Carol was named Best Picture of the year by the New York Film Critics Circle, cementing it as one of the heavy favorites for this season’s Academy Awards. Todd Haynes’ 1950s lesbian love story, based on Patricia Highsmith’s novel The Price of Salt, won three other major prizes (Best Director, Best Screenplay, and Best Cinematography).
The NYFCC focused on Carol’s behind-the-camera talent, and the film’s highly-regarded on-screen performances — from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara — were slightly upset by young contenders. Brooklyn’s Saiorse Ronan took home the Best Actress award for her turn as an Irish immigrant in 1950s New York. Over the last 10 years, the NYFCC Best Actress winner has gone on to earn an Oscar nomination eight times.
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Kristen Stewart earned Best Supporting Actress for her role in Clouds of Sils Maria. (The last nine NYFCC winners in this category went on to earn an Oscar nomination.)
Michael Keaton was named Best Actor and singled out for his Spotlight role as a Boston Globe journalist investigating sex abuse in the Catholic Church. Keaton has mostly been highlighted as a potential Best Supporting Actor in the Oscar race, and most of Spotlight’s acting awards so far have honored its star-studded ensemble, including Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Brian d’Arcy James, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci, and John Slattery.
Mark Rylance, who plays the resigned Soviet spy who is represented by Tom Hanks’ American lawyer in Bridge of Spies, was named Best Supporting Actor.
Pixar’s Inside Out, one day after racking up 14 nominations at the Annie Awards, was named Best Animated Film. The award for Best First Film went to László Nemes’ Son of Saul, a Hungarian film following a prisoner in Auschwitz. The Mauritanian film Timbuktu, which was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at last year’s Oscars, was named Best Foreign Film, and Frederick Wiseman’s documentary In Jackson Heights earned Best Nonfiction Film.
The NYFCC Awards aren’t always the most accurate measure of whether a film will do well at the Oscars, but the critics group’s picks do help to garner buzz for certain films and performances throughout awards season. Last year, the NYFCC named Richard Linklater’s Boyhood as Best Picture, also awarding Linklater Best Director and Patricia Arquette Best Supporting Actress. Arquette went on to win in her category at the Oscars, as did J.K. Simmons for Whiplash. Eight out of 11 winners from last year’s NYFCC Awards went on to earn a nomination in their category at the Oscars.
In the last 10 years, the NYFCC has picked the Academy’s Best Picture winner three out of 10 times. They’re five for 10 on Best Actor winners and four for 10 on Best Actress, and they’ve predicted the Best Supporting Actor four out of 10 times and Best Supporting Actress winner five out of 10 times.
The award winners will be honored during NYFCC’s annual ceremony on Jan. 4. See the full list of winners below:
Best First Film: Son of Saul
Best Foreign Film: Timbuktu
Best Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart, Clouds of Sils Maria
Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
Best Cinematography: Edward Lachman, Carol
Best Screenplay: Carol
Best Nonfiction Film: In Jackson Heights
Best Animated Film: Inside Out
Best Actress: Saiorse Ronan, Brooklyn
Best Actor: Michael Keaton, Spotlight
Best Director: Todd Haynes, Carol
Best Picture: Carol
Special Award: Posthumous Award honoring the legacy of William Becker and Janus Films
Special Award: Ennio Morricone, Composer