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Lady Bird, Greta Gerwig’s solo directorial debut, is the New York Film Critics Circle’s (NYFCC) choice for Best Picture of 2017. It may not even be December yet, but the early awards season is has begun in earnest. The National Board of Review, as usual, was first, giving its Best Picture award to Steven Spielberg’s The Post, as well as both its actor and actress awards to that same film, to Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, while naming Lady Bird’s Greta Gerwig Best Director. The NBR also released a Top Ten list, which included several Oscar contenders, while surprisingly omitting Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, and including Alexander Payne’s Downsizing.
Now it’s time for regional critics groups to weigh in, and as has been the custom, the New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) has gone first. The critics group met throughout the morning and early afternoon on Thursday, announcing individual winners via social media as they came in, and now they’ve named their top film of the year.
NYFCC revealed their full list of winners, with Lady Bird taking home top prize. The group also honored Lady Bird’s star, Saoirse Ronan, as Best Actress. And while Lady Bird was in fact Gerwig’s first film as solo director, the Best First Film honor went to Jordan Peele for Get Out.
The New York Circle’s winners also included Sean Baker (The Florida Project) for Best Director, Paul Thomas Anderson (Phantom Thread) for Best Screenplay, and Timothée Chalamet (Call Me By Your Name) for Best Actor. The Supporting Actor honors went to Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) and Tiffany Haddish (Girls Trip). Rachel Morrison (Mudbound) took Best Cinematography, Coco was named Best Animated Film, Agnes Varda’s Faces Places took Best Nonfiction Film, and the French drama BPM (Beats Per Minute) took the Best Foreign Language Film honor. In addition, the critic and feminist film theorist Molly Haskell will receive the Special Award for Career Achievement.
Pixar Coco banner Get Out, Coco & Lady Bird Recognized by 2017 NYFCC Awards
The impression going into Oscar season is that the race is wide open, and the awards from NBR and NYFCC reinforce that, with the two groups naming different films Best Picture and also splitting on Director, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actress and the foreign and documentary awards. Willem Dafoe’s hold on the favorite spot in the Supporting Actor category seems secure, though, and it doesn’t appear that Coco has any serious competition for the Best Animated Feature award.
The big surprise? No awards for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which was considered by many the prohibitive favorite in the Oscar race but was shut out by both groups. It’s still early, though, so perhaps Martin McDonagh’s film can gain favor with some other local groups.
The New York Film Critics Circle will formally present their awards in a ceremony Jan. 3, which will be dedicated to the late critic Richard Schickel.