The Broadcast Film Awards guys have announced their intention to totally ace the influence of the Golden Globe Awards by holding the Critic Choice Awards on Sunday, December 11th. The Golden Globe Awards will be held roughly than a month later, on Sunday, January 8th. The GG date had been regarded (and still is regarded, albeit to a lesser degree now) as a serious Oscar-nomination influencer by award strategists. Oscar nømination balloting kicks off on Thursday, 1.5.17 and closing on Friday, 1.13.17. But the new Critics Choice Awards date all but blows that scheme out of the water.
Initial BFCA balloting (i.e., suggested you-tell-us nominations) will begin on the morning of 11.28.16 and end on 11.29.16, late in the day or early evening. The BFCA noms will be announced on 12.1.16. The final ballots will go out on 12.8.16 with return ballots required by 12.9.16, again late in the day or early evening.
The vast majority of the award-quality heavy hitters will have opened by late November. The new BFCA deal brings a certain pressure factor to the post-production skeds of five presumed award-calibre December releases — Denzel Washington‘s Fences, Martin Scorsese‘s Silence, Peter Berg‘s Patriot’s Day, David Frankel‘s Collateral Beauty and Morten Tyldum‘s Passengers. But nothing they won’t be able to handle, I would imagine. The BFCA guys have totally vetted the schedule with distributors and award strategists, I’m told, and the new plan is good to go. (Full disclosure: I am a voting member of the BFCA.)
Remember that the BFCA has historically tended to vote in alignment with the Academy more often than the HFPA. The statistics bear this out. Remember also that last year the BFCA gave its Best Picture trophy to Spotlight while everyone else (myself included) had thrown in the towel on Spotlight and was saying “okay, fine, it looks like The Revenant is the most likely champ.” And then lo and behold Spotlight won the Best Picture Oscar at the last minute. So this is big, fellas. The odds indicate that the Best Picture winner of 2016 will be decided by persons such as myself by 11.29 and all but firmed by 12.9. This is how the game will most likely unfold.
Incidentally: The only real Best Picture contenders opening in December are Silence (Paramount — no release date but probably a mid or late December opener) and Fences, which Paramount will platform on 12.16. It’s unlikely that Passengers will be up for anything outside of FX and production design noms. (Trust me on this.) I’m hearing that the people handling Collateral Beauty, a downward spiral grief-recovery drama, are exuding skittish vibes but I probably shouldn’t say anything more. And if you think Peter Berg’s Patriots Day (CBS/Lionsgate, 12.21) will be anything more than than a “rah-rah, hooray for Boston’s finest, let’s get those terrorist Muslim motherfuckers” action thriller then…well, you may need to re-assess. Berg is committed to celebrating the glory and nobility of blue-collar meatheads. If Patriot’s Day turns to be be operating on some kind of richer, more complex level, I’ll be on the floor.