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NYFCC: The Hurt Locker Switches Status from Dark Horse to Front Runner

While A Serious Man appears to be making no blips on any critic group’s radar (a real shame that it’s not even claiming any of these “ensemble acting” prizes either), Up in the Air and Precious aren’t fairing that well either, as The Hurt Locker assault this weekend (tops on a couple of critic groups on both coasts) has indeed placed the film from ‘dark horse’ status to Oscar ‘front-runner’. It’s the dream scenario for Summit Ent. who tried their best in promoting the picture this summer, but ultimately failed to reach the larger segment of the population who might not read newspapers but are willing to see the next Vin Diesel film.

While A Serious Man appears to be making no blips on any critic group’s radar (a real shame that it’s not even claiming any of these “ensemble acting” prizes either), Up in the Air and Precious aren’t fairing that well either, as The Hurt Locker assault this weekend (tops on a couple of critic groups on both coasts) has indeed placed the film from ‘dark horse‘ status to Oscar ‘front-runner‘. It’s the dream scenario for Summit Ent. who tried their best in promoting the picture this summer, but ultimately failed to reach the larger segment of the population who might not read newspapers but are willing to see the next Vin Diesel film. Where The New York Film Critics Circle took some original turns is with the animated film category (Fantastic Mr. Fox is tops there) and the best screenplay going to In the Loop.

In other matters where do give a crap, the group’s rules appear to stick to 2009 release date which would explain why a film like Summer Hours won Best Foreign (a favorite of mine no matter what year it is officially labeled as), and why Cannes 208 titles such as Of Time And the City wins Best Doc and why Steve McQueen’s Hunger is considered Best First Feature. Haneke’s The White Ribbon does get kudos but in the shape of Christian Berger’s camera work. 

Best Director – Kathryn Bigelow, The Hurt Locker
Best Screenplay – In The Loop
Best Actress – Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia
Best Actor – George Clooney for Up In The Air and Fantastic Mr Fox
Best Supporting Actress– Mo’Nique for Precious
Best Supporting Actor– Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds
Best Cinematography – Christian Berger for The White Ribbon
Best Animated Film – Fantastic Mr Fox
Best Non-fiction Film– Of Time And The City
Best Foreign Language Film– Summer Hours
Best First Feature – Hunger by Steve McQueen
Special Award – To Andrew Sarris for his contribution to film criticism

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson’s "This Teacher" (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022, he was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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