David O. Russell‘s “American Hustle” has been named the best film of 2013 by the New York Film Critics Circle, the first major critics group to announce its awards for the year.
The award reinforces the late-arriving comedic drama as a major player in awards season, and puts a dent in the presumed frontrunner status of “12 Years a Slave,” which also lost to “Inside Llewyn Davis” at Monday night’s Gotham Awards, and “Gravity,” which didn’t win anything from the New York critics.
“12 Years” did, however, win the NYFCC’s best-director award for Steve McQueen.
While Blanchett and Leto are already considered frontrunners in their categories, the award was a significant boost for Redford and “All Is Lost,” a nearly-wordless one-man film that has won rave reviews but struggled to find an audience.
Sarah Polley‘s “Stories We Tell” was named the year’s best non-fiction film, while veteran documentarian Frederick Wiseman was voted a special award.
“Fruitvale Station” was named the year’s best first film, “Inside Llewyn Davis” was honored for its cinematography and Hayao Miyazaki‘s “The Wind Rises” won the award for animated film.
By moving up its voting to make itself the first critics’ group to announce awards, the NYFCC risked not having time to see and consider the year’s final films. Martin Scorsese‘s “The Wolf of Wall Street” was reportedly screened for the group on Monday night, with voting taking place on Tuesday.
The Scorsese film did not win any awards from the NYFCC.
NYFCC has been awarding prizes since 1936, when it honored “The Informer” as the best film of that year. Recent winners include “Zero Dark Thirty,” “The Social Network,” “Milk,” “United 93” and the Oscar winners “The Artist,” “The Hurt Locker” and “No Country for Old Men.”
Best Film: “American Hustle”
Best Director: Steve McQueen, “12 Years a Slave”
Best Actor: Robert Redford, “All Is Lost”
Best Actress: Cate Blanchett, “Blue Jasmine”
Best Supporting Actress: Jennifer Lawrence, “American Hustle”
Best Supporting Actor: Jared Leto, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Best Animated Film: “The Wind Rises”
Best Screenplay: “American Hustle”
Best Cinematography: Bruno Delbonnel, “Inside Llewyn Davis”
Best First Film: “Fruitvale Station”
Best Foreign Language Film: “Blue Is the Warmest Color”
Best Non-Fiction Film: “Stories We Tell”
Special Award: Frederick Wiseman