With the conclusion of the Venice-Telluride-Toronto cycle I began to be convinced that La La Land‘s Emma Stone was the Best Actress contender to beat. I believed that she had easily delivered the strongest, most achey-breaky female performance of the year. Due respect to Stone’s competitors, but I settled into this belief more and more as the season progressed. And I still think that now. But so far, no one except for the relatively small fraternity represented by the Gold Derby-ites and Gurus of Goldies seems to be agreeing with me. On the journalistic side, I mean. Obviously the industry has yet to be heard from.

I’ve been told over and over that critics awards and Academy/guild awards don’t overlap, but I couldn’t help but feel at least a little surprised when Elle‘s Isabelle Huppert (who is wholly riveting in Paul Verhoeven‘s film) kept winning in the early cycle, and with no wins for Stone. So far Huppert has won with the New York Film Critics Circle, the Gotham Awards, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the Chicago Film Critics Association, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle and two or three other groups.

And then tonight, something big happened — Jackie‘s Natalie Portman (who has also given an excellent performance) won a Best Actress award from the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

Portman’s BFCA win is significant because for the last several years overlaps in voting patterns between the Academy and the BFCA have happened more often than overlaps between the Academy and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (i.e., the Golden Globe awards). At the very least tonight’s Portman win suggests that she may have more heat than Stone…maybe. This doesn’t mean Stone isn’t going to pull off a late-cycle surge or that Huppert isn’t going to start winning again. A liberal interpretation of the Best Actress race at this point says it’s a three-way between Stone, Portman and Huppert, but the question has to be asked — when is Stone going to win something? Anything?

I’m honestly surprised by what’s happened so far. Not displeased but I really and truly expected that Stone would have won at least something from someone by now. To repeat, 18 Gold Derby “experts” and a majority of Gurus are predicting that Stone will take the Best Actress Oscar, and that may happen. But I’m honestly wondering what’s happened to her inevitability factor.

Here are some of tonight’s Critics Choice Award winners:

BEST DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
BEST ACTOR: Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
BEST ACTRESS: Natalie Portman, Jackie
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight
BEST YOUNG ACTOR/ACTRESS: Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea (WINNER)
BEST DIRECTOR: Damien Chazelle, La La Land
BEST ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Damien Chazelle, La La Land and Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea (tie)
BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: Eric Heisserer, Arrival
BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Linus Sandgren, La La Land
BEST PRODUCTION DESIGN: La La Land, David Wasco, Sandy Reynolds-Wasco
BEST EDITING: Tom Cross, La La Land