‘Tár’ Leads New York Film Critics Circle, ‘RRR’ and Keke Palmer Surprise (Full Winners List)

The first major critics' group names the best films and performances of the year

Keke Palmer - RRR - Cate Blanchett

The New York Film Critics Circle, one of the first critics’ groups to weigh in on awards season, announced its winners on Friday morning with Todd Field’s “Tár” from Focus Features taking the top prize for best film. A24 led the tally for all studios with four wins.

Celebrating its 88th year, the East Coast org is comprised of more than 50 journalists from publications such as Time and Variety.

In the midst of one of the most stacked fields of contenders in years, Cate Blanchett was among the two wins for “Tár,” earning best actress for her turn as a controversial German composer on the verge of losing her grip on power. This marks her second win from the group after “Blue Jasmine” (2013), for which she won her second acting Oscar (after 2004’s “The Aviator”). Far from a done deal, she is fighting in a race that includes surprise Gotham winner Danielle Deadwyler (“Till”), Gotham honoree Michelle Williams (“The Fabelmans”) and fan-favorite Michelle Yeoh (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”).

One of the jaw-droppers from the group was S.S. Rajamouli winning best director for the Tollywood epic, adventure film “RRR.” Although the movie wasn’t selected to represent India in the international feature category, Variance Films has mounted a substantial campaign to have the film recognized in the general categories including best picture. It looks like it could be paying off.

Colin Farrell in “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures) and “After Yang” (A24)

Colin Farrell won best actor for his work in two of the four films he starred in 2022 – “The Banshees of Inisherin” by Martin McDonagh and “After Yang” from Kogonada. The 46-year-old Irish star is the fifth leading actor to win the prize for multiple performances after Brad Pitt for “Moneyball” and “The Tree of Life” (2011), Robert DeNiro for “Awakenings” and “Goodfellas” (1990), Jack Nicholson for “Chinatown” and “The Last Detail” (1974) and William Powell for “Life With Father” and “The Senator Was Indiscreet” (1947). All men went on to receive a nomination for one of their films during their respective years.

Much of the season has surrounded Brendan Fraser’s work in Darren Aronofsky’s “The Whale.” However, Farrell’s turn as the lovable drinking buddy Pádraic in McDonagh’s dramedy has captivated audiences since debuting at Venice, where Farrell won the Volpi Cup for best actor over Fraser, whose film also debuted there.

In addition to Farrell’s win, his Irish dramedy was also the latest original screenplay to receive love from the Big Apple’s critics, winning its best screenplay award for scribe Martin McDonagh. It marks the seventh consecutive original script winning at NYFCC, four of which went on to Oscar noms. The last adapted work to win was “Carol” (2015). The original screenplay category is another hot race this year which also includes “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” “The Fabelmans” and “Tár.”

Speaking of “Everything,” the lovefest for comeback star Ke Huy Quan added another supporting actor win to his mantle. Starting his week with a win at the Gotham Awards, the 51-year-old actor, who plays Waymond Wang in Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert’s multiverse dramedy, has cemented his place as the frontrunner in a category that is full of beloved veteran actors seeking their first statuettes. Nine of the last 10 NYFCC winners for supporting actor received Oscar noms, with only Chadwick Boseman missing out for “Da 5 Bloods” (2020), although he was still recognized posthumously by the Academy the same year for “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” Four of the nine NYFCC winners – Jared Leto (“Dallas Buyers Club”), J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”), Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”) and Mahershala Ali (“Moonlight”) – took home the Oscar.

One of the big surprises was Keke Palmer winning supporting actress for her turn as the UFO-chasing, wise-cracking sister in Universal Pictures’ “Nope.” The sci-fi horror flick from Oscar winner Jordan Peele has been bubbling on the circuit since its July release, making stops at TIFF with a special screening and Palmer being singled out in reviews. While her performance straddles the line between lead and supporting, this could give her a boost on the circuit as voting for SAG nominations gears up to open on Monday, Dec. 5.

It’s worth noting the NYFCC winners for supporting actress haven’t faired too well when translating to Oscar nominees. While you can point to Patricia Arquette (“Boyhood”) and Regina King (“If Beale Street Could Talk”) as success stories, critical favorites like Kristen Stewart (“Clouds of Sils Maria”), Tiffany Haddish (“Girls Trip”) and last year’s Kathryn Hunter (“The Tragedy of Macbeth”) never really took off when the major noms were announced, including at the Oscars.

