Blouin ArtInfo columnist J. Hoberman has written the following about today’s New York Film Critics Circle balloting. I love this — it sounds like horse-race reporting from Del Mar or Santa Anita:

1. “An early favorite for Best Director, The Master‘s Paul Thomas Anderson was overwhelmed by Zero Dark Thirty‘s Kathryn Bigelow on the second ballot, with Argo‘s Ben Affleck finishing a distant third. (Strikingly, Steven Spielberg, who failed to get a single first ballot vote, was never in contention.) By this time, it was evident that Zero Dark Thirty would run the table and, indeed, The Master finished third for Best Picture behind Argo, although it took three ballots for the obviously exhausted voters to decide the winner.”

2. “In the acting awards, Sally Field (Lincoln) finally defeated initial front-runner Anne Hathaway (The Dark Knight Rises, Les Miserables) for Best Supporting Actress on a fourth ballot while, in a rare second ballot win, Matthew McConaughey (Magic Mike, Bernie) beat out Christoph Waltz (Django Unchained) and Tommy Lee Jones (Lincoln).”

3. “The closest and most surprising race saw Rachel Weisz (The Deep Blue Sea) edged Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Silver Lining Playbook) and Emmanuelle Riva (Amour). Last year’s winner Jessica Chastain (Zero Dark Thirty) was a factor throughout, tying for the lead on several ballots. (This race was by far the most polarized; only three of the 16 ballots cast for Lawrence or Chastain cited both actresses.)”

4. “By contrast Daniel Day Lewis (Lincoln), possibly the most feted actor in NYFCC history, led on every ballot but still required three rounds of voting to best the closely bunched trio of Jack Black (Bernie), Joaquin Phoenix (The Master) and Denis Lavant (Holy Motors).”

5. “Greig Fraser was named Best Cinematographer for Zero Dark Thirty, beating the initial favorite, The Master, on the third ballot. Although heavily favored, Tony Kushner’s Lincoln screenplay needed four ballots to win over those for Zero Dark Thirty and Moonrise Kingdom. “