J. Hoberman's recap of the sausage-making for the New York Film Critics Circle Awards is fascinating. 

Among other things, we get to see who the runners-up were and how close some came to winning prizes before being shut out entirely. To wit: 

• Benh Zeitlin’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild”, a heavy favorite for Best First Feature, fell one vote short of a first ballot victory and one voter shy of a second ballot win, ultimately defeated by a single vote on the third ballot by the documentary “How to Survive a Plague.”

• The closest and most surprising race saw Rachel Weisz (“The Deep Blue Sea”) edge Jennifer Lawrence (“The Hunger Games” and “The Silver Lining Playbook”) and Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”). Last year’s winner Jessica Chastain (“Zero Dark Thirty”) was a factor throughout, tying for the lead on several ballots. (This race was by far the most polarized; only three of the 16 ballots cast for Lawrence or Chastain cited both actresses.)

• An early favorite for Best Director, Paul Thomas Anderson was overwhelmed by Kathryn Bigelow on the second ballot, with Ben Affleck (“Argo”) finishing a distant third. (Strikingly, Steven Spielberg, who failed to get a single first ballot votes, was never in contention.)

• “The Master” finished third for Best Picture behind “Argo” (and "Zero Dark Thirty") although it took three ballots for the obviously exhausted voters to decide the winner.

Memo to AMPAS – want even more interest in the Oscars? Open up the horserace and let us see the full results. 

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