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“Carol” scores big with the New York Film Critics Circle

Carol in coffe shop
It seems like every single day now there’s a new major precursor announcement, doesn’t it? Yesterday, the New York Film Critics Circle announced their awards for 2015, and Carol was the biggest winner of them all. It managed to take a large number of awards from the NYFCC, perhaps to the surprise of some. Personally, I wasn’t shocked, but I do think that they did manage to throw some curveballs our way. There’s been an infusion of younger critics into the group of late, so some may say that the potentially bolder choices are a credit to them. I’m not sure that’s the case this year, but it could certainly be the case in the future. However you slice it though, this was a good precursor for Carol. Todd Haynes’ film got a definite boost, no question there.

carol in car
Once again, a primer on Carol. The film is a high profile adaptation a Patricia Highsmith novel called The Price of Salt and concerns the taboo relationship between two women in 1950’s New York City. One is young department store clerk Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), while the other is an older married woman named Carol Aird (Cate Blanchett). What starts as a friendship of sorts (though Carol seems to clearly be interested in more, with Therese more than just along for the ride) slowly blooms into something more, even if they can’t explicitly speak it out loud. From there, it’s a choice of whether or not to risk everything for love in a time where this was not acceptable behavior. The decisions that follow are not what you’d expect, and that’s putting it mildly. Haynes directs from a Phyllis Nagy screenplay, with the cast in addition to Blanchett and Mara including Kyle Chandler, Jake Lacy, John Magaro, and Sarah Paulson, among others. The score is by Carter Burwell, while the cinematography comes from Edward Lachman, who was honored by NYFCC, as you’ll see below.

Carol took home Best Picture, Best Director (for Haynes), Best Screenplay (which is Nagy’s, even if not everyone has credited her), and Best Cinematography (for the aforementioned Lachman). The only title that the NYFCC gave multiple awards to (though ironically not to any of its cast members, as you’ll see below), it easily led the field, showing a clear case of this group loving the movie. This does also establish it as one of the films given a helping hand by the early precursors. It’s not the only one, for sure, but it certainly doesn’t hurt it any. Without attention like this, it does have the potential to slip between the cracks. That hasn’t been the case though so far, which is good.

Other awards here went to Michael Keaton in Spotlight for Best Actor (which is interesting, considering he’s being campaigned Supporting and no one has really made the case for him as a Lead), Saoirse Ronan in Brooklyn for Best Actress, Mark Rylance in Bridge of Spies for Best Supporting Actor, Kristen Stewart in Clouds of Sils Maria for Best Supporting Actress, Inside Out for Best Animated Film, Son of Saul for Best First Film, Timbuktu for Best Foreign Film, and In Jackson Heights for Best Nonfiction Film. Keaton and Ronan seem like locks (though the former in a different category), with Rylance in the mix for sure, but Stewart definitely got a big boost from this award. Overall, it’s a pretty solid slate, so I think the NYFCC did decently well for themselves this year.

brooklyn saoirse ronan
Here now is the full list of winners from the 2015 New York Film Critics Circle awards announcement:

Best Picture – Carol
Best Actor – Michael Keaton (Spotlight)
Best Actress – Saoirse Ronan (Brooklyn)
Best Director – Todd Haynes (Carol)
Best Screenplay – Carol
Best Supporting Actor – Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies)
Best Supporting Actress – Kristen Stewart (Clouds of Sils Maria)
Best Animated Film – Inside Out
Best Cinematography – Edward Lachman (Carol)
Best First Film – Son of Saul
Best Foreign Film – Timbuktu
Best Nonfiction Film – In Jackson Heights
Special Award – Posthumous award honoring the legacy of William Becker and Janus Films
Special Award – Ennio Morricone, composer (The Hateful Eight)

Stay tuned to see if Carol can capitalize on these wins with some more precursor attention before the Academy Award nominations are announced!

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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