How The 2019 Critics’ Choice Nominees Just Changed The Best Picture Landscape

After months of uncertainty, the annual Oscar race finally is starting to take some shape. Major critics groups revealed their picks for the Years-End best out of Los Angeles and New York, and the Golden Globes weighed in with their official nominees. This morning, the Broadcast Film Critics Association (of which I am a member) revealed its picks for the Critics’ Choice Awards, giving support to some frontrunners and bringing more than one campaign back to life.

First, let’s break down the BFCA’s picks for Best Picture:

Unlike the Academy, the Critics’ Choice always fills 10 slots for Best Picture (the Oscars can do anywhere from 5 to 10, with no number locked in place), which allows the group to spread love to more films that expected.

This year’s crop sees a handful of expected favorites, from Green Book and Roma to A Star is Born and the suddenly strong The Favourite. (Yorgos Lanthimos’ period comedy actually leads all nominees with 14 total nods.)

But it’s the outliers that are changing the landscape of the Best Picture race, shining light on actual contenders and showing a few major studios where it makes sense to pour money behind a legit awards campaign.

Marvel Studios better start believing in Black Panther, for example. While The Favourite led all contenders with 14 total nominations on the day — including Picture, Director and multiple acting nods — Black Panther was second with 12 total nominations. They came in Picture, Supporting Actor (for Michael B. Jordan) and numerous below-the-lines categories like Visual Effects, Costume Design and Cinematography. These are Oscar categories where Black Panther could contend… even Supporting Actor and Best Picture.

Disney also can hitch its awards wagon to Rob Marshall’s Mary Poppins Returns, which only started screening recently for critics but swept up nine total nominations, including Best Picture and a Best Actress nomination for Emily Blunt.

Adam McKay’s hand grenade of a political comedy, Vice, also made a huge impression in a short amount of time, screening for BFCA critics and nabbing nine nominations including Best Picture, Actor (for Christian Bale), Supporting Actress (for Amy Adams), and Director. Though both of these movies are late-game entrants to the usual awards proceedings, they both came off as powerful contenders today.

One movie that was thought to be on its Oscars death bed, meanwhile, got a significant boost from the BFCA — one that Universal Studios should hop on to capitalize on momentum. Damien Chazelle’s First Man had all but been forgotten by critics groups recognizing the best films of the year. But First Man grabbed a healthy 10 Critics’ Choice Awards nominations including Best Picture, Actor (Ryan Gosling), Supporting Actress (Claire Foy) and Director. This could be an anomaly. Or it could be an indication that Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong story remains a contender, especially with older Academy members.

Other films hoping to receive a significant boost from Critics’ Choice that didn’t include Beautiful Boy (one nomination), First Reformed (two nominations), Mary Queen of Scots (two nominations) or Bohemian Rhapsody (three nominations, with Rami Malek getting his just due). While we’re on the topic, what happened to Nicole Kidman in Destroyer? There are seven Best Actress slots — two more than the standard five for the Oscars — and Kidman’s harrowing portrayal didn’t make the cut? Shocking.

For a full list of this year’s Critics’ Choice nominees, click here.

The winners will be revealed at the Critics’ Choice Awards gala, broadcast live on The CW Network on Sunday, January 13, 2019.

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