Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” has been named the year’s Best Film by the New York Film Critics Circle, which announced its annual awards on Wednesday.
Perhaps surprisingly for the New York-based organization, the award was only the second for Scorsese, who previously won for “Goodfellas.”
A pair of younger New York filmmakers, Josh and Benny Safdie, won the NYFCC prize for best director for their unruly standout “Uncut Gems.”
“The Irishman” was named the year’s best film by the National Board of Review on Monday, getting the Netflix film off to good start as the critics begin to weigh in on the year in film. (The NBR is not an organization of critics but is often lumped in with those groups because of the timing of its awards.)
Antonio Banderas was named the year’s best actor for his performance as an aging movie director in Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory.” Lupita Nyong’o took the Best Actress prize for her role in Jordan Peele’s “Us,” in a decision that seemed designed to nudge Nyong’o’s richly layered performance into the awards conversation where she and the film might otherwise be overlooked.
Joe Pesci won the Best Supporting Actor award for “The Irishman,” while Laura Dern won Best Supporting Actress for her roles in both “Marriage Story” and “Little Women.”
Quentin Tarantino was voted the screenplay award for “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood.”
The first five awards of the day went to films made outside the United States in languages other than English. Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” was named Best Foreign Language Film, a category that obviously cannot go to an American film, but four other awards were also given to non-English films. Mati Diop’s “Atlantics” was named the year’s Best First Film, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire” won for Claire Mathon’s cinematography, and in the nonfiction and animation categories, the winners were the Macedonian documentary “Honeyland” the French animated feature “I Lost My Body.”
Special awards were voted to IndieCollect, an organization devoted to preserving and cataloging independent films, and composer/songwriter Randy Newman, whose work this year includes the score to “Marriage Story” and the score and songs to “Toy Story 4.”
The NYFCC consists of 47 New York-based print and internet critics. The group was founded in 1935, making it the oldest organization of film critics in the country.
While the organization likes to present itself as a “principled alternative” to the Oscars, the two awards have overlapped quite a few times over the years. The New York Film Critics Circle’s choice as the year’s best film has gone on to win the Oscar for Best Picture 31 times in 84 years, although it has not happened since “The Artist” won both awards in 2012.
Since then, the NYFCC award has gone to “Zero Dark Thirty,” “American Hustle,” “Boyhood,” “Carol,” “La La Land,” “Lady Bird” and “Roma,” while the Oscars have honored “Argo,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Birdman,” “Spotlight,” “Moonlight,” “The Shape of Water” and “Green Book.”
The 2019 New York Film Critics Circle winners:
Best Film: “The Irishman”
Best Director: Josh and Benny Safdie, “Uncut Gems”
Best Actor: Antonio Banderas, “Pain and Glory”
Best Actress: Lupita Nyong’o, “Us”
Best Supporting Actor: Joe Pesci, “The Irishman”
Best Supporting Actress: Laura Dern, “Marriage Story” and “Little Women”
Best Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”
Best Nonfiction Film: “Honeyland”
Best Animated Feature: “I Lost My Body”
Best Foreign-Language Film: “Parasite”
Best First Film: “Atlantics”
Best Cinematography: Claire Mathon, “Portrait of a Lady on Fire”
Special Award: IndieCollect
Special Award: Randy Newman