Kristen Stewart Wins Best Supporting Actress At NYFFC Awards & That's Good News For Her Oscar Chances
In the very near future, we may all be obliged to refer to Kristen Stewart as "Oscar nominee Kristen Stewart." Former Twilight star Stewart won Best Supporting Actress at the New York Film Critics Circle Awards for her performance in Clouds Of Sils Maria... and that's a very good sign for Stewart's chances at the upcoming 88th annual Academy Awards. For the past few months, Oscar chatter has seen Stewart's name frequently mentioned in contention for Supporting Actress — although mostly as a dark horse and never in the same breath as frontrunners like Carol's Rooney Mara, The Danish Girl's Alicia Vikander, or Steve Jobs' Kate Winslet. But her win here over those aforementioned performances should help propel her to the front of the pack.
To be fair, the NYFCC Awards are not exactly a reliable precursor to the Oscars. Voted on by a small group of around 30 film critics from NYC-based newspapers, magazines, and websites, these awards have been erratic at best at predicting eventual Oscar winners. In the group's 80 year history, their Best Picture pick has matched up with the Academy Award winner a mere 31 times — and only three times in the past 10 years: 2007's No Country For Old Men, 2009's The Hurt Locker, and 2011's The Artist.
However, while the NYFCC Awards aren't a reliable bellwether for Oscar wins, they are fairly good at predicting nominations. Only three out of the last 10 Best Picture winners may have aligned, but nine of those 10 were at least nominated for the big prize. And that's not the only category with a good track record: last year, eight of the NYFCC's 11 winners went on to analogous Oscar nominations, including Two Days, One Night's Marion Cotillard, Whiplash's J.K. Simmons, and Boyhood's Patricia Arquette.
Since the Oscar race is still very much in flux, this win is a great thing for Stewart. Her performance as Valentine, the American personal assistant of a famous French actress played by Juliette Binoche, has been drawing raves since the film premiered at Cannes in May of 2014. ("Ms. Stewart easily holds both her own and the screen alongside Ms. Binoche, delivering the kind of emotionally translucent performance that first got her noticed," gushed the New York Times ' Manohla Dargis.) But sustaining buzz for that long is no mean feat, and it's nice to see that her performance is still being remembered so many months later in the face of glitzier, more traditional awards fare.
Similarly, the recently-announced NYFCC Awards are also good news for the likes of Saoirse Ronan (who took home Best Actress for Brooklyn), Mark Rylance (Best Supporting Actor for Bridge Of Spies), and Michael Keaton (a surprising Best Actor winner for his part in Spotlight, which has been considered by most voting bodies to be a supporting role.) But the day's biggest winner is undoubtedly the lesbian drama Carol, which was awarded with not only Best Picture, but also Best Director for Todd Haynes, Best Screenplay for Phyllis Nagy, and Best Cinematography.
Here's the full list of winners:
Best Picture: CarolBest Director: Todd Haynes, CarolBest Actor: Michael Keaton, SpotlightBest Actress: Saoirse Ronan, BrooklynBest Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance, Bridge Of SpiesBest Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart, Clouds Of Sils MariaBest Screenplay: Phyllis Nagy, CarolBest Cinematography: Edward Lachman, CarolBest Animated Film: Inside OutBest Foreign Film: Timbuktu (Mauritania)Best Non-Fiction Film: In Jackson HeightsBest First Film: Son Of Saul
How many of these winners will go on to Oscar glory? We'll find out when the Academy Award nominations are announced on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016.
Images: IFC Films (2)