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‘Lady Bird’ Named Best Picture by New York Film Critics Circle

With its annual cinema superlatives vote Thursday morning, the New York Film Critics Circle made a handful of historical choices. “Call Me by Your Name” star Timothée Chalamet became the youngest winner of the group’s best actor prize, while “Mudbound” DP Rachel Morrison became the first woman to win the cinematography award (perhaps on her way to making further history as the first-ever female Oscar nominee in the category).

But with bold selections like Tiffany Haddish, who was named best supporting actress for her uproarious performance in “Girls Trip,” the NYFCC could make an overall impact on the Oscar race as well: Any campaign Universal Pictures may have been idly planning for the actress just picked up considerable ammunition.

Only two films landed multiple honors, and both ought to make distributor A24 happy: “The Florida Project” claimed best supporting actor for Willem Dafoe and best director for Sean Baker, while “Lady Bird” was named best picture and also netted lead actress Saoirse Ronan her second NYFCC prize in three years (she was previously honored in 2015 for “Brooklyn”).

See the full list of winners below along with ongoing commentary from the morning.

This year’s NYFCC ceremony, taking place on Jan. 3, will be dedicated to the memory of film critic Richard Schickel, who passed away in February.

Best First Film: “Get Out” (Jordan Peele)
Peele’s film also won the breakthrough director award at the Gotham Awards and directorial debut at the National Board of Review.

Best Foreign Language Film: “BPM (Beats Per Minute)” (Robin Campillo)
Campillo’s latest won three prizes at the Cannes Film Festival in May: the grand jury prize, the FIPRESCI prize, and the François Chalais Award. It has also been nominated for best international film at the Independent Spirit Awards.

Best Non-Fiction Film: “Faces Places” (Agnès Varda, JR)
Varda was one of this year’s honorary Oscar recipients at the Academy’s Governors Awards earlier this month. She previously won this honor for “The Gleaners and I” in 2001.

Best Animated Film: “Coco” (Lee Unkrich, Adrian Molina)
Pixar’s latest may have opened under a cloud with the recent allegations against honcho John Lasseter, but it’s still one of the studio’s most heartfelt films to date.

Best Cinematography: “Mudbound” (Rachel Morrison)
Netflix’s film, from director Dee Rees, is in the thick of Oscar contention and a real test for the streamer this season. How much bias against the company is there within the Academy? Time will tell, but Morrison could ultimately become the first woman nominated for an Oscar in the category.

Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe (“The Florida Project”)
At this point, Dafoe, who has never won an Academy Award, but been nominated twice, has to be considered the Oscar frontrunner for Baker’s film.

Best Supporting Actress: Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”)
Bold and frankly awesome choice. Maybe this lights a fire under any campaign Universal had been idly considering.

Best Actor: Timothée Chalamet (“Call Me by Your Name”)
A breakthrough staple so far this season, Chalamet has caught fire as a bona fide lead actor contender in this year’s race. He’s also had a busy year, appearing in “Hostiles” and “Lady Bird” as well. He is the youngest best actor winner in NYFCC history.

Best Actress: Ronan (“Lady Bird”)
Gun to my head, this is my pick for the Oscar winner as well. If you put stock in Rotten Tomatoes metrics, Greta Gerwig’s film is the most critically acclaimed film of the year.

Best Screenplay: “Phantom Thread” (Paul Thomas Anderson)
Anderson’s film was the last to arrive before today’s vote, leaving it fresh on critics’ minds. He has actually never won the NYFCC prize so perhaps it was time.

Special Award for Career Achievement: Molly Haskell
The former Village Voice and New York Magazine critic has been a notable feminist voice throughout her career. An apt prize indeed.

Best Director: Sean Baker (“The Florida Project”)
A somewhat unexpected, but no less inspired, choice, which made “The Florida Project” the first film of the morning to pick up multiple prizes from the group.

Best Film: “Lady Bird” (Greta Gerwig)
And now “Lady Bird” becomes the second!

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