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‘Carol’ Dominates New York Film Critics Circle Awards

You couldn’t help but notice a healthy dose of hometown spirit in the New York Film Critics Circle’s list of year-end superlatives, which concluded with a best film victory for Todd Haynes’ “Carol” Wednesday morning. From Queens (“In Jackson Heights”) to Manhattan (“Carol”) to Brooklyn (“Bridge of Spies” and, uh, “Brooklyn”), the Big Apple was well-represented by the group across the board.

Acting awards went to Michael Keaton (“Spotlight”), Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”), Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) and Kristen Stewart (“Clouds of Sils Maria”), while Todd Haynes took the best director prize.

The Los Angeles Film Critics Association will chime in on Dec. 6.

Here’s the full list of New York Film Critics Circle Awards winners.

Best First Film: “Son of Saul”
As mentioned in a recent column, László Nemes’ Cannes prize winner is one of a number of films that could use a boost by critics in the race to achieve a higher profile.

Best Foreign Film: “Timbuktu”
Last year’s foreign Oscar submission from Mauritania prevents Nemes’ film from racking up two wins at the start. Very interesting …

Best Supporting Actress: Kristen Stewart (“Clouds of Sils Maria”)
When Stewart won the César Award in this category last year for her performance in Olivier Assayas’ 2014 Cannes entry, one couldn’t help but wonder if she could survive the year and stand out in this year’s race. That possibility faded, but the New York crowd just added some more gas to the tank. Best supporting actress is a very fluid category at present.

Best Supporting Actor: Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)
That might nudge him ahead in what is already an overstuffed, highly competitive category. Rylance’s wry offerings gave the film a whole other dimension that obviously stands out.

Best Cinematography: Edward Lachman (“Carol”)
A great choice and a nice new feather in Lachman’s cap after he picked up the win at Camerimage recently. Indicative of major support for the film within the group? Bet on it. (Lachman also won this prize for Todd Haynes’ “Far From Heaven” in 2002.)

Best Screenplay: Phyllis Nagy (“Carol”)
As I was saying…

Best Nonfiction Film: “In Jackson Heights”
A nice consolation for the great Frederick Wiseman after his film was left off the Academy’s list yesterday of the 15 contenders for the best documentary feature Oscar.

Best Animated Film: “Inside Out”
On one hand, I’m a little surprised this didn’t go to “Anomalisa.” It took a while to announce so maybe there was much deliberating. On the other hand, this is Pixar’s greatest film to date and probably a masterpiece (not to throw that word around). So, bravo.

Special Award: William Becker and Janus Films
Becker, who left a stamp on art-house films and broadening their reach via the home video market, passed away in September. A lovely and apt ode.

Special Award: Ennio Morricone
A nice tip of the hat to “The Hateful Eight” there, as Morricone’s ominous thriller-like score could put him in Oscar contention this year. Morricone received an honorary Oscar a few years back, and really, any time is a good time to recognize his legacy.

Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)
The best actress Oscar race is Ronan vs. Brie Larson by anyone’s gauge at this point, and this is some major wind in the former’s sails.

Best Actor: Michael Keaton (“Spotlight”)
Curveball! Along with the rest of the cast, Keaton is being campaigned in the supporting category for the film. And I think that’s legitimate, personally. But obviously, there are those who think he’s the lead, and if anyone has to be considered a lead, he makes the most sense. Nevertheless, this only pumps more fuel into his supporting hopes. He’s been at the top of our chart all season long.

Best Director: Todd Haynes (“Carol”)
Not really a surprise as it’s clear the film is strong with the group (and critics in general). Haynes won this back in 2002 for “Far From Heaven,” which also won best film. A sign of things to come shortly?

Best Film: “Carol”
Apparently so. In my discussions, not a lot of Academy voters have watched Haynes’ film yet. This is what critics groups can do. Push that issue. But by the way, the last time Haynes and his film swept best director and best film, “Far From Heaven” failed to make the cut in either category at the Oscars. How will it pan out for “Carol?” Time will tell.

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