Monday, December 15, 2014

The top categories:
Gone Girl
The Grand Budapest Hotel
The Imitation Game
The Theory of Everything

Benedict Cumberbatch – The Imitation Game
Ralph Fiennes – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Jake Gyllenhaal – Nightcrawler
Michael Keaton – Birdman
David Oyelowo – Selma
Eddie Redmayne – The Theory of Everything

Jennifer Aniston – Cake
Marion Cotillard – Two Days, One Night
Felicity Jones – The Theory of Everything
Julianne Moore – Still Alice
Rosamund Pike – Gone Girl
Reese Witherspoon – Wild

Josh Brolin – Inherent Vice
Robert Duvall – The Judge
Ethan Hawke – Boyhood
Edward Norton – Birdman
Mark Ruffalo – Foxcatcher
J.K. Simmons – Whiplash

Patricia Arquette – Boyhood
Jessica Chastain – A Most Violent Year
Keira Knightley – The Imitation Game
Emma Stone – Birdman
Meryl Streep – Into the Woods
Tilda Swinton – Snowpiercer

Wes Anderson – The Grand Budapest Hotel
Ava DuVernay – Selma
David Fincher – Gone Girl
Alejandro G. Inarritu – Birdman
Angelina Jolie – Unbroken
Richard Linklater – Boyhood

The memberships of the BFCA, a group of several hundred journalists (full disclosure: I'm one of them), and the Academy, a group of several thousand filmmakers, don't overlap in any way. But the BFCA's Critics' Choice noms still matter because they signal to Academy members — among the few people in the world who still pay attention to what critics think about films — that certain films and people that they haven't yet checked out are indeed worthy of making time to see and consider.
Critics' Choice noms have, over the past several years, been among the most consistently strong predictors of Oscar noms — but, of course, it's important to note that the BFCA nominates 10 films for best picture, whereas the Academy reserves the right to nominate anywhere between five and 10, and the BFCA nominates six performers in each of its acting categories, whereas the Academy limits itself to just five, so a Critics' Choice nom can sometimes represent nothing more than a tease.
More than those of most other groups, BFCA members clearly liked Grand Budapest, giving it 11 total noms, second only to Birdman's 13. They include not only picture and Fiennes' best actor nom but also Wes Anderson's noms for direction and original screenplay. Fiennes also was nominated for best actor in a comedy (a category in which Birdman's Keaton also landed a second nom). BFCA voters also demonstrated support for Inherent Vice (nominating not only Brolin but also Paul Thomas Anderson's adaptation of Thomas Pynchon's novel); Snowpiercer (in addition to Swinton, they gave it noms for best art direction and best sci-fi/horror movie); and Unbroken (nominating it for best pic, Jolie's direction, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen, Richard LaGravenese and William Nicholson's screen adaptation of Laura Hillenbrand's biography and Roger Deakins' cinematography).

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