The animated-live-action hybrid “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On” from Dean Fleischer Camp took home the prize for animated film. This bodes well for the A24 feature that had to fight for its eligibility to submit to the Academy for animated feature category. In the last decade, nine of the 10 winners from NYFCC went on to receive Oscar nominations, with “The Lego Movie” (2014) being the unfortunate snub during its respective year.

Aftersun AZ Celtic Films

A24’s “Aftersun,” from director Charlotte Wells, was awarded best first film. The independent feature, which is co-produced by Oscar-winner Barry Jenkins, continues to gain momentum and could be a strong possibility to land an original screenplay nom for the 35-year-old Scottish writer.

Neon’s “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” took home the honor for non-fiction film, continuing its adoration that began at the Venice Film Festival, where it won the Golden Lion. From Oscar-winner Laura Poitras (“Citizenfour”), the documentary that explores the career of Nan Goldin and the fall of the Sackler family is a movie that undoubtedly speaks to east coast sensibilities.

The international feature award went to Poland’s “EO” from Jerzy Skolimowski, the story of a donkey that encounters various people on a journey through modern-day Europe.

Paramount’s “Top Gun: Maverick” picked up an award for best cinematography for Oscar winner Claudio Miranda (“Life of Pi”), his first win from the group. With a solid crossover track record with the Academy — only three have missed in the last decade — Tom Cruise’s high-flying action flick could soar higher in other races as well.   

Among the studio and film omissions from the winners were streaming giants Amazon, Apple and Netflix, who were all shut out with their major contenders including “Thirteen Lives,” “Emancipation” and “Glass Onion.” 20th Century Studios, Disney, MGM/UAR and Sony Pictures Classics also failed to pop up anywhere.

NYFCC’s winner for best film has typically had a strong correlation with the Academy Awards’ best picture category. Since the expansion to nominees in 2009, only “Carol” (2015) and “First Cow” (2020) have missed Oscar recognition. The latter was the first film that has won New York’s top prize and failed to garner a single Oscar nom.

Last year, the winners included the Japanese feature “Drive My Car,” which went on to receive a nomination for best picture. Other crossover winners included “The Power of the Dog” receiving the directing prize for Jane Campion, alongside eventual lead and supporting actor nominees Benedict Cumberbatch and Kodi Smit-McPhee. Lady Gaga’s best actress win for “House of Gucci” and Kathryn Hunter’s supporting triumph for “The Tragedy of Macbeth” were the two winners that failed to garner recognition.

Make sure to bookmark the 2022-2023 Awards Season calendar for all key dates and timelines for the season.

Here’s the list of NYFCC winners as they are announced:

Best Film: “Tár” (Focus Features)
Variety predicted: “Tár”

Best Director: S. S. Rajamouli, “RRR” (Variance Films)
Variety predicted: Todd Field

Best Actor: Colin Farrell, “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures) and “After Yang” (A24)
Variety predicted: Tom Cruise

Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Tár” (Focus Features)
Variety predicted: Danielle Deadwyler

Best Supporting Actor: Ke Huy Quan, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” (A24)
Variety predicted: Ke Huy Quan

Best Supporting Actress: Keke Palmer, “Nope” (Universal Pictures)
Variety predicted: Stephanie Hsu

Best Screenplay: “The Banshees of Inisherin” (Searchlight Pictures) – Martin McDonagh
Variety predicted: “Tár”

Best Animated Film: “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” (A24)
Variety predicted: “Marcel the Shell With Shoes On”

Best Cinematography: “Top Gun: Maverick” (Paramount Pictures) – Claudio Miranda
Variety predicted: “Top Gun: Maverick”

Best First Film: “Aftersun” (A24) – Charlotte Wells
Variety predicted: “Aftersun”

Best International: “EO” (Poland)
Variety predicted: “Close”

Best Non-Fiction Film: “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (Neon)
Variety predicted: “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed”

Special mention: The NYFCC awards cash prizes to two students focusing on film criticism/journalism attending college in the region. This year’s winners are Undergraduate, Nico Pedrero-Setzer and Graduate, Greg Nussen.

Special Award 1: Jake Perlin, curator, distributor, and publisher, in recognition of his indispensable contributions to film culture.

Special Award 2: dGenerate Films, For their invaluable work bringing independent films from China to a wider audience.

Special Award 3: Jafar Panahi, for his dogged bravery as an artist, and for the humanity and beauty of a body of work created under the most oppressive circumstances.

See the latest film predictions, in all 23 categories, in one place on Variety’s Oscars Collective. To see the ranked predictions for each individual category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

Find the SAG Awards predictions for film and Golden Globe predictions in all of the film categories on their respective pages.