No one needs awards coverage this deep
With the first wave of precursor announcements behind us, where do we stand?
The New York Film Critics Circle went with "American Hustle" after being gridlocked over whether to choose that film as 2013's Best Picture or "12 Years a Slave." "12 Years" came back around with the first wave of regional critics notices, taking Best Picture from the Boston Society of Film Critics and winning huge with the online Beantown crowd, among others. The Los Angeles Film Critics Association answered their east coast brethren by completely ignoring "Hustle" and finding its own unsettled gridlock between "Gravity" and "Her" for the year's top honor, ending in a tie.
The chatter that has arisen in the wake of this initial precursor wave could have been predicted: it's anyone's game.
At this point last year, "Zero Dark Thirty" was dominating the critics groups' superlative lists. Mid-month, that tide eventually shifted to "Argo," but those were the two and nothing else ever seemed to be dominant. Here we are at the start and four different films have been crowned the year's best by the most respected organizations. Two of them we knew would be in the thick of it, the other two needed the boost of early kudos to insinuate themselves into the race. We're truly off to the races.
Charting the winners and losers of this year's Oscar season
Welcome to the 2013-2014 Film Awards Circuit.
In Contention has tracked all the ups and downs of the season right here, from critics awards to industry kudos and more. Things shifted and slid en route to the Oscars, as they always do, leading to "12 Years a Slave" taking down the big win for Best Picture at the 86th annual Academy Awards (which was really just a drop in the bucket of all the kudos it picked up throughout the season as it certainly dominated the regional critics awards).
The circuit's various announcements are divided into a few different categories below to make it easier to navigate this year. We tried to be as on the ball with it as possible, but feel free to reach out via email if there's something we're missing.
'American Hustle' and 'Gravity' favorites, too
Steve McQueen's slavery drama "12 Years a Slave" led another batch of nominees today with the St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association, but Alexander Payne's "Nebraska" and Spike Jonze's "Her" scored large tallies, too. All three were nominated for Best Film along with "American Hustle" and "Gravity." Check out the full list below.
Passion for 'Drug War' and 'The Wind Rises' as well
The Online Film Critics Society has announced 2013 nominees and once again, "12 Years a Slave" is a dominating force on the regional circuit. The film picked up a field-leading eight nominations. The Coen brothers' "Inside Llewyn Davis" and Spike Jonze's "Her" were a few steps behind with six apiece. The line-up includes passion for Hayao Miyazaki's "The Wind Rises" and Johnnie To's "Drug War." Check out the full list below.
'Philomena' and 'Mother of George' were favorites, too
The Women Film Critics Circle has spoken up and, as ever, offered some interesting color in a precursor circuit that seems to be all about a few particular names. This is certainly an opinionated and thorough list of contenders. "Augustine," "Enough Said" and "Winnie Mandela" led the way with mentions, though "Mother of George," "Philomena" and "Hannah Arendt" were favorites as well. Check out the full list of nominations below. Winners will be announced on Dec. 16. And remember, keep track at The Circuit.
And some good news for Tye Sheridan fans
The Washington D.C. critics had some fun with their awards at the nominations stage
, throwing in such offbeat mentions as Baz Luhrmann for Best Director, with Joaquin Phoenix, James Franco and Scarlett Johansson among the acting nominees. Their list of winners, however, is rather more conventional. "12 Years a Slave" leads the pack with six awards, including Best Film, Actor, Supporting Actress and Ensemble, while they also plumped for fellow Oscar frontrunner "Gravity," handing it Best Director and a pair of technical awards.
James McAvoy takes a deserved win for Best Actor
The British Independent Film Awards -- effectively the UK industry's answer to the Spirits -- are an unpredictable institution. Some years they reward very much the films they're expected to reward ("The King's Speech" and "Slumdog Millionaire" both took a clutch of awards here), and some years they live up to the "independent" part of their name and go wildly off-script. (A memorable example: nominated for "The Queen," Helen Mirren lost to Kate Dickie in "Red Road.") It all depends on the whims of the jury, and this year's group was clearly feeling rebellious.
Also: MacLaine's Kennedy Center honors, and the Coens' failure fixation
I'm interested to see how it shakes out, awards-wise, for ensemble of "American Hustle," one of the most integrated and evenly weighted in any of this year's heavyweight contenders. Jennifer Lawrence appears to have nailed down a Supporting Actress spot for her sensational turn, but I'd like to see Amy Adams and Bradley Cooper start picking up equivalent momentum, while Christian Bale, Jeremy Renner and even Robert De Niro all contribute to the electricity. At any rate, it's one case where ensemble honors seem justified and not merely a veiled award for the film as a whole. So it is that "Hustle" will receive the Ensemble Performance Award at the Palm Springs fest, which has already announced acting honors for Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Bruce Dern and Julia Roberts. [PSIFF
Not the best week for '12 Years A Slave'
What a week. We knew that the end of year honors from the nation's preeminent critics groups would send a ripple through the best picture race. We didn't know it would send a shockwave.
One of the most impressive line-ups for the award to date
The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has as of late extended its role call of "Virtuosos" Award winners, an annual tip of the hat to a given year's stand-out performers not honored elsewhere in its tribute program. And this year's line-up is as exemplary as ever.