There’s been a vague, half-accurate assumption for some years now that the choices made by the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics Choice Awards are somehow reflective or at least similar to those made or shared by the Academy. I realize this is a “nobody knows anything” kind of year and anyone and/or anything can win, but there has been a sense of a formidable Lincoln headwind, as evidenced by yesterday morning’s 12 Oscar nominations…right? But at most I’m feeling a mild breeze.

My question is this: Are there any tea-leaf indications in the BFCA having yesterday given its Best Picture award to Argo and its Best Director trophy to Ben Affleck instead of Lincoln and/or Steven Spielberg? Obviously without the BFCA knowing (having voted on 1.7) that Affleck would be Best Director-snubbed. Was this just…what, a curious call? Or does it suggest that Lincoln doesn’t have the heat that some people think/hope it has?

I know people think I’m just out to trash Lincoln any way I can, but surely this is a legitimate question. If Kris Tapley or Pete Hammond or Anne Thompson were to ask this it would seem fair to most HE readers, I think. But they probably won’t ask it as they don’t want to be seen as Lincoln bashers or agenda-driven.

So what if anything did yesterday’s Argo wins mean? I’m really not concluding anything. Okay, I kind of am but in a Solomon-like, non-predatory way.

Pete Hammond replies: “This race is all over the map. The BFCA has a pretty good track record — not great but good — as far as reflecting Academy tastes and choices. But I didn’t really expect Lincoln to win there. The 12 Lincoln nominations mean broad-based support but Life of Pi got 11 without any acting shots. Lincoln strikes me as an Academy consensus movie, and maybe [the 12 nominations] are indicative of what the Academy thinks. But there are so many factors in play now. Affleck’s Academy snub might make Argo stronger, and he could win the DGA. The Producer’s Guild Awards (1.26) is the one to watch as far as where this race is going.”

Sasha Stone replies: “The Critics Choice voters aren’t even critics. Many of them are awards bloggers like yourself. They try to match Oscar every year because that is their claim to fame and how they get all the screeners every year. So their ballots were turned in before Oscar nominations, and at that time everyone in the film blogger community was thinking Argo would take the Oscar, and [so] Argo took the BFCA. Normally, Zero Dark Thirty would have taken it but that has the stink of controversy now so critics have jumped the ship.

“Most of the time the films with the most nominations at the BFCAs don’t win Best Picture there. So that part of it isn’t surprising. Lincoln has not won any major critics award. It may finish out the season not having won anything but the only votes that count or matter are the industry votes — the Producers, Directors, Writers, Editors Guilds — and NOT THE CRITICS. And it could turn out that voters don’t ‘like’ it enough. In any capacity, at any awards show and it will end the race with a screenplay win and nothing more. A joke but I’ve become used to how it all goes down by now, although you never really get used to it. The trick is not minding.”

Kris Tapley replies: “Argo and Zero Dark Thirty were tied for critics Best Picture prizes this year. I thought Lincoln might win last night because BFCA likes to predict in some sense, but fact is, critics have by and large gone with Argo and Zero Dark Thirty, so it was probably between the two of them. And Argo won, now having pulled ahead with critics awards:

ARGO (10)
Broadcast Film Critics Association
Southeastern Film Critics Association
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association
San Diego Film Critics Society
Florida Film Critics Circle
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle
Nevada Film Critics Society
Houston Film Critics Society
Online Film Critics Society
Denver Film Critics Society

New York Film Critics Circle
Boston Society of Film Critics
Chicago Film Critics Association
New York Film Critics Online
Washington D.C. Area Film Critics Association
Boston Online Film Critics Association
Utah Film Critics Association
Black Film Critics Circle
Vancouver Film Critics Circle
(Also NBR, but those aren’t critics.)

Dallas-Ft. Worth Film Critics Association
Iowa Film Critics Association
North Texas Film Critics Association

San Francisco Film Critics Circle
Toronto Film Critics Association
Kansas City Film Critics Circle

Los Angeles Film Critics Association
National Society of Film Critics

International Press Academy
Detroit Film Critics Society

Las Vegas Film Critics Society

Central Ohio Film Critics Association

Indiana Film Critics (1).”