NYFCC Balloting Rundown

Yesterday afternoon NY Post film critic/blogger Lou Lumenick explained how the New York Film Critics Circle balloting (and its “arcane weighted system”) actually went down. And guess what? Melancholia was dead even with The Artist, the Best Picture winner, in the first round, and its director, Lars Von Trier, was just a notch behind Artist helmer Michel Haznavicius in the initial Best Director balloting,

The Artist was tied with Melancholia (27 points each) for Best Picture,” Lumenick reports, “followed by Hugo with 16 points. The Artist finally won on the third ballot with 44 points.

Lumenick’s favorite film of the year, The Descendants, “never managed to amass more than 17 points in any round.” And what about Moneyball?

I would have agreed with the NYFCC if Melancholia had won — it’s a moody in-and-outer with a highly charged opening and finale — but I would have at least respected it. I was speaking last night with a few L.A. columnists/bloggers at an after-event for Valerie Donzelli‘s War Is Declared, and I didn’t hear anyone say that giving the Best Picture prize to The Artist was absolutely justified and right-on. Most seemed surprised and dismayed. I was appalled.

The Best Director balloting also required three rounds to determine a winner. The Artist‘s Haznavicius “finally won with 47 points to 39 for Hugo‘s Martin Scorsese and 35 for Von Trier. “In the first round, it was Haznavicius, 24; Von Trier, 22 and The Tree of Life‘s Terrence Malick 21,” Lumenick writes. “And in the second ballot, a single point separated Haznavicius (33), Scorsese (32) and Von Trier (31).

Meryl Streep wired the field on the first and only Best Actress ballot with 38 points to 24 for Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) and 23 for Kirsten Dunst (Melancholia).

On the initial Best Actor ballot Moneyball‘s Brad Pitt had 24 points, The Artist‘s Jean Dujardin 23 and Shame/Dangerous Method‘s Michael Fassbender 18. But

Pitt surged in the second ballot (42 points), handily dispatching Fassbender (27) and Dujardin (26).

Drive‘s Albert Brooks “won on the second ballot with 43 points to 36 for BeginnersChristopher Plummer and 18 for A Dangerous Method‘s Viggo Mortensen….what? Mortensen was fine as Sigmund Freud but he mainly just sat there with a lit cigar and a stern expression and went “hmmm…I see.”

Take Shelter/Tree of Life/The Help‘s Jessica Chastain “had to go three rounds before her 33 points topped the 27 for Shame‘s Carey Mulligan and 26 for Coriolanus‘s Vanessa Redgrave.”

  • JR

    On my year’s 10 best list, as of today, I have:

    1) The Artist

    2) Melancholia




    7) The Descendants




    and Moneyball doesn’t make the list…nor does The Help…

  • Interesting that Viggo and Vanessa Redgrave had such strong showings in the supporting categories. I was beginning to think their ships had sailed.

  • Sams

    The biggest loser isn’t any of the films that were snubbed but the NYFCC in rushing their vote and diminishing the respect people have for their choices. If there was a group that I expected would go for weightier material it was the NYers. And for the record I loved The Artist.

  • actionman

    For me, as of today, my top 10 is:

    The Tree of Life


    Take Shelter


    The Descendants




    Rise of the Planet of the Apes


    Saw Hugo 3-D last night and feel that it’s a technical masterwork for all involved and clearly it’s a story that was close to Marty’s heart. I liked it a lot overall, loved many individual aspects of it, but it doesn’t crack my top 10 for the year.

    And considering I still haven’t seen Shame, A Dangerous Method, Dragon Tattoo, The Artist, Tinker Tailor, Young Adult, Tin Tin, MI4, The Sitter, and In the Land of Blood and Honey, my list is likely to change a bit.

  • Mark

    I’m becoming dismayed that there is not more Descendants backlash on this site; one of the few busts I’ve seen this year.

  • corey3rd

    After all the hub bub about delaying the vote a day to catch Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, the lack of any mention is more damaging than if they reviewed it early. Does this mean the movie is on the same level as the original?

  • Chase Kahn

    “I’m becoming dismayed that there is not more Descendants backlash on this site; one of the few busts I’ve seen this year.”

    It’ll come. It isn’t good enough to avoid it.

