Oscars 2011 Update: BFCA Awards

The Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards were handed out tonight. Before I get into what won and what didn’t, let’s just take a moment to talk about how scarily accurate the BFCA is in predicting what will win the Oscar in most categories.

Last year, the BFCA coincided with the Oscars in 12 categories (13 if you split the one BFCA sound category into the two Oscar categories). Certain misses have to do with what was and what wasn’t nominated. The only real differences were in Best Picture & Best Director (BFCA gave it to The Social Network), Best Art Direction (they gave it to Inception), Best Editing (they went Inception) and Best Song (they went 127 Hours). Other than that, the misses were Makeup, which was much different from the Oscars category, and Foreign Language film and Documentary, both of which were also very different.

In 2009, they missed both screenplay categories (going with Tarantino and Reitman for Basterds and Up in the Air, when Hurt Locker and Precious won the Oscars), and Editing (Avatar over Hurt Locker), Sound (Avatar over Hurt Locker). Makeup was again wholly different.

In 2008, they missed Actress (since they gave it to Kate for The Reader in Supporting), Supporting Actress (obviously) and Song (since they rightfully gave it to Springsteen).

Notice anything about all the differences? Almost all the things that were different were relative surprises come Oscar night.

So the BFCA is actually a relatively good precursor, especially for all the major categories.

Just to go back a bit further (I’m cutting out Documentary and Foreign Language. Who cares about those?):

2007: They missed Best Actress (they picked Julie Christie), Best Supporting Actress (they picked Amy Ryan), and Best Original Score (since There Will Be Blood was ineligible). Again, all the differences were either surprises or in really tight categories.

2006: Missed Best Supporting Actor (went Eddie Murphy), Best Animated Feature (went Pixar), and Best Original Score. (So, basically, we don’t necessarily listen to them on the music categories.)

2005: Missed Best Picture (Brokeback Mountain), Best Supporting Actor (Paul Giamatti), Best Supporting Actress (it was a tie between Michelle Williams and Amy Adams), and Score again.

2004: Missed Best Picture (Sideways), Supporting Actor and Actress (also both Sideways), and Score again. (I guess, when they like something, they really like it.)

2003: Missed Best Screenplay (In America), and Song.

See how fucking close they are on a lot of big, big categories? That’s why I’m paying some attention to what they pick.

Oh, also, just because I realized it only now…

Last year, their Best Picture list synched up for 9/10 (they put The Town on over The Kids Are All Right, which really makes me happy, since that’s exactly how I’d have voted there too). Year before that, 8/10 (they had Nine and Invictus on over District 9 and The Blind Side, which, personally, I think they made the better choices). Before that, their lists of ten were really, really strong. Check this out:

2008: Changeling, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Milk, The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire, Wall-E, The Wrestler.

2007: American Gangster, Atonement, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Into the Wild, Juno, The Kite Runner, Michael Clayton, No Country for Old Men, Sweeney Todd, There Will Be Blood.

I disagree with them on one film or less each year. They’re great at this.

Now, here are their awards for this year:

Starting with Best Picture, with this field:

  • The Artists
  • The Descendants
  • Drive
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Moneyball
  • The Tree of Life
  • War Horse

(I really only disagree with two entries, Extremely Loud and The Help. I’d have put on Dragon Tattoo and Tinker Tailor instead. Otherwise, a perfect life.)

They chose, as their Best Picture: The Artist.

Best Actor. Of a field that included:

  • George Clooney, The Descendants
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, J. Edgar
  • Jean Dujardin, The Artist
  • Michael Fassbender, Shame
  • Ryan Gosling, Drive
  • Brad Pitt, Moneynall

They gave their award to Clooney. Which pretty much assures him a win by this point. (Again, with the Gary Oldman snub.)

