New York Film Critics Circle Winners: ‘Roma’ Named 2018’s Best Picture

Alfonso Cuaron wins award for best director; acting honors go to Ethan Hawke, Regina Hall, Regina King and Richard E. Grant

Roma Alfonso Cuaron
"Roma" / Netflix

Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” was named the best film of 2018 by the New York Film Critics Circle on Thursday, with Cuarón also winning the award as best director.

In addition, the Mexican-born filmmaker won the cinematography award for his black-and-white drama, which was originally slated to be shot by Emmanuel Lubezki until scheduling problems forced Lubezki to step down and Cuarón to shoot the film himself.

“Roma” had been a critical favorite since its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in August, and the NYFCC award was the first of what is likely to be a generous helping of critics’ prizes over the next few weeks.

Ethan Hawke was named best actor for his performance as a conflicted pastor in Paul Schrader’s “First Reformed,” while Regina Hall won the best actress award for playing the manager of a Hooters-style restaurant in “Support the Girls.”

Regina King won the supporting actress award for “If Beale Street Could Talk,” while Richard E. Grant was named best supporting actor for his role in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Of the four acting winners, only Regina King had been considered an Oscar front runner, while Regina Hall’s victory came as a complete surprise. Hawke won the IFC Gotham Award on Monday, making this a good week to put himself on voters’ radar for a small but highly respected drama.

“First Reformed” also won the NYFCC screenplay award for its writer-director Paul Schrader.

The awards for animated film, foreign-language film and nonfiction film went to “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Cold War” and “Minding the Gap,” respectively. Bo Burnham’s “Eighth Grade” was named the best first film.

Special awards were voted to the Kino Classics box set “Pioneer: First Women Filmmakers” and to David Schwartz, who is stepping down after 33 years as the chief film curator at New York’s Museum of the Moving Image.

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 83 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” and “Lady Bird,” while the Oscars have honored “Argo,” “12 Years a Slave,” “Birdman,” “Spotlight,” “Moonlight” and “The Shape of Water.”

Last year, only one NYFCC winner, the animated film “Coco,” went on to win the Oscar, though the previous year had seen five duplicate winners.

The awards will be presented at a dinner on Jan. 7, 2019 at Tao Downtown.

The 2018 New York Film Critics Circle winners:

Best Film: “Roma”
Best Director: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Best Actor: Ethan Hawke, “First Reformed”
Best Actress: Regina Hall, “Support the Girls”
Best Supporting Actor: Richard E. Grant, “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”
Best Supporting Actress: Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
Best Screenplay: Paul Schrader, “First Reformed”
Best Nonfiction Film: “Minding the Gap”
Best Animated Film: “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
Best Foreign-Language Film: “Cold War”
Best First Film: “Eighth Grade,” Bo Burnham
Best Cinematography: Alfonso Cuarón, “Roma”
Special Award: Kino Classics box set: “Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers”
Special Award: David Schwartz