  • Soma

    Would’ve been pretty awesome if they had decided to honor Kirsten Dunst alongside Brad Pitt.

  • My top 5 is:



    The Descendants

    Take shelter


    I choose for moneyball on the first place, because Brad pitt acts very good in this film.

  • Rashad

    So they liked Hugo that much huh?

  • creepingmalaise

    Lou Lumenick?

    Jeff, never trust a guy that won’t look you straight in the eye.

  • eddie mars attacks

    When I play in private poker games in Europe, I often alter my appearance and use the name Lou Lumenick as a cover so people don’t know I’m a professional.

    When I heard the name for the first time, I thought it had the air of harmless sleaze and might let the other player’s guards down.

    I just hope Mr. Lumenick never finds himself in Prague. He owes a lot of money around that town.

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    “Does this mean the movie is on the same level as the original?”

    You mean a masterpiece?

    All kidding aside (I’m actually completely serious in saying the above, but I know damn well by now nobody agrees with me), does anyone else have Martha Marcy May Marlene in their top 10?

    Obviously living in flyover country, I have a TON of stuff to catch up on that hasn’t even played anywhere here yet (Melancholia, Artist, War Horse, Extremely Loud, Young Adult, Shame, etc. etc.), but I have that pretty firmly as the #1 flick I’ve seen all year thus far. It kinda blew me away when I watched it last night, which I wasn’t exactly expecting (where was the buzz on this film on HE? It must have been during my September-long sabbatical…).

    Rest of the 2011 movies I really dug heading into the home stretch:

    13 Assassins: Saw it at Toronto last year, so I guess it’s an arguable addition to this list.

    Contagion: I’m a sucker for Soderbergh, I guess, but I really thought he truly revitalized a genre that hasn’t felt either fresh or relevant in 35 years (at least).

    Source Code: Terrible, terrible ending that includes an utterly inexplicable, stupid, and flat-out impossible time paradox, but for a solid minutes it hums and zings along just like a rock-solid s.f. thriller should — but rarely does.

    Needs a director’s cut revamp badly, but as it stands now, it’s at least as an intriguing mainstream entry into the genre since 2006’s Sunshine (in addition to a nice follow-up to Moon, and a nice future showcase for Jones’ handling of big(ger) budgets).

    Tree of Life: Yeah, the ending (again). I know. We all pretty much know. But still. Malick absolutely throttles you with the scope of this thing to the degree that anyone with even an ounce of artistic ambition has to at least respect what he attempted here. And he actually came a helluva lot closer to pulling it off than most detractors will have you believe.

    Rise of the Planet of the Apes: Doesn’t really tread any new ground (not even for an Apes entry), but gets the gold star for best summer blockbuster, which is kind of awesome given just how many people — myself included — that wrote this sucker off as an August dump after seeing the first (rather lackluster) trailer. Very “fun” watch.

    Red State: Gotta give my main man KS props for delivering something that for once feels like an “actual film” before his (supposed) retirement from the medium. Yeah, it feels perhaps a little too indebted — both visually and tonally — to the work of the Coens and/or Tarantino, but a reheated filet mignon is still pretty fucking tasty.

    Hard to feel that it’s not at least slightly diminished by the superior Martha Marcy May Marlene — there’s natural narrative/thematic overlap here given the similar subject material — but if we’re allowed to grade on a curve this is an absolute A+ from a student I was almost positive would never even turn another B-level essay again.

    Attack the Block: “Coolest” flick of the year. Sometimes it’s just that simple. Drive had the inside track on this award with the awesome pre-release buzz and period-perfect synth score; too bad Refn forgot to deliver a truly riveting setpiece after peaking with the opening 15-minute barn-burner.

    Midnight in Paris: I don’t think I was nearly as enamored with MiP as most of the critical community (“Woody’s grand return!” Wait — wasn’t that Match Point? It actually feels a little “light” to me given some of his more recent intriguing forays into heavy desperation like Cassandra’s Dream. But Wilson makes a great 21st-century Wood-man doppelganger, and I just love the idea of a 75 year-old auteur

    Hobo with a Shotgun: Grimy, hardcore, sensationalist, uncompromising, transgressive, exploitative cinema. Oh, and Rutger Hauer. All due respect to Rodriguez and Tarantino (well, at least the latter), this is the “real” throwback Grindhouse experience. A picture done with this much fuck-you verve and energy will almost always find a way onto my year-end list; somehow, someway.

