In a surprising twist to an already crazy year for movies, the New York Film Critics Circle, one of the most prestigious and oldest film critic groups in the country, announced that the organization will not take cues from the Academy Awards and extend their voting deadline. Instead, the group will vote for their 2020 plaudits on Dec. 18.
The New York Film Critics Circle has also decided to freeze new membership for 2020. In addition, all current members will remain eligible to vote whether or not their jobs were impacted due to the Coronavirus.
“This is a year unlike any other in our lifetimes,” says NYFCC chair Stephanie Zacharek in a statement. “But the world of movies hasn’t stopped, and already, even in this very strange year, we’ve seen a range of films and performances that have impressed and moved us. It’s more important than ever to celebrate the way movies can connect us, and the NYFCC is looking forward to honoring the best of 2020.”
Though some movies have changed their release dates given the Oscar extension, the New York group will not consider or vote on any film that is released after Dec. 31. This will eliminate some possible awards contenders from multiple studios, including Liesl Tommy’s “Respect” with Jennifer Hudson, Jonathan Buttrell’s “Everybody’s Talking About Jamie” with Max Harwood, Scott Cooper’s “Antlers” with Keri Russell, and Azazel Jacobs’ “French Exit” with Michelle Pfeiffer. These films will be eligible for the group’s awards next year. Coincidentally Jacobs’ film is closing the New York Film Festival scheduled for Oct. 11.
NYFCC is typically one of the first precursor award to announce the year’s best films and performances and effectively kicks the Oscar season into high gear. In 2019, the voting body selected Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” as the best film of the year before the Netflix drama went on to be nominated for 10 Oscars. The group has also made some eclectic choices that don’t always translate to the Academy’s ballots. During last year’s voting, they shocked many prognosticators when selecting Josh and Benny Safdie as their best director choice for the A24 drama “Uncut Gems” with Adam Sandler. The feature ended the season with zero nominations from the Academy. Some other notable recent highlights have been Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”), Regina Hall (“Support the Girls”), and Kristen Stewart (“Clouds of Sils Maria”).
Founded in 1935, the membership includes critics from many publications. The date of their annual gala has not yet been set, nor has it been announced if it will take place in-person or virtually.