David O. Russell’s crime comedy American Hustle was the big winner at the New York Film Critics Circle awards today. The 70s-set drama, which stars Christian Bale and Amy Adams as a con artist duo coerced to work for a shady FBI agent (Bradley Cooper), also won awards for Russell’s screenplay (shared with Eric Singer), and for Jennifer Lawrence, who was named Best Supporting Actress for her performance as the sassy, dim-witted wife of Bale’s character. I’ll get the chance to see the film on Thursday so I’ll be able to chime in then if it is worthy of the distinction or not. Nevertheless, the award wins from this group is a massive coup for Sony Pictures and it significantly boosts the film’s awards chances during the crowded, always ruthless awards season.
British filmmaker Steve McQueen, whose searing slavery drama 12 Years a Slave was heavily tipped by many awards “gurus” to win top awards from the NYFCC, was named Best Director instead.
In the acting categories, the incomparable Cate Blanchett won the Best Actress award for her towering performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine while screen legend Robert Redford won Best Actor for his near-silent performance as a man lost at sea in J.C. Chandor’s survival thriller All is Lost. Although Redford is just one of many contenders in what is likely to be a very competitive Best Actor category, I wouldn’t be surprised if Blanchett sweeps through the critics circuit.
Jared Leto was named Best Supporting Actor for his performance as a transgender woman dying of AIDS in Jean Marc Valée’s Dallas Buyers Club. I haven’t seen the film as yet but do intend to in the upcoming days.
Legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki’s final film The Wind Rises was named Best Animated Feature by the group. The win should greatly help its case in getting seen by awards groups before year’s end.
Other awards handed out included Best Cinematography to Bruno Delbonnel for his sublime work in the Coen brothers’ musical drama Inside Llewyn Davis. Best First Feature went to Ryan Coogler’s Fruitvale Station. Abdellatif Kechiche’s controversial Palm D’Or winner Blue is the Warmest Color won the Best Foreign Language Film award and Best Documentary Feature was awarded to Sarah Polley’s Stories We Tell.
Veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman was awarded a Special Award for his body of work.
The New York Film Critics Circle – founded in 1935 – are one of the largest, oldest, and arguably, the most prestigious critics organization in the United States. Last year’s big winner was Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty. A full list of the NYFCC’s previous winners can be found here.
Best Film: American Hustle (dir. David O. Russell)
Best Director: Steve McQueen for 12 Years a Slave
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett for Blue Jasmine
Best Actor: Robert Redford for All is Lost
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence for American Hustle
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto for Dallas Buyers Club
Best Screenplay: American Hustle (David O. Russell & Eric Singer)
Best Animated Feature: The Wind Rises (dir. Hayao Miyazaki)
Best Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel for Inside Llewyn Davis
Best Foreign Language Film: Blue is the Warmest Color (dir. Abdellatif Kechiche)
Best First Feature: Fruitvale Station (dir. Ryan Coogler)
Best Documentary Feature: Stories We Tell (dir. Sarah Polley)
Special Award: Frederick Wiseman