My theory about the New York Film Critics Circle vote, which will happen on Tuesday, 11.29 (or six days hence), is that the org as a whole is now emotionally insecure and off-balance, and may therefore vote erratically and curiously in at least a category or two. Not overtly but subconsciously, I mean. This would be due to the loss of face recently suffered by NYFCC honcho John Anderson, which reflects to some extent upon the organization itself.
The NYFCC membership, in short, is probably feeling angry and shaken and perhaps rebellious on some level, and will possibly make calls that will go against big-studio-contenders.
The unbalanced mood is a result of not one but two studios going eyeball-to-eyeball with Anderson over his decision (supported by allies like N.Y. Post critics Lou-Lou Lumenick and Kyle Smith) to push the voting day all the way back to 11.28, or three days before the National Board of Review voting day on 12.1. Anderson was then obliged to move the voting date to 11.29 due to Sony’s inability to screen David Fincher‘s The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo before 11.28. And then Anderson & Co. appeared to lose out altogether when Warner Bros. announced it would be unable to meet an 11.27 deadline as far as Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close was concerned, and in fact wouldn’t begin showing it until around 12.2.
So the NYFCC may want to take a form of subconcious revenge upon the big studios as a face-saving or payback move. You guys made us look weak or inconsequential by delaying your screening dates and appearing to push us around? So we’re going to hit back by favoring indie contenders and not giving awards to your films if we can help it.
The NYFCC, in other words, may unconsciously or subconsciously decide to shaft or half-shaft all the big studios in a kind of sweepingly symbolic, fuck-you-and-the-horse-you-rode-in-on fashion. Not like children but within an honorable and conscientious critical prism, I mean. Which, if I’m half-right, would seem to work against The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo and perhaps Moneyball and God knows who or what else.
Anderson and Lumenick and other NYFCC-ers will no doubt scoff at my theory, but organizations are just like people, and like people they do tend to act in unexpected or offbeat ways when their feelings have been hurt. I do know that the NYFCC’s self-image is at a low point right now as a result of the eyeball-to-eyeball stuff, and it wouldn’t be that weird if the voting somehow reflects this insecure, off-balance feeling in some way….that’s all. Talk to anyone who’s dealt professionally with people who’ve been through serious trauma.
Even if you think my theory is totally full of shit, it’s at least more realistic and sensible-sounding that the Gold Derby team trying to predict next Tuesday’s vote. My NYFCC trauma theory is at least based on something real that has definitely happened as opposed to the usual spitballing and poking holes in the air and pontificating…blah, blah.
I will be flabbergasted if The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin wins for Best Actor, as a majority of Derby “experts” is now predicting. The honorable and decent thing would be for the NYFCC to put poor faltering Moneyball back in the conversation by handing their Best Actor prize to Brad Pitt, or their Best Director trophy to the Manhattan-residing Bennett Miller, or their Best Picture honor to the film itself.