Lupita Nyongo, Laura Dern Get Awards-Race Boost From New York Film Critics Circle

 vanityfair.com  12/04/2019 19:18:45   Yohana Desta

The winners of this years New York Film Critics Circle Awards have been revealed, with Antonio Banderas, Lupita Nyongo, Joe Pesci, and Laura Dern picking up acting honors and getting a fresh boost in the race. The awards, debated upon by dozens of prominent film critics, were announced piecemeal over the course of Wednesday morning and afternoon, with Martin Scorseses The Irishman winning best film. Its presumed nearest Oscar competition, Once Upon a Time&in Hollywood, earned a best-screenplay win.

Banderas picked up best actor for Pain and Glory; Nyongo won for Us; Pesci was named best supporting actor for his turn in The Irishman; and Dern nabbed best supporting actress for her roles in both Marriage Story and Little Women, a rare double honor.

Banderas beat out a slew of potential contenders for this award, including major Oscar threats Adam Driver (Marriage Story) and Joaquin Phoenix (Joker) as well as critical faves Adam Sandler in Uncut Gems and Robert Pattinson in The Lighthouse. Nyongo, for her part, knocked out considered front-runners like Rene Zellweger in Judy and Saoirse Ronan in Little Women.

Her win is one of the bigger surprises, a welcome nod to her impressive twin performances in Us, Jordan Peeles horror story. Nyongo, who plays both a shrinking violet and her vicious underworld counterpart (a tether, in Peele-ian parlance) in Us, has been overlooked in the broader awards race in recent months, with various voting bodies favoring stars like Zellweger and Ronan. The NYFCC win, however, is a great bump to get her back in the conversation.

Pesci, meanwhile, bested contenders like Willem Dafoe in The Lighthouse and his fellow Irishman costar Al Pacino, who has also received substantial praise for the Scorsese-directed gangster epic, thanks to his outsize performance as the late Jimmy Hoffa. Pesci plays mobster Russell Bufalino, turning in a softer, more stoic performance than his Irishman costars.

Derns win is perhaps the least surprising of the bunch since shes quickly become an Oscar front-runner due to her turn as a tough divorce lawyer in Noah Baumbachs Marriage Story. She also plays the complete opposite in Greta Gerwigs Little Woman, starring as the kindly matriarch, Marmee, in the adaptation of the literary classic. The double NYFCC honor is a nice boost for her Oscar campaign, though shell still face stiff competition along the way, namely from fellow contender Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers.

The first announced NYFCC award, for best first film, went to Mati Diops supernatural Senegalese drama Atlantics. Best foreign-language film, meanwhile, went to Parasite, Bong Joon-hos globally revered drama about a poor family that scams a rich family. Another international film that fared well? Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Cline Sciammas sumptuous 18th-century drama, which won best cinematography.

The screenplay award for Once Upon a Time&in Hollywood is yet another honor for the film, which is currently on track to pick up a slew of Oscar nominations, from best picture and best director to best original screenplay. Star Brad Pitt is also the current favorite to win best supporting actor, thanks to his cool, assured turn as stuntman Cliff Booth.

However, neither Tarantino nor Scorsese picked up best director. That honor went to the brothers Safdie, Josh and Benny, for Uncut Gems. The NYFCC also announced that special awards will be given to the film-preservation organization IndieCollect and supercomposer Randy Newman, who composed the score for Marriage Story.

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Photograph by Emily Perl. Courtesy of Panoply (cover art).

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