contenders still looking for an angle on the race after these three major announcements have come and gone include Michael B. Jordan ("Fruitvale Station"), Will Forte ("Nebraska"), Jonah Hill ("The Wolf of Wall Street"), Octavia Spencer ("Fruitvale Station") and Margo Martindale ("August: Osage County"). Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar Isaac, Amy Adams and Julie Delpy, meanwhile, are hoping that their comedy notices aren't all the season has in store.
Also part of the announcement is the revelation of this year's host: comedian Aisha Tyler.
What else can be said? Check out the full list of BFCA nominees on the next two pages.
The 19th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards take place on Jan. 16, 2014. That's right, the night of the Academy's nominations announcement. Which of the above nominees will be too embarrassed to leave the house that night?
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