10:37 am: Hollywood Elsewhere 100% applauds the NYFCC giving their Best Picture award to Martin Scorsese‘s The Irishman, but giving their Best Director award to Benny and Josh Safdie for Uncut Gems is absolute contrarian poke-the-hornet’s nest insanity. The honorable Scorsese has taken the top prize and Quentin Tarantino has snagged a kind of second or third prize with the screenplay award, but the NYFCC’s embrace of the Safdies is almost, within the realm of year-end award-giving, a kind of felony. I know more than a few people who hate Uncut Gems, or at the very least have found it infuriating or soul-draining. And here’s the NYFCC giving the brothers a bear hug and saying “yes, you did well, keep it up, more like this!”
10:18 am: Once Upon A Time in Hollywood‘s Quentin Tarantino has won the NYFCC’s Best Screenplay award. Check. Well-liked film, great dialogue, an unusual tale with a compassionate ending.
9:57 am: Lupita Nyong’o wins the NYFCC’s Best Actress trophy for Us? Seriously? Eight parts wokester virtue-signalling, two parts serious regard for a noteworthy performance…trust me. Last year’s Best Actress award for Support The Girls‘ Regina Hall comes to mind. The NYFCC used to be the NYFCC — now it’s an organizational ally of Indiewire‘s wokeness gesture crusade. Good as she was in Jordan Peele’s interesting if underwhelming horror flick, Lupita basically delivered an intelligent, first-rate, Jamie Lee Curtis-level scream-queen performance with a side order of raspy-voiced predator doppleganger. Five out of 31 Gold Derby handicappers have Lupita on their lists, but no one has her in first or second position. I realize that the Best Actress field is regarded as a bit weak this year, but I would have gone with either Bombshell‘s Charlize Theron, The Farewell‘s Awkwafina or Judy‘s Renee Zellweger.
9:40 am: In another international-minded, anti-Gold Derby decision, the NYFCC has blown off Joker‘s Joaquin Phoenix, Marriage Story‘s Adam Driver and Uncut Gems‘ Adam Sandler to give their Best Actor prize to Antonio Banderas‘ minimalist, intriguingly layered performance in Pedro Almodovar‘s Pain and Glory. HE has no argument with this — it’s one of Banderas’s all-time best performances, and it won the Best Actor prize in Cannes last May — but understand that the NYFCC’s motive in choosing him was at least partly to give the bird to the Gold Derby gang.
9:12 am: Laura Dern has won the NYFCC’s Best Supporting Actress trophy, mostly for her tough divorce attorney performance in Marriage Story (and in particular that great monologue about how women are unfairly regarded by Judeo-Christian culture) and also for her Marmie in Little Women, a performance that I found…well, sufficient.
9:04 am: Joe Pesci‘s soft-spoken performance as Russell Buffalino in The Irishman has won the New York Film Critics Circle’s Best Supporting Actor award. There’s no question that Pesci delivers in a dead-calm, clean-pocket-drop way in Martin Scorsese‘s epic film, but how very NYFCC to single him out. Rank-and-file handicappers would have gone with Al Pacino‘s Jimmy Hoffa turn or Brad Pitt‘s Cliff Booth in Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, but whatever. Pesci rules today!
Earlier: In another snooty move, the NYFCC has blown off Roger Deakins‘ phenomenal cinematography in 1917 in order to give the Best Cinematography award to Claire Mathon’s lensing of Portrait of a Lady on Fire. A very handsomely shot film, no question, but not my idea of mind-blowing or wowser or whatever triple-cool superlative you want to use.
Earlier: The NYFCC’s Best Animated Feature award has gone to I Lost My Body. No comment as I lost my interest in watching animated films about a decade ago. Knowing that I will never sit through another animated film in the time I have remaining on this planet fills me with indescriable joy.