Best Actress. From a field that included:

  • Viola Davis, The Help
  • Elizabeth Olsen, Martha Marcy May Marlene
  • Meryl Streep, The Iron Lady
  • Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin
  • Charlize Theron, Young Adult
  • Michelle Williams, My Week with Marilyn

They went with Viola Davis. That’s interesting. Though this is a tough category. I just saw The Iron Lady tonight, and I can say unequivocally that Meryl Streep should not win Best Actress for that performance. (Good, but not for a third Oscar.) Which leaves it completely wide open and could lead to Viola Davis actually winning. (But it’s early. No prognosticating now. Just results.

Best Supporting Actor now. From a field that included:

  • Kenneth Branagh, My Week with Marilyn
  • Albert Brooks, Drive
  • Nick Nolte, Warrior
  • Patton Oswalt, Young Adult
  • Christopher Plummer, Beginners
  • Andy Serkis, Rise of the Planet of the Apes

They gave it to Christopher Plummer. Which everyone assumes will be the eventual decision. Though we don’t even know what the category is gonna look like at this point.

Now, Best Supporting Actress. From this category:

  • Berenice Bejo, The Artist
  • Jessica Chastain, The Help
  • Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids
  • Carey Mulligan, Shame
  • Octavia Spencer, The Help
  • Shailene Woodley, The Descendants

They gave it to Octavia Spencer. That’s interesting, but I want to see what that category looks like before I call it. They could very well get both Help wins wrong (or right). It’s early. (Though I will say, I’ll totally trade both of those wins for an Artist win for Best Picture.) But, I still can’t help feel that Woodley, Mulligan or Bejo really should have won here.

Best Director. From this:

  • Stephen Daldry, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • Michel Hazanavicius, The Artist
  • Alexander Payne, The Descendants
  • Nicolas Winging Refn, Drive
  • Martin Scorsese, Hugo
  • Steven Spielberg, War Horse

They gave it to Hazanavicius. Which is awesome.

Best Original Screenplay:

  • The Artist
  • 50/50
  • Midnight in Paris
  • Win Win
  • Young Adult

Pretty much the category (outside of Bridesmaids) as most people see it. They gave it to Woody Allen. Which makes sense.

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Descendants
  • Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close
  • The Help
  • Hugo
  • Moneyball

They gave it to Moneyball, which is very interesting.

Best Animated Feature… wow! (Sorry, I just telegraphed that one way too early.)

  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Arthur Christmas
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango

They gave it to Rango. Whoa. Did not see that one coming.

Best Foreign Language Film went to A Separation, which — watch that not even get nominated at the Oscars.

Best Documentary went to Scorsese’s George Harrison doc, which I’m pretty certain won’t even be nominated either.

Best Original Song went to “Life’s a Happy Song” from The Muppets, which better win at the Oscars or else I’m disowning the music branch forever. (I will say, though. Their category is strikingly similar to the one I’d expect to see. Three Muppets songs, The Help song and the Elton/Gaga song from Gnomeo and Juliet. Might be something there…)

Best Original Score went to The Artist. How could it not?

Best Cinematography was a tie between Tree of Life and War Horse, which is interesting since ASC didn’t even nominate War Horse.

Best Art Direction was Hugo. (Hell yeah, it was!)

Best Editing was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. (Again, hell yeah, it was!)

Best Costume Design was The Artist.

Best Makeup (should I even bother? Have they ever gotten this right) was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2, which beat Albert Nobbs, The Iron Lady, J. Edgar and My Week with Marilyn. Pretty sure only two of those are even shortlisted for the Oscars.

Best Visual Effects was Rise of the Planet of the Apes, which makes sense. Surprising, no Hugo or Tree of Life, but it does make sense.

Oh, and Best Sound went to Deathly Hallows.

So that’s all the winners. I won’t really analyze them that much now, but I will as we get closer. I’ll incorporate this into my thinking, since these will inform what wins, and will of course go into the trend of “How close are they?”

Interesting though. As each day passes, it seems like better and better odds that The Artist could actually win this thing. (I really hope it happens. I really do.)

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