‘Carol’ wins four awards including Best Film from NYFCC as Kristen Stewart surprises

Very povincial picks from New York critics this season
Cate Blanchett in "Carol"
Cate Blanchett in "Carol"

Make no mistake, the New York Film Critics Circle loved “Carol.” While the venerable organization gave some love to other favorites such as “Spotlight” (Michael Keaton, Best Actor) and “Brooklyn” (Saoirse Ronan, Best Actress) their adoration for Todd Haynes’ period drama was across the board as it took home four honors including Best Film, Best Director (Haynes), Best Screenplay (Phyllis Nagy) and Best Cinematography (Ed Lachman). A nice comeback after being ignored by the National Board of Review yesterday who selected “Mad Max: Fury Road” as best picture and generally went more consumer in their choices.

NYFCC also surprised by bestowing Kristen Stewart a Best Supporting Actress honor for “Clouds of Sils Maria,” a movie that debuted at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival and won her a European Film Award almost a year before. Technically, “Sils” didn’t hit theaters in New York until 2015. No doubt even Stewart will be surprised she’s headed to an awards gala this January for a film she shot in 2013.

Keeping in mind “Carol’s” domination of the honors, here’s a rundown of all the winners and some thoughts on each.

Best Film: “Carol”
Lowdown: Helps the Cannes Film Festival darling solidify it’s Oscar footing. Also puts pressure on HFPA to make sure to include it in the Best Drama race.  All around big win for The Weinstein Company and Killer Films.

Best Director: Todd Haynes, “Carol”
Lowdown: Haynes won this honor in 2002 for “Far From Heaven” and was third for “Safe” and “I’m Not There.” They like him.

Best Actor: Michael Keaton, “Spotlight”
Lowdown: Well, there’s actually pros and cons to this for Keaton. On the one hand, it’s a great win considering they pretty much ignored him for “Birman.” On the other hand, it creates more category confusion for Oscar voters.

Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan, “Brooklyn”
Lowdown:  Huge, huge win for Ronan who is up against another critically acclaimed turn from Brie Larson in “Room” for most of these honors. Searchlight needs more fire for their Oscar contender and they got it today.

Best Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart, “Clouds of Sils Maria”
Lowdown:  Movie made my top 10 last year and its a worthy performance. Can IFC turn this into an Oscar nomination? Do they care?

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, “Bridge of Spies”
Lowdown: They “Hey, don’t forget about this guy win!” Rylance, also a prominent New York stage actor, gets some hometown love (Yes, he’s British, but they think of him as one of their own).

Best Cinematography: Edward Lachman, “Carol”
Lowdown: Well, clearly they love “Carol.” Edward Lachman’s work here is superb, but it’s not better than Chivo’s in “The Revenant.”

Best Screenplay: Phyllis Nagy, “Carol”
Lowdown: Nagy deserves some love for shepherding this film for so many years. This will help her case in what is once again a very competitive Oscar category for Adapted Screenplay.

Best Nonfiction Film: “In Jackson Heights”
Lowdown: Nice win for a New York area doc that didn’t make Oscar’s shortlist.

Best Animated Film: “Inside Out”
Lowdown: Not surprising. I don’t expect “Anomalisa” to win over Pixar’s latest wonder very often this year.

Best Foreign Film: “Timbuktu”
Lowdown: Last year’s Oscar submission?  Sort of a waste here. Could have given a film from 2015 a spotlight even if it wasn’t in the context of awards season.

Best First Film: “Son of Saul”
Lowdown: Sony Classics’ goal of getting “Saul” more attention for other Oscar categories outside of Foreign Language Film gets a boost.

Special Award: William Becker and Janus Films

Special Award: Ennio Morricone

What did you think of this year’s

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With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios, has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times and co-founded HitFix, Inc. serving as its first Editor-in-Chief and President. Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.

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