October 25, 2016
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What does NYFCC date shift mean? – AWARDS ALLEY

By Sean O’Connell
Hollywoodnews.com: Is it a legitimate move to position itself at the forefront of a lengthy awards race, or the Oscar season equivalent of annoyingly posting “First!” on an Internet message board?

Many reacting to the news that the New York Film Critics Circle has moved up its voting date are still trying to figure that out. The group announced today that their annual year-end vote will take place on Monday, Nov. 28, at The Walter Reade Theatre at Lincoln Center. This means the group likely will lead this year’s pack of awards prognosticators, as the National Board of Review is expected to reveal their year-end selection on Dec. 1.

But with the announcement came an unexpected bit of bravado, making many wonder why the group would move up their deadline (at the risk of excluding films that haven’t been screened in time for consideration).

“Take that LAFCA,” Lou Lemenick of the New York Post tweeted.

Really? Is it that big of a competition? Is it more important to be first, or to honor the right films?

“As the nations pre-eminent critic’s group, we are excited about kicking off the annual end-of-year discussion with our new early voting date,” said chairman John Anderson in a statement. “On the basis of the films we have seen thus far, we are looking forward to another passionate debate amongst our members.”

Yes, but what of the films they have not seen?

Hitfix Oscar analyst Kris Tapley, agrees, writing, “It’s painfully obvious the NYFCC is just looking to be a substantial part of the awards season and not just one of a number of critics groups handing out awards. It’s entirely self-serving. Let’s not pretend it’s about honoring the highest in film accomplishment more than it is puffing yourself up in an already stuffy and crowded time of year. Alrighty?”

The move likely has studios with Christmas-time films scrambling to make sure undoubtedly influential critics from New York get to see “War Horse,” “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” or “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.”

And what of LAFCA? Will they stand pat, or move their date forward, as well? It’s unclear yet if this shift on behalf of the NYFCC will send significant waves through the still-developing awards season, but the first ripple has been felt. Let’s see what kind of impact it has.

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About Sean O'Connell

Sean O'Connell is a nationally recognized film critic. His reviews have been published in print ('The Washington Post,' 'USA Today') and online (AMC FilmCritic.com, MSN's Citysearch) since 1996. He's a weekly contributor to several national radio programs. He is a longstanding member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association (BFCA), the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS), and the Southeastern Film Critics View all articles by Sean O'Connell Association (SEFCA).

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