    Just missed the cut: Adjustment Bureau, Cave of Forgotten Dreams, Super 8, X-Men: First Class, Moneyball

    Obviously, a good 25-40% of this is likely to change over the course of the next few months as new releases are slowly funneled their way here. All the more reason to celebrate this list of titles now, really.

  • LexG

    RED STATE is only indebted visually to the work of Uwe Boll. It looks exactly like the Doctor’s RAMPAGE… only that movie was actually good.

    How come nobody has ONE DAY on their lists?

  • cyanic

    Top Two


    Midnight in Paris

  • Colin

    As of right now I have Take Shelter in at #1, and some combination of Win Win, 50/50, Moneyball and Drive filling out the top 5.

    Yet to see:


    The Descendants

    Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy



    Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

  • CitizenKaned4Life

    Red State‘s obviously going to fall off that list (maybe even off my top 20, when all’s said and done), but at least it’s Smith using real film grammar & aesthetics, seemingly invested in actual character development, and communicating honest-to-Gawd feelings — like suspense — through his camera placement & movement.

    Maybe I’m being a little soft on it due to my lowered expectations for Smith’s career over the past decade, but it honestly kind of surprised me in its overall competence & watchable effectiveness.

    I mean, if Red State sucked, then how would one accurately describe Jersey Girl and Cop Out?

  • Mark

    Win-Win top 5. Bridesmaids top 10. Any list that deviates from this is pretentious shit, or comic-boy nonsense.

  • LexG

    Win Win needed more wrestling. It kind of peters out in the last 15 minutes with the custody stuff, and you’re sitting through all that waiting for the BIG MATCH, and there’s no BIG MATCH. Everyone, EVERYONE who sees it is wanting a wrestling finale, then it never comes.

    It was a very likable movie that was well done and acted… I just don’t really remember it six months on, and it’s not the kind of movie anybody’s gonna rewatch much.

  • Mark

    The court-hearing climax was my favorite part. I’ve seen big matches; been done. It’s why I loved Hustle and Flow. You expect some kind of 8 Mile mega rap battle, but the climax is just DJay trying to give a mix tape to someone.

    I love when seemingly high stakes are resolved realistically, i.e., boringly. Harrison yelling “It’s Over, enough!” in Witness. Here, it’s just the mom from M$Baby saying, “Shame on you…btw, we’ll take your previous offer.”

  • Rashad

    Jersey Girl is good, and Zack and Miri is better than it gets credit for. I’d rather watch it again than most Apatow comedies

  • MechanicalShark

    I saw The Descendants last night. It was going to be a choice between Contagion and Margin Call, but goddamn, I felt somewhat depressed, and knew I could count on it to cheer me up. It’s a decent, fairly honest for what it’s worth, B to B+ movie, but it lacks the kick, the requisite zing necessary to make it more than pretty good. I wouldn’t mind it doing well in awards because it’s a fairly humane, no-bullshit film, but it has a few fatal flaws that I think will block it from gaining any serious winning heat for Best Picture. That said, Clooney could easily win. He has some terrific scenes, and any scene with him and Shailene Woodley is pretty much electric. Goddamn, Woodley is a real find, and she will be nominated, not even a question. Hah, damn, some of that sounded really Wells-ian.

    In terms of best films of the year so far, I wish I’d seen more, but what I have seen has been really rewarding. Submarine, Attack the Block, Insidious (I know a lot of people hated it, but those people are idiots. This is how you make a good horror movie, people), Martha Marcy May Marlene, Bridesmaids, Win Win, Hanna, Rango, and Drive Angry (a movie where Nicolas Cage literally drinks beer out of the skull of his enemy, and people, with a straight face, call it a bad movie? FOOLS). Rise of the Planet of the Apes is not bad for what it was, that director has real promise, Serkis’s mo-cap was aces, obviously John Lithgow rocks. And The Guard was pretty charming, though minor. Gleeson and Cheadle are two of the best actors around.