Here we go. The New York Film Critics Circle announcements are made.
Director: Mike Leigh, Happy-Go-Lucky
<--- Actress: Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
NY & LA combined is powerful leverage for Oscar nods. Maybe that BFCA snub won't hurt her at all since she was losing Best Actress buzz
Actor: Sean Penn, Milk
Supporting Actress: Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Supporting Actor: Josh Brolin, Milk
Screenplay: Jenny Lumet, Rachel Getting Married
Animated Film: WALL•E
Foreign Film: 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (Romania)
Best First Film: Courtney Hunt, Frozen River
Documentary: Man on Wire
Cinematography: Anthony Dod Mantle, Slumdog Millionaire
The clear boosts here, Oscar-wise, are Gus Van Sant's sure to be nominated Milk biopic and Mike Leigh's less buzzy but winning Happy-Go-Lucky. Overall it's a nice continuation of LAFCA's spreading of the wealth. Cruz is really gunning for that Oscar. If she pulls it off for Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Woody Allen becomes the third most successful director of all time in terms of getting actors to the podium. He's currently tied for fourth place with Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, John Ford and George Cukor. They've each directed five actors to the shiny statuette. The all time leader is William Wyler (Ben-Hur, Roman Holiday, Funny Girl, etcetera) who in all likelihood will never be dethroned in this regard: He's directed 13 acting winners.